A journal of running, healthy food, mountains, bikes and technology by Julia Revitt

This morning I got up early (well 8am) and popped over to Dunstable Downs for the Blacks Northface Singletrack 10k Trail Race.  It was a bright, crisp autumn morning so I donned a few extra layers to keep warm before the start – looking down at myself I realised that I should have won a special prize for the most amount of Northface clothing any one person can wear.  Honestly, apart from my bra and sunglasses it was all Northface.  Alas this went unnoticed and no prize was given!

Anyway, we got parked up and wandered over to the 10k registration tent (there was also a 5k race starting 15 minutes earlier) and picked up my goodie bag, timing chip and race number.  Mr R attached the chip to my shoe as a recent sudden departure from my mountain bike meant I had a sore back and couldn’t bend over.  Number attached and goodie bag ransacked I was ready.  There was no group warm up or people dressed up as rhinos, just a rather serious bunch of runners and a safety briefing which I didn’t hear a word of thanks to a rather loud family on the sidelines.  Anyway, how difficult could it be – this wasn’t the Alps!

We set off on the dot of 10:30 and cruised down a gentle slope for a couple of kilometres.  A nice warm up but I probably should have gone out a bit quicker.  Down we descended to the lowest trail of the loop and my legs were feeling great although my breathing was getting away from me a bit.  The lower trail was undulating with a gate and lots of singletrack which made overtaking quite interesting.  There were a few dubious moves but then again this was a race.  Between 4 and 5k came the hill – it was short but steep with large steps to get up.  Nothing like the Alps but still made me walk to conserve my lungs for later in the race.  After stopping at an water station for a gulp or 2, I found myself running next to a rather lovely chap who told me he ran in the World Mountain Running Championships 35 years ago and was currently running with a broken kneecap!  I paced myself with him for some time until 2 runners split us with a harsh overtaking move  and I lost his footsteps to follow.  Running through the woods was fun with downed trees making interesting natural obstacles and then it was only 2k to the end.  Up a quite country lane and we emerged onto the home straight.

I came over the line and the announcer said my name (I love that!).  Bottle of water and my timing chip removed I was finished.  I felt sick (again) but forced down some water and a slice of tea loaf that I’d baked yesterday and felt much better.  I don’t know how to stop feeling sick when I push hard so any advice will be gratefully received!  The goodie bag contained this rather nice technical tee shirt plus a buff that I have no idea how to wear and look good in (all the ways I tried I looked like a 70s rocker!).

Since getting home I’ve managed to eat everything in the cupboard, drink litres of peppermint tea and have a nap.  Not bad for a Sunday!