Extra Challenge 6 Update: The one with all the hills…

so many hills!!

This is completely out of order, I should really wait until I have caught up on last week’s exercise posts before I tell you about this, as it is Sunday’s exercise…

But I am excited to tell you about it so I am not going to!

Remember when I signed up for a 10k run before reading any of the details and it ended up being a hilly trail run?Β (not something I recommend by the way…always read the details first)



note…elevation gain 144!
I arrived at the Start which was at a pub, in the middle of nowhere.

I was on my own, surrounded by people who all looked like real live bona fide Β runners! Something I do not look like!

It was at this point I was beginning to think this whole thing was a bad idea, this was not some giant run where 1000s of runners of all abilities joined in whether they normally run or not…this was a 300 person 10k!

Right then and there I nearly burst into tears, turned round and went home! I didn’t however, I spotted Dan instead. You know Dan, the morris dancing person, who is also a qualified personal trainer and owner of Total Fit PT. He was there because he was running the 10 mile race that was going on at the same time! He assured me that I wasn’t going to die so I made my way to the start and stood around trying to look like I was supposed to be there!

Once we got going, it was not too bad, I started to feel ok… you might notice on the Β elevation plot, that the first km was quite down hill…I decided not to waste it, and went through my first designated walk break…I didn;t want to waste any down hill if I could help it!

If you look at the up that came next, you will see it was a good decision!…I didn’t walk all of the next up, but it was a hard slog, it started to get very muddy, very slippy and very up…and to top it all off the people from the 10 mile race (who started 15 mins after us) started to catch me up and pass me…

IMG_3707[1]Right then and there, trying not to fall over in the mud, I cried on the side of a hill and thought to myself that this was a stupid idea and I really was not really for this type of run! Coincidentally, at this point, Dan passed me, all fast and close to the front of the 10 mile but despite the crazy run he was doing, he still managed to shout encouragement to me πŸ˜€ which did actually help…

what also helped was the turning of a corner onto a more hard packed and less mud-bath-y path! I managed to get going again, and started to run, as I carried on the path levelled out then started down the other side of the hill!

And that is when the whole thing started to get better!! πŸ˜€

most of this race was pretty…I only occasionally remembered to notice!
The harder paths and lack of crazy up hillness really helped, I took the next 7Β or 8Β km quite happily, actually feeling better about the whole thing and following my 7 minrun 1 min walk plan more or less…I did alter it around aΒ bit, to take into account the bits where I was feeling better or worse or taking into account sudden uphills but it was all going pretty well! I even managed to stop and take a couple of pictures πŸ™‚

By this point the people from the 10 mile race were passing me again. The had branched off and done an extra loop. This time, I wasn’t so demoralised and despite them running much faster than me, and doing a much harder run than me, a lot of them shouted (or panted) words of encouragement as they passed me which at the end of the race actually made me feel better πŸ˜€

it is hard to see…but the finish is on top of that hill …
As I neared the finish, I amazed myself by still running, at least on the flat bits and the bits that pointed down, but as I approached the finish, a large hill loomed up in front of me. When I took the picture, I could actually see little figures running up near the top so I knew that was where I was heading…It wasn’t long but it was steep!

I had no choice but to walk it! To be honest, by that point I would have been slower if I had run! As I neared the top of this seemingly endless hill (no I am not being melodramatic :-p ) the path levelled and turned off and I could manage to break into a run again…cheered on by Dan and his running friends who had already finished πŸ˜€ I rounded the corner into the finishing funnel, to be hailed over the loud speaker as the last runner from the 10k race and had my number called…I quite wish they hadn’t done that as I was hoping to sneak through!!

look quicker than practice even with the stupid hills πŸ˜€
across the finish, still running πŸ˜€ awesome!! I finally checked my time and discovered that I had knocked 10 mins (more or less) of my fasted ever 10k time which was done in 2010 on the flat!

I was so pleased at this point, that I was quicker, had run more Β than I walked, and hadn’t died, that I started crying again!

At this point I thought I was last, but I didn’t care…I was only competing with myself!!

I was generally just happy to have completed the course.

later on… when I the official results cam out…it turned out that I wasn’t last!! I can 315th out of 316 people! this made the whole thing even better πŸ˜€

I decided a few times on this run that I wasn’t really ready for this sort of hilly, trail running, especially as I had never done either before…
but right at the end, I decided that if you don;t push yourself into things you don;t think you are ready for, you will never actually get ready for them!! Or that is what I keep telling myself anyway!!

official times

Look…Official proof that I wasn’t last!! πŸ˜€

so muddy it even went through to my socks!
Dan after the race...he finished his 10 mile in 18th out of 275 with a time of 1 hr 10 mins which is practically flying!!
Dan after the race…he finished his 10 mile in 18th out of 275 with a time of 1 hr 10 mins which is practically flying!!


