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Mud, ice and water what more could you ask for in a off road race!

Yesterday myself and Trevor (my partner) both competed in a local race called the 'Winter Solstice 10km off road race' at Barbury Castle. As it was local and raising money for a charity so we both thought we would have ago.

Choosing to race at this time of year you expect it to be cold but wow, I was freezing. It probably didn't help that I decided it was a good idea to wear shorts as my leggings always feel like their falling down.

So shorts and a long sleeve top it was, I made sure i warmed up in my joggers until the very last minute before the start. Trevor did his usual warm up which was mainly sitting in the car with the heater on.

5 minutes before the race I was waiting by the start line looking around as I always do thinking everyone looks faster than me. I definitely have a habit of thinking people must be good if they have all the gear and look like they know what they are doing, I then remember that this isn't always the case. Isn't the saying 'all the gear, no idea'.....

I started on the front line, the whistle went and we all shot off so fast! I couldn't keep up with a couple of the guys including Trevor. The first 200ms were really muddy and narrow so wanted to get near front to stay out of trouble, once we turned right onto the track it was a lot wider. It was a simple out and back course, however the track was very wet in places and icy in others.

I finally managed to pass Trevor by 1km, and was leading the women's race and in 4th place overall, I felt pretty good although I was thinking in my head that I might have gone off a little too fast. It was very undulating and really had to think where you were running as it was so slippy, I loved it, I had my new grippy off road shoes on so found I wasn't slipping as much as some people. The run was mainly downhill on the way out then at the turn around point you were faced with a short and steep uphill then it just dragged all the way back. As I had turned back I saw the girl in second place, she was catching me. This girl was half the size of me, she was very petite and looked like she knew what she was doing. I decided not to look back again and just keep running, I eventually could hear her breathing behind me. I think it was about 1.5km to go she came passed and I thought I would try and stick with her, I didn't want to give up first place lightly. As we were getting closer to the finish I was thinking whether I would have any energy left to sprint passed her. I soon found out when she kicked on towards the finish, I didn't have anything left. I tried to sprint but it was quicker enough to take 1st place. I came in a few seconds behind her and as I came over the finish line I just went splat onto the grass, I was knackered. Although it wasn't first place I was still happy with 2nd place, I tried and thats all I could have done.

Once I received my finishers medal I then watch Trevor come in, he was only a few places behind me, not too shabby when all he does his ride his bike.

Things I would like to work on before my next race would be to stop thinking what others look like and just focus on myself. I also need to work on my sprinting, however this time of year I don't need to worry too much about this. Racing at this time of year is just training for me, so I just need to enjoy it. It was such a great event, I would highly recommend it!

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