Soon after finishing my fourth marathon (New York, yeah I know 💁🏼♀️) I decided that that was it. No more long distance running for me.
I hadn’t enjoyed the training at all and didn’t even enjoy the race. Between the 5:30am alarm call, angry taxi driver and the grizzly weather, I’d had enough.
Two months later I broke my ankle in an unfortunate surfing accident (who does that?) and found myself on crutches. So then I really was done with running. Be careful what you wish for.
In the following couple of years, I discovered a love for hiking and put running firmly on the back burner. I managed to get back up to about 5k purely for the purposes of keeping my cardio (and crazy mind) ticking over, but could not muster the energy or desire to go further. I found it incomprehensible how far I used to run. And by choice! What a lunatic.
Things started to change last summer, however, when I stayed down in the south west of England for a few long weekends. There were a load of trails nearby, leading out along the coastline in both directions. Turn right and you were taken along beautiful beaches, turn left and you were up on Exmoor looking out across the Bristol Chanel.
It was too hot to walk and for some reason I just fancied running. I set out on longer and longer runs each time, eventually getting up to about 12 miles. It was utterly glorious and I realised that the running bug was slowly returning.
Since then I’ve signed up to a couple of half marathons and decided that my new year’s goal was to run a trail marathon. I’ve been a bit sad not to have a major backpacking trip on the go this year (although I’ve got some great little ones planned) so it’s really nice to have a proper challenge on the horizon.
The race I’ve signed up for is at the end of May on a beautiful peninsula in northern Wales. It also happens to be where one of my best friend lives and I can’t wait to stay with her and her family.
I’m excited and slightly terrified at the prospect of 26.2 trail miles. It’s a long way on a flat road, let alone an undulating coastal cliff. I did a trail half marathon a few years ago and marvelled at my friend who did the marathon route. I didn’t ever think that was something I could do. However, I know a little better now about what I can achieve if I put my mind to it.
What makes hiking with 35lb on my back for miles on end a doable (and enjoyable!) experience, will also – hopefully – make this a great experience, too. Beautiful scenery, some great people, and the feeling of ‘oh my god, I did that?!’
Wish me luck!