Last Saturday was the third race in the six race Foxtrail Winter Series and when I signed up I wasn't sure whether this was going to be a race that I would run. To qualify for the series, you need to complete 4 out of 6 races, which comprise of two 10ks, two 13ks, a 16k and a half marathon. When I signed up, I was only managing to run 10ks and so the longer distances were doubtful. However, I did manage to build my miles up training for a half marathon so the 16k was a bit less daunting to me. The one spanner in the works was that the race fell the morning after both mine and Owain's Christmas parties for work. Fortunately, mine was a day into night event but Owain's was a night do. He did get home at a reasonable hour, however I had stupidly gone to bed and so was woken up when he came home and struggled to get back to sleep.
As with previous race mornings, there was the usual catch up with everyone we knew at Foxlake. It is funny to look back to last year when we hardly knew anyone given we had previously ran mostly road races. Now wherever we turn, we recognise someone. It really does make a difference on race day to settle my nerves given I am not the most accomplished runner.
The week before the race I had met up with some fellow Foxy runners and we headed out for a 9 mile run together. This was the first time I had did a long run with anyone and I was amazed at how quickly the miles ticked by. Now I know why Owain likes to get up and out on a Sunday morning to get his long run done with the Edinburgh AC crew. Normally I run on my own, although was grateful for the company of Lynne, Audrey and Krista at the 13k race as I lost my motivation running on my own after running with them for some of the race.
As the race started, we ended up in a nice pack together chatting for a bit before Lynne and crew pushed on - they were obviously a bit more confident on the icy road. Rather than push on with them, I decided that I was going to just enjoy the run and settled in to a nice pace with Rebecca E. I had finished before her on the 13k race but having enjoyed running together the week before I didn't see the point of pushing on to run on my own for 10 miles when realistically there was only likely to be a minute or so between our finish times. It was really nice having someone to appreciate the scenery with - and there was plenty to look at with the gorgeous trails through the forest and the thankfully frozen beach section. We did find the beach section the toughest and I do think I would have hated it on my own - this way we were able to push each other on. Rebecca even managed to get a sneaky shot of me during the beach section.
This race was Rebecca's longest ever run, only having ran 10k before the start of the series and she did amazing with very few walk breaks. I think we were both tiring towards the end, however, we did manage to spur each other on. I know I certainly would have walked more if I was on my own.
We finished last, crossing the line with big smiles on our faces having had a really enjoyable run.
My aim was to do the full series and can't believe that is us half way through already. The current series standings have been published and, although last, I am extremely proud that my name is there. As I said, it is 4 races to count towards the series. However, looking at the results, I think I may be the only person who completed the 5k series last year and is on track to complete the full six races this year. Looks like I will be running the Harvest Moon Half Marathon after all then!