Excitement had been building all week, not sure why I was so excited, I went out for a couple of runs during the week and felt good, and also had arranged to meet with some fellow twitter runners and BOSH members.
It was quite warm when we left home, by the time we got to Bedgebury it was 2 degrees less and quite windy. The Event Village was filling quite quickly with only an hour to the first wave leaving. I signed my waiver and headed to the registration tent to collect my number and wristband. Whilst writing my runners info on the back of my number Katherine text me asking where I was. Tweetup number 1 was brilliant. Kath and I have been twitter friends for a while now, so it was lovely to finally meet her.
Shaun and I then had a bit of a wander, checking out the different things available. The Runners World tent were offering £15 subscription to include a free Camelbak - was very tempted but not really sure I wanted to sign up for another mag so we left it. Also in the tent were all the leftover goody bags contents - boxes and boxes of all sorts of things. Photo later to see what we managed to collect! There was also the Rat Race shop, with some really good deals on all sorts of kit.
Shaun fancied a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea so we visited the food tent, later on they were serving paella! We watched the first warm up and the first wave went off to the start at 11am.
A trip back to the car to drop off all the stuff we didn't need and then back to the Event Village to await the return of the first group. We headed to the point which is about 200m from the finish and after 30 minutes the first two men appeared from between the trees, followed closely by the first female. I had a bit of a 'moment', wondering if I could actually do this run, everyone coming through looked exhausted!
Back to the Village to queue for the loo. Not sure why we can't queue in front of each portaloo at events, a long, slow moving single line was the days offering. Following that delight we went up to the finish line. The last thing I needed to see before I left for the start was someone passed out on the finish line. The medical team were doing a great job of looking after him. He was eventually brought back round and led to the first aid tent. I hope he's feeling ok this morning.
I then spotted Terry another tweeter and Athon participant who had done Bedgebury the previous year and had just finished. Tweetup no 2! Unfortunately one Tweet up and Bosh meet didn't happen - the phone/internet signal was pretty dodgy so I didn't get to meet Helen Reardon (@hcrreardon) or Mary from Bosh.
In the meantime the other 6 waves had warmed up and left and it was finally my turn. There are loads of photos of me doing the warm up but I've chosen a few for this post
After the warm up Wave 8 was led to the start line. I'd had a couple of nightmares in the run up to the race that I was the only one in my wave and that Shaun had to rent a mountain bike and come round with me. Luckily Wave 8 was quite big and I wasn't alone, well at the start anyway!
We stood at the startline for a couple of minutes and given a safety talk by the lovely Helen (Tweetup 3). Warnings of fallen trees across the trail and keep an eye out for mad MTBers and horses. At 12.45 we headed off - uphill. I tried really hard not to stop and walk and kept telling myself to keep going. It was very hot, not a lot of shade even within the tree lined trail parts. The trails were very dry and dusty in places. The scenery though more than made up for it. I reached 5k in 37 minutes which I was really pleased with as that's only 3 minutes slower than my PB which was set at Eastbourne parkrun. It all went a bit to pot after that, especially having to limbo under the aforementioned fallen tree (yes I was singing the tune!) Despite the challenging terrain I was still really enjoying myself. One girl was playing cat and mouse with me which was a bit annoying - she'd run a bit, and then walk a bit, I managed to overtake her a couple of times in our little game. Unfortunately she made the mistake of stopping at the water station at 7k and I didn't - hah job done, no way I was going to let her get in front of me again. At about 1.5 k from the finish Shaun appeared with the camera, it was lovely to see him, and he ran a bit of the way with me (in his walking sandals & backpack!), trying to encourage me to keep running and telling me where to go etc (bless him).
and he decided to run backwards in front of me!
He then disappeared to wait at the 200m to go point
It was a bit dark in there, but at least the ground was nice and soft with pine needles. I
In the run up to the finish I was spotted by the lovely Paul (twitfam and Athoner) who took some photos and put them on his Flickr account (tweetup 4!) The only reason he thought it was me was because I was wearing pink! Lovely to meet him at long last, we have some lovely tweet conversations.
I also spotted cat and mouse girl cross the line after me - she came over and gave me a hug and said thank you for keeping her going (blimey not used to that)!
It was a shame we couldn't hang around, it would have been a lovely afternoon and a chance to see a bit more of the pinetum and have something to eat. When we got home we sorted out the goody bag/freebie haul
All in all I'm very pleased with how the race went, apart from the wobble before the start at no point did I feel I couldn't do it. I smiled all the way around, although sometimes it might have been a grimace. It was very hilly course (by my flat running standards). I think Paul said there were a zillion uphills, Terry said he thought there were lots of downhills. Everyone did agree though it was a brilliant and challenging course. It was a lovely day and a brilliantly organised event. The marshalls around the course were very encouraging which was great, there aren't many places that supporters can cheer you on so having great marshalls was important (for me anyway).
I will definitely be doing it again.
Busy week this week - some early morning dog walks, holiday jabs, runs and I'm starting back at the gym on Wednesday. I took advantage of a 10 day pass from Groupon at LA Fitness. I'm really looking forward to going and hope it will help shift some of the weight I've put on. I've got to shift it now, apart from looking like a blip I'm getting slower and I'm not having that! Shaun is also doing his London 2 Brighton bike ride on Sunday!