The start of 2014 was an unhappy one with the sudden death of my dad. I dealth with this difficult time by running, getting out in the cold, fresh air, not my best running but putting one foot in front of the other, it made me feel better.
My first race of the year was Brooks Hellrunner ‘Hell Down South’. I felt really emotional at this race, but I wanted to do well to make my dad proud. But there were times I seriously wondered what I was doing. It was a toughie, more of a trail racers world with the steep and constant climbs, natural obstacles as it were. Seeing the front runners going up and down the same hill you have just descended was torture. The in-famous ‘Bog of Doom’ lived up to its name, I had a period of ‘FREAK-OUT’, my then coach Michael Cohen of Team Wild Forest Gym, pulled me back with a ‘Keep it together’, stern but what I needed. Without his interruption Im not sure I would have made it. Then with words of encouragement I was off up more hills.
Michael was fantastic, he gave me motivation at the start line as I pulled on my team shorts – nae shame! I was the only team member running that day but Michael still came to support me on such a difficult day. Encouragement, support and motivation, all in the right amount that day – Thank you!
I managed 6th female finisher out of 520, not bad considering, despite the emotions coarsing through me. It was a bitter sweet finish. I had my medal engraved to my dad, the engravers, after hearing my story, gave me a spare medal. Kindness can be found in the strangest places.
Even writing this, I can vividly remember the emotion. People that know me, will know I am not the most obviously emotional person. But at times the tears welled and the chest was tight which all made dragging my legs up those steep inclines all the harder.
OCR was going to be a way I could see my dad more often, most races had been in England, so it seemed natural to me that we might be able to send more time. Dad wasn’t one for prioritising and you know, maybe I didnt even realise until it was too late.
Its taught me one thing, the old adage, ‘lifes too short’, really is true.
Thanks to Sue and family, Dave and Denise, Michael and Karen for their unyielding support.
My next race was ‘The Nuts Challenge’, I’d chosen to take on the 4 laps. my teammates at the time, Caine and Mark (Team Wild Forest Gym) had on Saturday, placing extremely well, No pressure!
The course was wrecked underfoot from the Saturday racers, and the wind was already brutal, nipping through your layers straight to the bone. The race started you off runnig into a field, to thin the group. I remember trying to be careful not to get sucked into the sprint start, pacing myself was crucial I had decided.
You have no idea, my level of excitement when I realised i’d be able to say, ‘I’ve run through a real corn field!’ The simple things. The first lap went ell, I felt I made good progress and stubbornly pushed myself to do the bits I hated. Particularly, the ducking of the head under the loop into water. My 2nd lap I slowed, alot, my head went down on hamburger hill but lifted again back around to the obstacles. Somewhere, between here and being pulled out by the marshalls my body decided – no more.
The marshalls at this event, showed an understanding hypothermia I hadnt seen in previous events. The constant reminders of the symptoms and what to do, could not be faulted in the slightest. The marshalls, themselves again were outstanding with their constant checks to see how you were getting on. The first aid guys were second to none, checking my vitals and monitoring me throughout my time in the tent. I was stripped and put in a sleeping bag still surrounded in my foil blanket. All being honest, it wasn’t until I felt better that I realised that I had actually not been in great shape. Again, a massive shout out has to go to my coach and teammates who looked out for me and ensured I was okay after the race. All despite Thomas splitting his lip during his own race.
Definitely one to put on the list.