12 weeks ago I sat and wrote about the journey I was going on to come back from injured to runner, to embrace a challenge of the #peakrunners LadyBower Trail Marathon. Given the last 12 months it was going to be quite an achievement: my long runs were only 7-8 miles. Not going to lie – there were some days I thought, ‘what have I done’?
I took advice Austen and Stu at Accelerate on training schedules and we developed a plan. Key thing here, I was involved in developing that plan AND I stuck to it. No diversions with the tempting local races, no sneaking in extra sessions. I stuck to it!
So, with just 4 long runs under my belt (20, 18, 20 and 21 miles), my holiday in Ibiza coincided with week 1 of taper. Morning runs exploring the trails, followed by lots of lounging around and the odd G&T/ Aperol Spritz (all inclusive hotel, plus I’m sure it helped me relax).
Friday night, before race day, panic and nerves set in. Self doubt city! Saturday morning, I woke before my alarm, still nervous. I struggled to drink my coffee…that never happens. I had a word with myself: enjoy the race, be proud you’re at the start line, you’ve achieved so much already: you got this!
Mile one done, feeling good, mile two….hmm, maybe I’m going to quickly? I reigned it back and from there, steady as she goes, enjoying the scenery on such a beautiful morning. Mile 10 appeared before I knew it and with a water refill, happily plodded on. I let a couple of people overtake me, telling myself ‘run your own race Cazza, leave them be’. Mile 14.5 and yikes the ascent loomed. Actually, this was my favourite part, scrambling in the woods! After the descent, I realised I had caught up with the two women ahead of me, then overtook them, with 7 miles to go. My race strategy worked, I was a power house, feeling great and overtaking.
At mile 21 I had a goosebumps moment. I’m going to do this and in under 4 hours. And I did! Finished 3rd lady, 3:52 and I felt amazing. I was buzzing at the end.
I’m still in shock. I achieved my goal and more, through hard work and discipline and I am so very proud of myself. HUGE thanks to the #Accelerate team, especially Stu and Austen, for believing in me and he lovely Dave at #Peakrunners and #Mountainfuel fo the event.