Coming Last

April and May weren't kind to me and my arthritic knees (read more about that in You've Lost That Running Feeling) so I've been trying to mend myself by running less, using kinesiology tape to support the knee joint and staying within my comfort zone.  But I had planned to take part in a 6k trail race in Chorley so went out with a friend for a couple of 4-milers and did Hyndburn parkrun last Saturday. Pain was at a minimum, recovery was fine but my stamina is shot to bits.  I decided to give the trail run a go anyway. 

I came last. 

Finishing in last place
I'm not a fast runner and, since moving from community running to club running and racing, I've become used to being one of the slowest runners.  It took a lot for me to get my head around that but I'm OK with it all now. 

Coming last really didn't bother me.  I had thought about it a few times because this type of confidence-knocker can really mess with my head but I honestly didn't care this time.  It was the old cliché of "finish lines, not finish times" because this distance was the perfect way to test my knee out, see how my body held up and it was a local, mid-week race on a normal club-run night; I'd have been out running anyway! 

The actual "fuck it" moment
My first mile was at a pace that I've been used to running pre-pain but it really did feel too fast so I had to pull up a bit and pace myself.  I made sure I completed the first lap without stopping, had a little bit of a walk and a "fuck this" moment on a hill leading out of the park, but the tail runner caught up with me and chatted at me all the way around.  I'd normally have a right good natter but there was no way I could talk on the uphill but he understood and I managed a few words on the flat and the downhill.  He paced me all the way round the second lap and this made me mindful to keep going where I would probably have walked if I'd have been running alone.  Thanks Richard! 

The top and bottom of it is that the run was pain-free (I had a couple of twinges but nothing to write home about) and my post-race recovery has been absolutely fine. I do know that I need to work on my stamina and I definitely need to build up my distance again because I have another trail race at the end of this month (the Trawden 7).  

So I'm OWNING that race and taking it as a win FOR ME!  Plus, someone has to come last, don't they?

If you're looking for a cheap mid-week trail series in Lancashire then this is a really good one to try.  The route is a good one (path and woodland trail in a country park) and it's cheap to enter (£5 + booking fee).  The Astley Park Trail Series run by Chorley Athletic and Triathalon Club and is really well organised and marshaled. At the time of writing there are two races left this summer (July and August) and it's a great way to try and crack a PB out each month over the series. 

Blackburn Road Runners at Astley Park Trail Series #2
Blackburn Road Runners at Astley Park Trail Series #2