What a fabulous day for a run across a muddy park.
The weather forecast the night before had towns and villages drowned in the downpour with more rain forecast. There was a chance that the whole event would be washed out as well. But the only weather left by the morning were strong gusts of wind and clear blue sunny skies. So, of to Woburn Abbey to run two laps around a course that was bound to be sodden from all this rain.
I collected my flashing red nose, antlers and T-shirt. Obviously I wore all three items as long as I could in high winds. So did loads of other runners. It was a glorious sight, especially during the warm up. Red clad dancing runners with antlers and flashing red noses. Pity I didn't take a picture.
The fun run started on time at 10:00am. We headed out and downhill towards the lake at the front of the abbey. My feet were soaked by the time we reached edge of the lake and that was the dry part! We carried on towards the edge of the park before eventually turning left and back up the hill we'd just run down. Half of this was across very sodden and slippy ground that was covered with leaves which hid even more water below. Running through a shallow stream is close to what this felt like. At last we reached one of the roads but that didn't bring any relief at all, it was a long up hill stretch that on the previous two attempts at this hill during events held at the abbey I'd ended up walking part of it. Here's where my stubborn streak kicked in. I was downright determined to get up this hill once and for all. It was not going to defeat me this time. So I shortened my stride, kept my pace even and kept my sight firmly locked onto the ground in front of me instead of the top of the hill. It was tough to begin with and then all of a sudden I fell into a running grove. Breath, step/step, breath, step/step, breath, step/step..... In no time at all I'm at the top of the hill wondering why I'd made such a fuss of hill climbing. We followed the road that looped back to the start line but just before we could get to run down a lovely hill to finish the first lap we were directed out into the parkland again. Down a very slippy, sodden hill. A few slippy scary moments later and the track looped back uphill towards the the path I'd just left. Then a quick run downhill toward the start/finish line to do the whole thing again.
On the second lap I felt strong. The confidence boost given by getting up the hill at Woburn not once but twice was energising. Instead of slipping into a slow easy pace I kept pushing myself to just under uncomfortable. It was awesome. The feeling of getting the better of a course that's defeated me in the past. Woohoo!!
A respectable 1 hour time for 10k 50% mud and water 50% road in my Innovates. Loved every minute of it and was very proud to wear my nose and antlers at the end of the run.
Thank you Woburn Abbey and Thank you RNLI. I've finally conquered that hill and next time I'm going to get below an hour. Oh yes I am!