So this morning I completed the most gruelling run to date, and possibly one the most difficult I will ever do. My Garmin link below will show the constant hills in the elevation graph but it will not be able to convey the difficult in running in mud up to my ankles.
So back to the beginning...
I woke up at 5:30am this morning and had porridge and toast for breakfast. I double and triple checked that I had everything I needed and left at 8am to go to Weald Park. My Dad kindly offered to go with me and cheer lead!
When we arrived we saw that it was very muddy, but I tried telling myself that surely the course can't be like this part of the park, oh how wrong I was!
I registered, got my gear on and warmed up. My start time was 9:33 which was when the HM was to start, the 10km started before us and the full marathon started afterwards.
The HM was split up into six 3.51km laps.
On the start line I got a tap on my shoulder and was asked my someone if I was Aftab. I was confused for a moment but then Janda introduced himself! I knew I wasn't the only C25Ker on the run because Janda gave me the idea to sign up for this HM. We ran the first lap together and had a nice chat along the way. When we realised how difficult the lap was Janda asked why we had let ourselves into this. I reminded him that he inspired me to sign up for this so I blamed him! After the first lap I slowed down because I knew that a fast time was impossible so I wanted to make sure I got to the end. Janda pulled away and I hope to hear from him in HU to see how well he did.
The lap format meant that the faster guys started to lap me after several laps, it was inspiring to see them tackle the conditions at such a fast pace. I had to be sensible and not try to up my pace when they came along because it would have finished me to try and keep up with them!
So the lap:
The first km was on grass, which was slightly muddy in certain parts. It had a slight hill at the beginning and at 0.5km it went downhill steeply before bearing to the right and running along a lake. This part was fairly muddy and was running along a hill that was going up from left to right.
The second km was a mixture of grass, trail and pure mud. The first 0.5km was uphill on grass, but had a pure mud section before, the hill had a gain of 40m per Garmin, which lap after lap became more difficult. We then entered the forest and ran along a trail which was up and down slightly. The trail ended and then we ran along mud, parts of it were up to my ankle and it was very difficult to keep my balance at times. I slipped many times but just managed to keep my balance.
The third km continued in mud and then muddy grass. It included a steep drop on pure mud followed by an equally steep incline. This was difficult to get through and it was interesting to see how everyone found a way to get through it. I decided to take fast baby steps on the way down because I slipped with every step. On the way up I took two big strides and tried to land on the slightly drier parts to avoid slipping back down.The end of this section was downhill and ended up where the first km finished.
The last 0.5km was up a very muddy hill and it was hard to get up it without the foot sliding back on a few strides. The last 100m was downhill towards the end of the lap, where you could get water, jelly babies and a wristband to remind yourself how many laps you completed.
I ran the first 4 laps at a reasonable lap and then my legs lost all energy on the first hill. I had to walk up both the hills in laps 5 & 6.
My Dad took a few photo's on his phone along the route.He isn't home yet but when he is I will upload them.
I think today I felt truly exhausted, at lap 5 I was hungry, my legs were almost gone and I started to feel light headed. I dug in and finished and felt very happy when I tamed the course.
I had myself a nap when I got home (after a shower where I had to scrub a layer of mud off my legs!), and am tired now but the head isn't all fuzzy like it was when I finished.
My 3 year-old daughter has claimed by finishing medal and has told me that she will look after it for Papa!
I would like to thank everyone for all the kind words during my training and for the solidarity runs that were organised on the FB page. Also if you have got this far down the page thanks again!
Here is a link to the run:
Here is a link to a few photos of the run: