I can’t remember being as nervous before a race than at the start of the Goathland marathon, a few weeks ago – quite silly given the runs I’ve done in the last 2 years.
But seven weeks before I’d had such a horrible time on the Hardmoors 60 and it had made me really quite sad. Probably more sad than I had realised and now I was terrified of another disaster, despite it being a relatively short race of just 28 miles.
Before the race brief a few people asked how I was after the Hardmoors 60. They were being so nice but I was unfortunately being reminded of what I has spent 7 weeks trying to forget. I was stupidly nervous as we lined up to start.
Kim (England) had kindly showed me the route a few weeks ago. It had taken 5 hours 25 minutes and we hadn’t really stopped (with the exception of a short attempted, yet failed, sheep rescue stop). I didn’t think about how long it take. ALL I wanted, all I REALLY wanted was to get to the end without that horrible stomach pain.
Then I panicked – how fast should I run? How slow should I run? Yikes we were off. As the speedy men sped off into the distance I decided to focus my mind on going steady and ignoring what anyone else was doing.
As I finished the pretty loop around Mallyan Spout falls coming almost back into the village of Goathland, I had averaged 10 minute miles, which given the climb up from the stream, I was rather pleased with. So there materialised my little plan – I would try to keep up the 10 minute mile pace for the next 26 miles.
From there it was up on to the moor and a few miles to reach Simon Howe. The run off Simon Howe was fantastic – I hurtled down the big boggy trod for a least a mile. Before long I was at checkpoint 3. Here the ladies told me I was the first girl and 10th overall which gave me a little boost.
I was still averaging 10 minute miles but I knew there were a few hills over the next few miles. I ticked the miles off in my head one by one and reached the 12 mile mark just before the average 10 minute miles speed. After some lovely words of encouragement I was on my way to the Hole of Horcum and 15 miles.
Just before I arrived at the Hole of Horcum I was asked by a marshal if “I was in the race of just out for a run” which I found quite amusing.
Twenty miles in and I was feeling fantastic – not so much as a flicker of pain in my stomach. It almost felt wrong, as I hadn’t experienced running over 3 hours pain free for what felt like such a long time.
Just before the penultimate checkpoint there was a stream to cross. I judged the crossing wrong and ended up hip deep in very cold, but also very clean water. I squelched in to the check point.
It’s a long drag up to the final checkpoint and the second visit of the day to Simon Howe. I was really pleased to keep running, albeit a little slower, to the top of the climb. As the marshal checked me off his list, they pointed out that 4th and 5th overall could just be seen in the distance. With only 3 miles to go it would be hard to catch them but I was still going to try.
I arrived back at the village hall 1st lady and 6th overall, absolutely beaming – with happiness but mainly relief, that maybe, just maybe the worst of the tummy troubles were over.