Week 5 started in the same pattern as the last few weeks; a recovery run followed by the Tuesday night track session. This week was the return of the Cooper Test, 12 mins of hard running to test VO2 Max and judge progress. Finished around the 2950m mark which was pretty much where I was last time I ran the test back in May/June.
The end of the week saw my last race of the year, the 9x9x9 Bar trail race. A 9km multi-lap trail event set in the picturesque grounds of Loseley Park. Running along the Hog’s Back, the North Downs Way and woodland trails.
Four separate distances:
- Half Ultra (27km)
- Marathon (45km)
- Ultra (54km)
- Super Ultra (81km)
Fortunately being my first trail race I’d only entered the 27km (3 lap) race, which actually fitted fairly well with my Dopey training plan. The plan had me running 5 miles on Saturday followed by 15 on Sunday, so I fitted in an easier paced 5km on Friday before heading off to Loseley on a misty Saturday morning. I have to admit it wasn’t particularly a race I was looking forward to, but felt as it was laps I should give it a go, and could always drop out if needs be. Fortunately despite a wet start to the week, the sun has shone for much of the latter part and the ground was soft, but not too muddy. My new Mizuno Wave Kien trail shoes had also proved comfy enough to run in for the 16 or so miles. As a pre-race plan I’d decided to use the race as more of a training run, it being the furthest I’d run in a year or so. So of course when the countdown finished and we headed off I quickly raced to the leading group! Checking my pace however I settled down at a more comfortable pace and waited for the inevitable hills to arrive.
The only other time I’d run at Loseley was around 8 years ago for a 10km, and the hills still haunt me! I clearly remembered a steep incline that killed my pace and had me walking within the first 10mins. The course was different this time of course but the climbs still existed as the profile revealed.
The first 4km or so steadily climbed, with the steepest climb around the 3.5km mark. Although it was tough I kept moving with small steady steps carrying me up the hill. Another, much shorter but steeper climb hit around 7km, but after the first lap I’d regained the time I lost to the hills, coming back down and was still averaging around the 8min mile mark. The second lap went ok, and I actually began to enjoy the run, however I was losing some time as the miles racked up. After a first lap of 45mins, I was aiming at a finishing time of around 2:15, however a slower second lap and legs starting to struggle saw that began to slip away. The third and last lap was just about ticking off the land marks. I was pleased to make it up the hill for the last time (and not to have walked) but the time slipped further back. The clock finally stopped at 2:21:39 as I crossed the finish line.
A tough and challenging run, but enjoyable, and good training for Disney. As a bonus, the official results came through on Sunday and I’d finished 4th out of 106 runners.
Weekly mileage – 32.5 miles
Mileage to date – 130.9 miles