Forest of Dean Trail Marathon

After last weeks aches and pains I wasn’t feeling too confident about my current physical state in fact I was pretty sure I was on a downward spiral of despair. Even after taking monday off completely (almost unheard of) I still felt old and creaky tuesday and wednesdays session wasn’t exactly earth shattering. So knowing I had to get one last long run out at the weekend I had a look at the runners world events page to see if there were any local races I could jump into and hopefully have some company for a few hours.
Lucky for me I found the Forest of Dean trail marathon, ideal, just an hour up the road and 100% off road course with chip timing and drinks stations. I decided I would just train as usual and hope I could run at a steady pace on the day whilst having a final nutrition practice for Le Templiers. Thursdays 90 mins was a horrible death march through the countryside, Wednesdays 2 x 1 hr tempo had crippled me again and Thursday was just painful. I was dreading Fridays session…..3×10 mins threshold followed by 75 mins progressive pace. I managed to bag this session although I wouldn’t say that the 75 mins was overly progressive more regressive. Saturday morning was just hideous again…..60 mins of race walking (well I could barely run 8.30 min miles). All I could think about was the race the next day and how dreadfully I was going to run….if at all. I then had a full on afternoon at work on my feet all day and didn’t get home until after 6. Not ideal……..

Thankfully, the weather gods were on my side at least. Sunday morning was foggy at the start but cleared to be a beautifully crisp cold day, perfect for running around a forest. The course was a 5.3k loop (yes, i did get a little bored running in circles but at least I always had company) with a fully stocked drinks table (flapjacks, biscuits, gels, energy drinks and even a tea!). The trails were great and not too muddy and the profile was a gradual climb for first half and gradual descent the second, so pretty ideal for me at the moment.
I had no idea how I would feel and as I had planned to use the first lap as a warm up, I set off at a pace that felt comfortable. To my delight my legs worked and I didn’t feel anywhere as bad as I had the day before. Im not sure why or how but I continued to feel good and was delighted to cross the line in 2.59.55. If I am totally honest I had hoped to run under 3.20 and be happy with a reasonable training run, but to run the time that I did and feel the way I did has regained my confidence in my old bones and perhaps with a bit of a rest next week I will be able to run 45 miles over the mountains after all!!?? Here are my stats statos…

Lap 1 20.57
Lap 2 22.32
Lap 3 22.50
Lap 4 23.08 (stopped for a cup of tea)
Lap 5 22.36
Lap 6 22.46
Lap 7 22.45
Lap 8 22.19

Ave pace 6.51

A lovely race organised by friendly people. The hot cup of sweet tea and digestive biscuit at the finish is always a winner in my book.


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