Back on the trail of winning ways

I’ve had to be patient over the last few weeks and work on getting my fitness back to somewhere close to where I’d like it. It is difficult to be realistic, when the body does not respond in the way you assume, and it is hard not to get frustrated by injury and setbacks. My main frustration is that I feel that I do things “correctly” – I train properly, eat well, sleep well, do my strength and conditioning sessions, yoga, stretching – but I still have been struggling with injury.

However, it seems that things are slowly coming back. A week in France at the beginning of September gave me a chance to do some big mileage, and I managed 80 miles, including two 20 mile runs on the sandy trails of Aquitaine. I love running in the heat and when not running I was able to lie on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and watch the Atlantic waves roll in.

Returning home meant some races. First up was 10 miles on the road, quite hilly, local race to me and a favourite. I didn’t really know how I would feel, but I started conservatively and realised that I was going to be OK. I pushed on up and down the hills, and was only just out run on the flat 2 mile finish by a clubmate who is normally minutes ahead of me. I was happy, we won the team prize and I was 4th in my category.

The following week I was back in my comfort zone of the trail, with a 10.6 mile trail run on the Ridgeway, very hilly, including one 18% gradient up to the famous White Horse monument. I went out with the leading group and was passed by another woman in the first mile. I let her go, sensing that I would get her back. Even having to stop to tie my shoelace (first time ever in a race!) didn’t quite dent my confidence. I was able to put on some decent surges on the more technical downhills, and caught her at mile 8, went past, and ran in for the win. A great confidence boost and my first win since the White Peak race back in June.

A slightly niggly left quad has been the consequence of pushing hard on the downs, but I don’t think it is going to be a real issue. I had to scratch my planned long run the day after the race, but I should be able to pick up again once the quad settles down.

My main goal is a 50k at the end of October. I’ve agreed to be a pacer at my local city Half Marathon in a few weeks, I’ll be wearing the 1:45 flag and am seriously terrified! I’ve had experience of fantastic pacing (and not so great pacing), and am quite nervous at being responsible for other people’s racing success or failure. It will be a great experience for me and I want to give something back rather than focusing on my own times. It will also stop me from going all out and needing too much recovery time before my 50k.