As I arrived at the Sunset Series village, I was feeling pretty nervous. People were jogging about, stretching and generally looking incredibly well toned and intimidating. Box Hill loomed in the background. There’s no way I can run up that, I thought.
Although I had wanted to fit in lots of trail run practices, it had not been possible. While I was in Guatemala and then staying with my sister in Aldershot, it had proved difficult to find trail routes without access to a car, so I had mostly run on roads. I had no idea how I would cope with the uneven surface and the big climbs.
The crowd were instructed to head to the start and I loitered at the back with the sweeper along with the hubby, Gil, and fellow adventurer, Seanna, who were also here to run the 10km trail. I felt a little better when the event organiser announced this was not a race and to take it at your own pace. I reminded myself that I wanted to just enjoy the run and be happy with my best – not always easily done in sporting events.
But I stuck to my promise.
I loved every second of the run, even the tough bits. I gave it my best shot and found that with the pressure taken off, I actually performed better. It felt great when I crossed the finish line!
Although it wasn’t about the time, I was proud of my 1-hour 20min finish. Not too shabby for a first proper trail run, the first time I have run 10km in over 3 years…not to mention on one of the UK’s most notorious hills….I’ll take that!
Here’s some wisdom I took away…
#1 Ignore everyone else
I started off slow, ignoring 90% of the crowd who sprinted off ahead. Once I took away the expectation to keep up, I was able to find my own rhythm. Around the halfway mark, I started to overtake all those people who had started to quickly.
#2 A decent pair of shoes are essential
The trail was uneven and rocky. My Salomon shoes were amazing! I’d only had a week to wear them in but there were no blisters and the neon yellow made me look exceptionally cool.
#3 Walking uphill was faster than running
When I hit my first serious slope I realised that I could power walk way faster than running. The muscle memory from all those mountains climbing in Israel still remains!
#4 The sunsets on Box Hill are stunning
…even in the fog and rain….
#5 Trail running is easier than road running
I think overall my body had more of a workout than running on roads, I was certainly achier the next day. But time goes so much quicker because you are in nature and the terrain is constantly changing. It made for a more interesting and memorable experience.
#6 I really like trail running!
I’m a complete convert. This was the first race I have ever done where I immediately said I wanted to sign up to the next one. My usual reaction is ‘never again’. But this was fun. The race was a great introduction to trail running and I can really recommend the Sunset Series for anyone thinking about giving it a go. Great work Salomon!
Seanna and I doing a tribute to our Everest Adventure coming up in September!