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Monday is always the busiest day in the office.  I powered through, motivated by the thought of n evening run, noting the stark contrast between the desk bond boredom and the desire for adventure and the freedom of the outdoors.  Knowing I was racing I ate well throughout the day.  Crumpets for breakfast, a sweet potato falafel with Mexican rice and avocado salad for lunch and a banana for my second break snack.  This gave me enough time to digest everything before the run.  I’m so used to morning race that this had to be done strategically.  IMG_20150608_180233

When 5pm hit I clocked out, not wanting to be late out today, and changed into my running gear in the staff bathrooms.  Steve picked me up and we drove through some pretty heavy traffic to start with but things cleared up the further out of Bristol we got.  The letter warned to have plenty of time to park s o we arrived at six pm.  Registration was quick and I was given a special white tee shirt for fundraising.  I was also given four free entries to use until the end of the year.  I’d raised £105 for the charity that oversees the running and success of the Arboretum.

It was quite busy in the registration area so after pinning on my number and saying “hello” to Bristol and West runners Steve and I followed the signs to the race start IMG_20150608_180526and sat down in the field.  Soon enough runners filtered through.  Cloud rolled in overhead and it got breezy.  It felt like rain.

7PM and the race started.  I sped through the crowd of slower runners not wanting to get stuck behind like I did at the Bristol 10k  That desire for headway meant I bagged a 7:57 minute mile, the fastest I’d done since the Bristol 10k last year!  The rest where steady 9 minute miles ish.  I kept my breathing even because the combination of dust kicked up from the trail and freshly mown grass meant I was worried about asthma.  Despite the low cloud coverage that had rolled in it was still humid and hot on the run.

I relished the scenery of the familiar seasonal trails.  I’d last been here in February when I was suffering with poor health.  Westonbirt has bloomed beautifully now it’s summer.  It is full of life and for this evening full of runners.

My moto for this run was, “race today, rest tomorrow” whenever I got tired and wanted to slow down.  I didn’t slow and kept going for a 56:22:1 Personal Best finish.  At the finish line Steve was waiting as where a few other Bristol and West runners who’d come in just before me.  They too commented on how dusty the trails where.

IMG_20150611_094551I received my medal and grabbed a bottle of water to dehydrate.  I’d managed the run on one energy gel and a bottle of Lucazade Sport.  I feel that I redeemed myself after last weeks run when you consider trail is harder than road and I beat the last PB of 56:59 at Two Tunnels which was on road.  This shows I definitely was not on form during the Bristol 10k but I feel better now knowing that I’ve proved myself again.

That evening once back home we celebrated by ordering a Chinese takeaway (my favorurite Duck with Blackbean Sauce) and a cider.  Yeah, I know it kinda undoes the good work but on race days treats are allowed.  Especially after an actual victory!

It was during this race whilst leading ahead of the slower half of runners and keeping up with the faster half that I realised I’m not a back of the pack runners anymore.  This time say 2013 or even last year I was often back f the pack, if not last at races.  To be leading to the faster ground was a great confidence boost.  It confirmed to me that I had progressed as a runner in something other than stats alone.  I finished sixteenth in the 16+ age group.  I contemplated that one day it would be nice to win something.  I felt a fantastic sense of achievement.

My next race is The Rainbow Run 5km at the Durdham Downs on Sunday 20th of June.

“Race today, rest tomorrow,”