The Greenway Challenge, Letchworth

Happy Sunday everyone ! It’s a lovely afternoon and I’m sat on the couch, watching Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 BBC TV version with a very young Colin Firth as Mr D’Arcy – if you haven’t seen it, make sure you do !

Yesterday afternoon I made the decision to run a 1/2 marathon today ! Rather a strange decision given that I haven’t run anything more than 1 hr 20 mins since my 70.3 in Auckland and my cold is still hanging after a couple of weeks, but there you go. I wasn’t even able to register on-line as it had closed and there were only a limited number available on they day – actually I think I was the only ‘walk-in’ !

The Greenway challenge (http://www.greenwaychallenge.org.uk/) is an annual charity multi-terrain race organised by a local road running club, North Herts (http://www.nhrr.org.uk/) which starts and finishes at Standalone Farm and uses the Letchworth Greenway as the course, which circles the town itself.

Letchworth Greenway

The on-line reviews were positive and a PR was not in my plan given the course (including styles and kissing gates), my fitness and my confidence so I joined a friend and set off to have a ‘training run’ through the lovely north Hertfordshire countryside.

As I’ve said in a previous blogs, my strategy for LSD runs had been to focus on how long I run in time vs miles. This has really helped me over the past 18 months so that was the mindset for today, that I’m here to run 2 hours and if it takes a little longer, that’s ok !

The course was rolling all the way but I have to admit the first hill at mile 2 or so came out of nowhere and was quite a shock but this conquered, we continued around some rape and crop fields, through some lovely woodlands and alongside paddocks, with horses waiting to be fed.

The first water stop was at 5 1/2 miles and it came at just the right time for me ! I found the early stages of the route a struggle because I hadn’t warmed up properly – the body was shocked into action and it did battle with me for a while. A nice group of smiling faces greeted us at the water station and that sent us off for the next stage happy and watered !

At this point I did realise that if the course hadn’t been a loop, I may well have stopped – but it was going to take as long to walk back the way I had come as it was to run with everyone else the right way round, so I got a grip of myself, relaxed and before we knew it we had clipped through to 8 miles 🙂

At around mile 10 we turned a corner and saw a substantial hill – now I’m not one to exaggerate, but yes I think it would be described as substantial and there was a little walking going on ! And it was my least favourite surface – GRASS. I hate running on grass ! I get anxious that im going to twist my ankle down a rabbit hole……… I guess I just need to pick up my feet and concentrate.

The 2nd drink station was at 10 1/2 miles and that brought a big smile to our faces ! A couple of lovely downhills and a couple of uphills and we were done :). Free homemade cakes and mugs of tea were waiting for us at the finish line along with a supportive crowd – generosity on all counts !

It was  a lovely race – a challenging course but we were able to keep distracted at it was through some beautiful countryside and I would certainly recommend it for next year. The biggest achievement for me was completing a 13 mile run – its amazing to discover what’s in the tank after such a break – not sure if the mind or the body took over, but something did and I’m happy about that.

Couldn't resist a little swoon !
Colin Firth as Mr D’Arcy……Couldn’t resist a little swoon !

Anyway, its time to go so speak soon

Live life loud

Catherine

Age Group girl

 

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