25 thoughts on “Extra Challenge 6 Update: The one with all the hills…

  1. How absolutely brilliant, Sam! And it does give me the extra push I need to find a 10k race (an actual timed one and not just a charity fun run type) to really push myself. Thank you for that!

    p.s. Just because I’m thinking I’ll end up between 1:10 and 1:15 when I do it, can you give me a sense of how many finished after that time frame (yours cuts off at 1;25 above.. (Yes, my ego wants me to know that I won’t be last… πŸ™‚

    p.p.s. Dan was fully flying. What the hell??? πŸ™‚


      1. Not worth hurting your lungs!
        I am going to carry on with my 10k trainer,despite having done my 10k, I may well sign up for another one, despite saying I didn’t want to!!

        I am determined to do a race one day where I don’t get the sympathy claps at the end!!


  2. Well done Sam, that’s an amazing thing to have done, and surpassed your own expectations! I’ve just had a quick look back at some of your older posts, from when you started running (exploding calf muscles and all https://midsummer365project.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/day-56-how-are-you-supposed-to-run-when-your-calves-feel-like-they-are-going-to-explode/) and it is really inspirational how far you have improved in the space of only 8 or 9 months!


    1. Helen, thank you for making me go back and read that! πŸ˜€
      I forget sometimes how far I have come, and when I still feel like I have so far to go, I should go back and read more!
      It is hard to believe that I was struggling with 1.5 min and 3 min runs then and now have just run a 10k (1.5 hours running) in 7 min run intervals! and all without having to track down the medically trained hedgehogs!!

      Thank you again πŸ˜€


      1. You’re welcome, I think it can be really useful to look back every now and then to remind ourselves where we came from! πŸ˜€ And I did vividly remember that one in particular, I felt your pain when I read it!


      2. It was really awful…I remember writing it, but hadn’t remembered how early in the process it was!

        I still get sore calves, but nothing like that… I guess the answer was new shoes, getting used to it and compression socks!

        It is so easy to focus on the things that still need to change and forget the great big steps that have already been made πŸ˜€


  3. That was awesome! Well done! πŸ˜€ Now, you definitely have to come and do the York 10k with me, my son and my friend. Last year my friend was going to run as far as possible and then run/walk it (she’d only run a handful of parkruns beforehand) until we got to York Minster (6k) and I told her we could run slower but she wasn’t walking as we hadn’t walked yet. She was aiming for 1 hour 30 minutes or even 1 hour 40 minutes but we finished in 1:15:10. We have to go 11 seconds faster this year as she wants to get under 1 hour 15 minutes. Also, 1 hour 30 minutes would be nowhere near the back of our 10k as there are thousands of runners.

    You have come so far in 300-odd days and inspire me with every blog post I read.


    1. I would love to come to York! I will have to figure out what (if anything) is going on that weekend! I think a 10k with more runners would have been better for a first one, but this one was a hard one and I did it which is a huge boost!
      I had forgotten how far I had come until Helen pointed out that I should look at my post from about day 57! It is hard to believe I have come so far πŸ˜€


      1. Is there a Bupa 10K run near you later in the year? I know the Great Yorkshire run in Sheffield in September is a 10K but I can’t remember which other ones are 10K and which are 1/2 marathons. The Bupa Great Runs are good fun with lots of runners going off in different groups. When I did the Yorkshire run last year, my group left just as the elite athletes were returning and because it was an out and back course we could see people coming (and going) all the way round. They also had a battle of the bands thing going on too with different musicians all along the course πŸ™‚


      2. The great south run is a half marathon, they also have a great south 5k on the same day as I did it in October but not a 10k unfortunately 😦


      3. Oh, that’s rubbish. Maybe we’ll have to find one in London that we can both get to. It’s only a 2 hour train journey to London for me πŸ™‚ Or, we could just do a 5K.

        You’ll notice I didn’t say we could sign up for the 1/2 marathon πŸ˜‰


      4. Hmm, may need to find one. I’ve been thinking about it but as my son and I work Saturdays it’s quite hard to get to London during the school term time and I’m not sure I’d want to travel, to and from London, and run in the same day.


  4. Sam – I’m only just catching up on a few days of your blog so have only just read this. You did an amazing thing last weekend. I know I’ve already said it on Facebook but want to reiterate that you PBd, and on a blooming tough course! Those two things alone are brilliant! But what’s even more brilliant is that you have come so far. I remember hearing you talking last year about the struggles of starting your walk/runs (and I remember there being an awful lot more walking than running!) you are doing brilliantly and I’ve no doubt that your next 10k will be quicker than this one because you are extremely determined!!!!! Great stuff. (Last thing I’m glad about is that you did in fact find my encouragement en route encouraging! – I was very worried that it would feel awfully demoralising so I’m glad it didn’t!)


    1. πŸ˜€ thank you, I sometimes forget how far I have come, I still feel like such a beginner but only have to read back to know that it is not really true any more!
      I never really thought I would do a 10k and not feel awful at the end or even during it, and (apart from the first hill) I didn’t hate last week and I want to do more! I genuinely did find your encouragement encouraging…and you did stop me chickening out and running away at the start (although you probably didn’t know that at the time!) when you passed me and shouted it did make me remember that I would probably just pull myself together and get on with it! (The top of the hill helped too!)
      Now I really have to find another one to sign up for!


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