Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dalby Forest Half Marathon 2014

Running on single track trails through beautiful forests sure does stir the emotions. Something that road running fails to provide.  Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire is one of our favorite running and dog walking places when we have the time to make the 45 minute drive.  On one recent visit we saw the poster here and knew straight away that we would have to sign up.  Not long after, two of our running buddies, Jon and Sian Morgan, also decided to also take on the challenge.

In the weeks leading up to the race, both Zoe and I had suffered injuries and then a flu like virus. So it was decided that we would just run rather than race it and enjoy the wonderful surroundings.  Jon and Sian are both very fast runners and had been training hard.  However, it was decided that we would run it together and enjoy the experience. We knew that the course was on trails and would be challenging, but the extent of the extra obstacles laid down by the race organisers was the unknown element. 

We set off at a steady pace and eased ourselves in.  The weather was sunny and humid, so I soon found myself hot and sweaty.  The race organisers had done a great job in keeping the race course almost entirely on single track trails.  The terrain was constantly changing from flat, uphill and some super fast down hill too.  

Although the race was not part of the Tough Mudder series, we knew there would be some added challenges. Just what form of challenges was the question.  The weather had been hot and dry for the weeks leading up to the race, so the trails were in great shape and perfect for running.  We soon found the first of the challenges. The course narrowed by tapping into a mini bog, where lots of water had been added.  However, it only caused a momentary delay as we trudged through before we could run again but with rather wetter and muddier shoes and legs.  As it turned out, apart from a few more of these man made mini bogs there wasn't anything else other than a couple of fallen trees that had been dragged across the trails. 

By the half way mark, I was starting to feel fatigued.  The recent virus and lack of mileage in my legs was starting to tell.  Jon and Sian were looking fresh and relaxed.  I normally love running on the trails and thrive in these conditions.  Therefore, I was feeling really frustrated. Zoe was also feeling tired but nothing like me.  It was only a few days earlier that I was suffering flu like symptoms, so I figured by body hadn't fully recovered.  So it wasn't long before I told Jon and Sian to run on and enjoy their own race.  I didn't want to slow them down.  Zoe stayed with me for a short while longer but it was soon apparent that I was struggling to keep up.  So I asked Zoe to also run on.  I needed to just get myself to the end and not hold anyone else up.

The rest of the race and tough but enjoyable.  I just took my time and made my way slowly along the trails and finally to the finish.  I crossed the line in 2hr 26mins, Zoe ran 2hr 16mins, Jon and Sian ran 2hr 6mins.  We all had a lot of fun on a great course in Dalby Forest. I would love to run that one again but with a lot more energy.

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