Following my previous long event, I felt good going into the Mt Crawford Challenge. I knew I could run the distance this time and I had run the course before (only one lap last time, this time two).
It’s a great course around the Mt Crawford forest with a climb in the middle, and finishing the lap on a boardwalk along the swampy wetlands. There’s a great view at the top which is just what you need halfway along the route.
My training hadn’t been ideal. I missed a few big runs because of work commitments and some really terrible thunderstorms, however all the runs I had done felt good.
Then I made a mistake…
Two days before the run, I decided to increase my goal pace. I can do it, I thought.
Well. No I couldn’t.
I had planned when to walk and when to run so I could make the entire distance without flagging on the last lap. This included a walk quite close to the beginning.
I had a bit of a confidence knock when I was happily walking at the back of the pack, and someone came up to me and told me that I wasn’t supposed to be walking because it was a running event. If I wanted to walk, I should have done the shorter distance. I knew that this wasn’t true and wanted to stick firm to my plan, so I let it go and kept on walking. (I overtook this person about 4kms in and didn’t see them again, so that just goes to show…)
I kept up with my revised pace for the first 12.5 km lap and felt a little tired but okay coming across the line for the second lap.
That’s when it started to fall apart a little. I struggled to keep my pace for the next few kms, and dropped off dramatically for the climb to the top again. I pushed hard coming back down the other side, but couldn’t maintain the pace along the boardwalk at the end. I ran some and walked more than I wanted to. I still overtook a few people, but was definitely much much slower than I had hoped. I ended up walking a lot of the last 5kms, and missing both my revised target time and my initial target time by a slither.
I’m still very happy with the final result, however, as I finished 15 minutes faster than my previous 25km run which is a huge improvement. But for me the real enjoyment in trail running is the fun of it, and I pushed so hard in the first half that I didn’t have any fun at all in the last half.
It’s a good lesson to learn for next time. My next goal is to really focus on my long-run pacing so I can stay strong to the end.