Well, apparently I do today, as the Harewood House Half Marathon featured a glorious 1,300ft of elevation gain.
I’d been worried about this one for a number of reasons - mainly the mud and hills, neither of which play to my strengths, and a couple of really grotty long runs which had knocked my confidence a bit.
That said, it was a perfect day for it. The sky was clear, the sun was bright and a few of my friends from work and my running club were also taking part, so I was pretty buoyant by the time we got to the start line. I was also completely and utterly in denial about what was coming next!
I’d been told that the first few miles were the easiest as there was the race’s only stretch of tarmac and not too much hill - but I always struggle with the first few miles of any race. Fortunately, I caught up with a running club buddy about a mile in and spent the next couple of miles chatting to her, which took my mind off it.
By mile 5, I really started to enjoy myself, wheeling down slopes with my arms out aeroplane-stylee. I put my headphones in - a rarity for me when racing - and bopped along to some upbeat tunes. Then I accidentally caught the 2:15 pacer at 6 miles and realised I was going too fast so slowed down a bit. Honestly, I zoned out after that and just enjoyed the fresh air and the spectacular views, all thought of pace and distance forgotten. Just after the 10-mile marker, a herd of deer crossed the path in front of me and I welled up, counting my blessings to be able to live a life which offers up such moments of perfection.
The last two miles were a slog though. The terrain was really uneven and had a horrible camber to it, which made my ankles feel like flimsy knicker elastic, and then the fastest of the 10K runners, who’d set off later than us, joined us at the final stretch and made me feel horribly slow and demotivated.
Still, all in all, a lovely race and one that I’ll do again. I finished in 2:20:03 - more than 13 minutes slower than my first HM - but given the terrain, I’m pretty chuffed with that.
Happy running, everybody, and thank you for your invaluable support and words of wisdom as always xxx