My motivation always wanes in the weeks after a marathon. One way to keep on top of this is racing. I entered this charming little 10km trail race a week ago. It’s always held on the first weekend of May, when the bluebells flower on Headley Heath.
I ran a sub-20 minute parkrun yesterday, which is not blisteringly fast - but enough to feel it in the legs the following day. I arrived early and had time for a 2km jog and strides warm up before joining the front of the start pack. As always, I flew off the line with the lead group and ran a 3:48 first KM. Way too fast, but it gets you clear of the main group and into the running early.
I was in 4th place until about 2km, when a little guy flew past on a climb. I held 5th until the 6km mark, when I was passed on a technical downhill section. In my current fitness and state of mind that would usually signal defeat and a decision to just jog it home, but I still felt good and the course was stunning. I reminded myself I was running a faster pace at half marathon a few weeks ago and dug in to keep 5th place in sight.
The final 3km means climbing back up to the start/finish line and 7th place (1st lady) was making ground on the uphills. I didn’t fancy a sprint finish, so pushed hard for the final 800m and kept her at bay. I finished in 6th and 41 minutes for a lumpy offroad 10km is great, particularly as today’s racing weight was 84kg - very much the heavyweight in the top 20.
I will be back next year. I was one place, about 20 seconds, off a Leatherhead Rotary golf umbrella!