19th October 2014, the last weekend before the big TOUGH MUDDER, the very reason I began training and so I thought I would take part in the last official running event where our training began, Denmead. It seemed like a cool thing to do seeing as we did our very first run around the Denmead area and it felt like it would be fitting to kind of end it here.
Our usual runs around this area are only about 2.5 miles and just in a small circuit but the area itself has loads of farmland and some great cross country paths which I thought may be included and even a few road closures to allow us to run the roads situated in the village itself. I could not have been more wrong and having not previously looked at the running route I was in for a hell of a shock.
As we waited for the race organised by the Denmead Striders to begin it became apparent that the majority of runners there belonged to a running club. This worried me and then made me realise that there wouldn’t be a hope in hells chance of getting anywhere near the top of the list. I became slightly nervous at this point and having joined a running club only the week before I wouldn’t have considered myself an affiliated just yet. I wouldn’t have wanted to bring any shame on my club for being slow that and I’d signed up to the race before I joined my new club the Fareham Crusaders. We were amongst what seemed like the minority of unaffiliated runners but that was fine, we were here now, we just had to get on with it!
The run started on Kidmore Lane, near the Denmead scout hut, we all lined up like sardines in a can waiting to begin. The sight of high vis was almost blinding, myself included!
The first stretch of the race started with us all having to leap over a massive puddle, this wasn’t so fun, especially since there was at least 200 people running in the race. We ran the first mile probably a bit too fast, trying not to be over taken with what felt like everyone, it felt like the very first Park Run, I knew I wasn’t going to do so well in this race either. I let everyone over take me, I figured they would all run out of steam near the end for rushing off so fast, I was obviously wrong but this thought kept me going.
It was a long, long, long first mile with a slowly inclining hill which felt like it went on forever. This was basically just a taster of what was in store for the rest of the run. The first 5K consisted of hills, hills and more hills, the most distinctive hill of all was so steep that I had to walk half way up as I was so out of breath and massively unhappy. The only place I have ever seen hills like it is Dartmoor and on Mount Snowdon, both places I wouldn’t have chosen to run given the choice as walking them was bad enough in itself. I am not going to lie, I hated every minute of the hills but luckily they began declining again on the way back. I was then lured into a false pretence by the Marshalls and assumed that it was all downhill from there on afterwards.
After a really nice mile or so of downhill’s and flats I managed to claw some energy back and pick up some speed at the 8K mark then the ground went from flat to a slight incline again and I was unsure I even had the energy to finish the race at all. We only had 500 metres to go but I was so exhausted from all the ups and downs that I couldn’t sprint off to finish I just had to stay at the same pace and just hope I could make it back. Nearing the finish line and having spotted a runner there we had vowed to beat, I managed to muster up the energy to overtake him on the last stretch. I crossed the finish line collected my medal and goody bag and collapsed on the wet grass in utter exhaustion, looking a defeated, horrendous sweaty mess.
The Garmin said we had made it in about 58.40 roughly, giving us an average of about 9.30 per mile. I was pretty happy with that time considering my best 10K (Non-official) time was around the same point but averaging at 9.40 per mile, on a flat, easy course. Making it in under an hour seemed a miracle to me, given the nature of those bloody hills and as it turned out we had actually climbed 80 metres up and down during the race.
The official results came in a few hours later and I had managed to run it in 58.26 with an average pace of 9.26 per mile. I came in 132nd place out of 176 runners, but out of 176 runners only 58 were female giving me 37th place female. This meant 23 men and 21 women were slower than me! Yippee ha. Always look on the Brightside!
I can honestly say I hated running throughout that race and it was 100% the hardest run I have ever done and that takes into consideration the 13.1 miler I ran with my legs seizing up. Give me the 13 miler over the Denmead 10K any day, but at least I got my medal, and a little more experience with hill running.
I will go back fighting next year as part of the Fareham Crusader’s and hopefully smash my time!
Next stop Tough Mudder SUNDAY!!!!!!!!
Check back soon for the complete Tough Mudder low down! HOORAAH!!!!