||Here we go again! The third of three marathons in five days.
The third time to complete 7-and-a-bit laps of Caldecotte
Lake. The third Enigma Running medal of the week to earn.
And the satisfaction of completing my first "double"
After a very enjoyable HRR Christmas Curry at Saffron the
night before, it was up bright & early to head back to
Milton Keynes to join 50 other intrepid runners taking part
in the last Enigma event of 2013. If anything the costumes
are more outlandish than the day before, and my nerves are
through the roof. I've never attempted quite so much in such
a short period of time. My last "big" running challenge was
running 200 miles in a month. This week I will notch up 87
miles in just five days - over twice the daily average - no
wonder I'm worried if I can make it through the day.
If anything the weather looks more promising than Saturday,
and I opt to ditch my running jacket on the first lap, as I
pass the finish about half a mile into the race. My legs
amazingly feel strong and confident, so I decide to stick to
the same plan as the day before - with the mile/minute
run/walk strategy. My mood swings up & down between
confidence in the way I am feeling to uncertainty that at
any moment my body will rebel and all strength will fade to
nothing, meaning a long and painful walk to the finish. Or
worse still having to pull up short and admit defeat.
However as the miles pass, my mood improves as my worries
diminish to nothing. At the end of the third lap the race
director warns me that I should put my bag in the tent, as
the grey sky ahead means rain is imminent. I follow her
advice, but daftly don't grab my running jacket, even though
it looks like I'll need it. Oh well, I'll have to make it
through the next 40 minutes and hope I don't get drenched.
The rain comes, but it's only a light smattering. The wind
has picked up too, and some of the more exposed parts of the
course mean a demoralising headwind to contend with. At the
end of lap 4, the RD asks with concern if I am warm enough,
I admit that I am not, and head into the tent to grab my
coat. With an extra layer of warmth, I feel better and head
The rain passes without causing too much discomfort, and
even the strong bursts of wind are manageable, as strangely
my feeling for the race is going from strength to strength -
because my legs seem to be determined to not show any signs
of wanting to give up! I am constantly working out my
average pace, my lap splits, and how many minutes I have to
spare to make sure I get another sub-five finish. It soon
becomes apparent that not only will getting under 5 hours be
easily possible, but it looks increasingly likely that I'll
actually beat my Saturday time to boot!
The last lap is a struggle however, with some very strong
gusts of wind. I want to speed up to just get it over with,
but don't have enough energy in reserve, so it's time to dig
in and keep going. One foot in front of the other. And my
consistency pays off, knocking a minute of the day before. A
congratulatory kiss & hug awaits from the Race Director, and
a hearty handshake from the Enigma Running boss. The
afternoon is cold, I am spent, and I don't have the heart to
stay around catching a chill, so it's straight into the car
for the 1Â½ hour drive home for a hot bath and a sleep!
I heartily recommend the Enigma Running events, although
running laps is certainly not to everyone's taste. It's a
very friendly bunch, and all the marathons have a small
field (the biggest event being limited to about 70 runners -
most are about 40-50 entrants). However these events are
very popular with multiple marathon runners - so fill up
fast - in fact the next 7 events of 2014 are already full.
The next marathon that will be available is the Night Fever
- an evening race around Furzton Lake - this one a more mind
boggling 17-lap race! See http://www.enigmarunning.co.uk/
for more details - or ask me if you're interested in finding
out more about these races.