As I announced in my previous post, as of last month I am doing 12 in 12 challenges. I have set out on this journey to try and push myself to achieve some hard challenges over the course of the year. I’m doing this to bring awareness to my epilepsy, which often people don’t know about as it’s an invisible disability. So I kicked my challenges off in June with the Lakeland Trails 14k.
Challenge number 1 – Lakeland Trails
I love visiting the Lake District and whilst we were there for a chilled night in Rydal a few months ago, my husband spotted that there was an upcoming race. We decided to both enter, then it just so happened I started my 12 in 12 and the 14k was the perfect starting point.
If I could choose to go on a road run or hit the trails, I’d always pick trails, so opting for a trail run for my first challenge was perfect. I don’t do particularly long distance as I don’t stick to one sport, I literally do everything and also some gym classes, so I don’t stand out as being excellent at any, nor do I train significantly in one area. I did some runs up to around 10k just before my race on the pathways next to the fields where we lived, but I hadn’t done any hill training, which I knew I’d encounter. I did start to stress about lack of distance covered in training, but I knew that at least the first 3 challenges would be easing me into the rest of the year. I decided then to take the pressure off myself and just enjoy it. It wasn’t about times to finish at the moment, it was slow and steady finishes the race.
Kit and starting
As I was trail running I was kitted out in Salomon running gear by the wonderful people at Sports Direct, the perfect partner for the trails, as I was in the Salomon Vario Speed 2*. These are the ideal trainer for this sort of race because of the uneven and often unpredictable surface!
Why I love the trails
I can’t put into words my love of trail running, so I made this video with my Salomon kit to explain why. Please note this is my gifted kit.
We were staying at Holgates Caravan Park in Silverdale over the weekend, so Nick and I set off in the morning to park in Ambleside and get to race registration. I started to get nervous around this point because I knew from hiking around the area at how hilly it was, plus it just so happened to be the start of summer weather! It was hot and muggy, so I armed myself with a hydration backpack to be safe and I was so thankful as there was only one water station on the course.
There was 14k, 23k, 50k and 100k, and I was doing the 14k and I feel that it was more than enough for my first race, in fact, I was panicked it was perhaps a little too much given the terrain and elevation I was about to deal with! Soon after we started I started to worry. On the course, the first thing was hills, hills that felt like they went on for days! Running through the town centre then soon onto the hiking paths, but the hills felt like they went on for miles and they actually did. I’d woken up not in the ‘mood’ to run which is never good before a race because that makes me less energetic and determined. Luckily later on during the race, I caught my wind and managed to speed on. Most people walked the hills, but we power walked as you tend to find running hills you don’t get very far very quick and most importantly, you waste energy.
The views on this race were spectacular and on a few occasions, I slowed right down to soak it in. It was glorious. After the meeting point on the route with the 23k runners, we were on the home straight. I’d enjoyed my pit stop for water and we started to descend to the finish. Hand in hand with my husband we crossed the line. What a feeling! I’d just completed a ridiculously hard run, not just because of the route but the fact it was super warm and muggy! A quick shout out to my amazing husband who motivated me all the way through, it was great having him with me to pave the way for what’s to come.
Watch the challenge
I am going to attempt to make a video about each challenge, obviously, some races won’t allow me to take a GoPro, so I’ll just talk you through before, after and possibly training in the cases I cannot use my GoPro.
Challenge 2 – Henley Swim
So challenge 2 is my Henley mile swim which I’m doing in collaboration with Simply Swim. It’s just me this time, and whilst I have swum that distance, I haven’t in a long time and due to this race being super close to the last I’ve not done as much training as I’d like. Fingers crossed I wake up on Sunday in race mode ready to nail my 2nd challenge!!