Sunday, March 19, 2017

Escape to Trail: Run Review

Some Sights from the Trail
I signed up for this run (Escape to Trail Series) I believe last year when I was training for Honolulu and was putting more mileage in. It sounded ideal though, a low cost (£12.50) race close to London on a trail, accessible by trains (even Oyster Card!), and a good distance between a half and a full. The organizer (Dean) was very quick to answer all of my questions. Are there water stations? No. Is there a bag drop? No. It was a charity run -- so not only does it feed my running soul, it feeds my feel-good karma soul.
I arrived at Enfield Chase with about 20 minutes to spare, and although there was some initial confusion, all the runners basically grouped together and located the greasy spoon where we were setting off from. One loo, much queue. Good thing I didn't need to go too badly.

Race Itself: This was epic. I am so glad I know about this route now. It will make some awesome training runs later. We ran 17 miles of the New River Path (28 miles total). Think Regents canal but not nearly as crowded and more animals.  With start/finish points in Islington and Hertford, it has awesome transport links. Although the sign posting at times was a bit off (I was glad I was close to other runners) and some fallen trees blocking paths, the route was generally easy to follow. Did I stop to check my route at times? Once right near the end.  Again for the entry cost I am not going to fault the organizers for it. They did provide a Strava Route for us to follow if need be. The end was clearly posted and thats what matters. There was even a goody bag (Bounce energy ball, Coconut Water, and an Up & Go breakfast drink), which I was happy with given the cost of entry. I have paid more and received worse goody bags.

Everyone was friendly. Course was brilliant. Finish line was obvious which is really what you need.

Finish: The pub where we finished had awesome staff and delicious food. A friend who lives nearby met me there and we had a delicious chicken burger and chips. THEY DO A DUCK RACE ON THE EASTER WEEKEND. How adorable is that? Very.  Close to Hertford East train station which has trains into Liverpool Street and accepts Oyster. Hertford North is a bit farther and does not take Oyster, but drop you off at Moorgate. So again, many options.

When In Doubt... Slow Down... 
Personal: I knew physically I was not ready for this run. When talking to my friend who was trying to gauge when to meet me at the pub, I gave her an estimate which equated to a 10-11 minute mile pacing. I had not done anything longer than 10 miles this year, so I figured I should be on the more cautious side. I finished just outside my range with an average pace of 11:01 min/miles. It was very tough mentally and with about a 10k left I just switched off my pacing alerts on my Garmin. I was finding them annoying and de-motivating. I figured it is best to let me body get into whatever pace it felt would be good given the situation.

I think the aspect which disappointed the most was just how drained and sore I felt after. I am trying to chalk it up to lack of time on my feet lately in terms of long runs, but its it hard when thinking back to last year when doing back to back 16 mile days was not an issue. It's learning to tune out those niggles of doubt and remind yourself that with training those days will come back.