Today whilst hubby was at the Essex 20 I decided to take part in the Hockley Woods Trail Challenge. This event was run by Top Day Events and would consist of a 5k look, you could then run as many as you like, as long as you did one you would get the bling and goody bag.
This style of event is much like the Saxons, Normans and Vikings events, I love these as they are challenging if you want them to be, really supportive atmospher, an excellent goody bag and bling that you could see from the moon.
In my mind I decided how many loops I wanted to complete but I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I got there and didn’t feel I could do the number I set myself, legs still felt tired from Thorpe Park half last week.
Hubby made his way with his friends to deepest Essex and I jumped in my car and made my journey towards Southend. I was nervous, this was my first event where I travel on my own, start on my own, go round on my own and come home on my own. Normally I have friends or people from my club at the same event or at least travel with someone but this was totally solo.
The rain was falling steadily and I drove they sky looking great and I could feel the wind against the car, I started to reevaluate how many loops I planned to do.
I pulled up and saw where I needed to check in, lots of smiling faces so I relaxed a bit. I changed into my trail shoes and looked at my very pretty surrounding. The rain was still coming down so I plodded to the bag storage area, dropped my bag and huddled with the other runners to listen to the briefing. It was then time for the off, I made my way to the back of the pack along with some others all making jokes about being at the back, I relaxed some more. Some official photos before the start and then suddenly I realized I was running with the pack down a very muddy slope.
The first loop was over pretty quick, I gave encouragement to a fellow female runner and we ran together for a while but soon the loop ended we were back to the start and a well stocked aid station. The lady I ran with decided that she was going to do one loop so she peeled off to the finish side and I made my way to the other side ready for my next loop.
The second loop started as quick as the first, this time it was muddier and really slippery, a lost horsewoman needing direction kept me occupied, I wasn’t passed much but when I was those running were lovely and supportive. All too soon I was back at the start, a quick drink and I started my third lap.
During my third lap I realized just how much fun I was having, how I didn’t need music to keep me going, the bird song and the silence with the occasional should of well done was all I needed.
The sun was out and the wind had dropped. I felt so relaxed and privileged to be able to do such an event. Two years ago I would not have even contemplated doing something like this, Parkrun being scary enough and I felt at peace.
I did contemplate doing a fourth loop earlier I set upon wanting to do three loops and I had accomplished my goal I didn’t want to push my luck even though I felt good.earlier I set upon wanting to do three loops and I had accomplished my goal I didn’t want to push my luck even though I felt good.
I came to the finish, collected the bling and a decent goody bag chatted to a few people, made my way to the car to change out of my rain soaked mud splattered clothes.
If I could do this then anyone can and if this encourages just one person to get out then my job is done.
I will do this event again without a second thought, I met some lovely people today, a lovely supportive community that makes up the running community.