Don't be put off by the smiling face in the picture on the left, it was for the camera and not me!
I awoke at 6.00am that morning and lifted myself into the vertical, no pre-event nerves or excitement just a pressing need to get up and get my train to meet Gemma, Sam and Janet at the agreed time of 8.50am at Welwyn Garden City. With my last bits packed I walked to the station, even the weather was against me, sunny and even at that early hour warm but, hey, at least it wasn't raining which would have given me the excuse to go home.
Arriving at Welwyn Garden City I met Sam who appeared to be the meeter, then through the door to Gemma the greeter and to Janet who appeared to be guarding the car from ticket inspectors...what a team :-) Happy greetings and laughter ensued as the usual fun arguments about satnavs occurred in the front of the car (I am so pleased to know this happens in other people's cars too) to arrive in the middle of nowhere. I love "The middle of nowhere" as this is where ultrarunners always seem to meet!
Cars parked, table carried, food moved to the table and drinks layed out the crowd got bigger stopping at 18 runners and various family or friends, this was the Ayot50. The sun shone but in the shadows the we huddled together and I put on my windproof top and a buff to keep it out. James gave a briefing and without a break we ran off together....0.25 miles out and then back to the start, to then rrun anything up to 11 laps making 50 miles (80km).
I did not know what to expect but knowing how rubbish my training had been of late, my obvious tiredness from my worklife I was just happy to run, after all this was a training event NOT a race, I stress this as I had no intention of racing this but to practice my pacing and see how I did.
They were off
A group of top runners zoomed off but I stuck to plan and paced out gently but was joined by another runner who tried to get into conversation but I was feeling irritated (unfairly as he is a lovely guy) as I had nothing to say so used an excuse to stop so that he ran ahead. I felt better to be alone and happily stepped into the tranquility of the beautiful Ayot Greenway, my half laps and full laps scarily similar give or take a few minutes when at the 13 mile mark something happened and I found myself stopped, tears in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of sadness wave over me, then anger and all thoughts of my tranquil run lost for a few minutes as I remained motionless looking over the late summer countryside.
I was full of self-doubt, questioning why I was doing this, was I just running way from issues or was I just beating myself up. I was not in a good place, all thoughts of even running gone as I walked slowly back to the start, shoulders down, arms swinging low, dark thoughts and the absolute ire that I was required to log into work later (Late request the evening before)
Ray of sunshine
Gemma came zooming up towards me, she was on fire that day, and did her turn around to catch me up and stop. I moaned about what had just happened and she reiterated that it was just a training event and I should make my way to the start and have a rest in the shade, have some food, enjoy the company and do as I feel right.
I did that, got to the start, put on a tracksuit and buff, ate some food, had a drink and rested for about an hour.
Then I was off
Then without any second thoughts I quietly took off my track suit, put on my trail shoes and waved goodbye to an incredulous support team who thought I was finished. I had come there to run a minimum of 27 miles and that was what I was going to do. My head in a better place but still spinning I went on to do another 9 miles to finish on my terms.
Not a great time at the moment, I am fighting some nasty inner demons at the moment and just need a release, I am just not sure it is running at the moment and maybe have to concentrate on other things for the moment