Tag Archives: Downland Devil 9

December

So we have arrived at the end of what has been a pretty brutal year both personally and for many of the people that I care about. I have decided to be hopeful for 2017 and good things to come, and I’m going to focus the last of this years blogs purely on the running. Two races to complete the year, and next year I’m going back to race by race blogs rather than monthly blogs. I just prefer it that way.

Downland Devil 9

My husband and I returned for a second year to take on this hilly 9 mile trail run. It was a freezing cold, but beautifully clear crisp and sunny winters morning, and as the race starts you straight up a hill you were soon warmed up from the cold.

Phil shot off determined to beat last years time, and I lost sight of him very quickly as I plodded along at a slower pace. I did want to beat my time if I could, but wasn’t going to beat myself up over it, with pain in both legs recently I wasn’t prepared to risk another more serious injury.

Worth the hills for the views
Worth the hills for the views

I soon remembered just how hilly this course was, and at 3 miles I was wondering yet again if this would be the race where I got my first DNF. I kept going, walking more of the hills than I care to admit, my head giving up long before my legs did, but as the miles ticked off my watch, I started to quite enjoy myself, especially as I was now over half way. There is a great downhill stretched followed by some flat running, past a frozen pond before its back up again for the final few hills.

The finish is my favourite part of the race, a long downhill stretch, and I love running downhill! I blasted past a couple of guys, one of whom decided to push back and chased me all the way to the line, I picked up the pace even more though to keep ahead before crossing the line. I had managed to beat last years time, taking 2 mins and 6 seconds off, and I know I could do better still with a bit more mental stamina on the hills, and (fingers crossed) less injuries allowing for better fitness both before and during the race. Hopefully I’ll be back again next year to shave a bit more time off.

Coming down to the finish
Coming down to the finish

The Christmas Pudding Dash

For my last race of the year I dusted off my elf costume and prepared to jingle all the way round 5 trial miles at Pett. The race venue had been moved a day or two before the race as the original venue had been deemed unsuitable at the last minute.

The course was through woods and over fields, with a few good hills thrown in, some of which beat me and reduced me to a walk (something I blaming on my bad back and niggly injuries that are still kicking about)

With the venue change came a change in the set up of the course, being one loop which came in at just under 5 miles, rather than the originally advertised two laps. As I lumbered up the final incline to the finish I was reminded how unfit I’ve been feeling lately, and how annoying it is to run in an elf dress with bells on! I was happy to be done and grab my Christmas pudding shaped medal, Christmas pudding and mince pie, but it was a really lovely run and the weather had been beautiful. I’m sure we’ll be going back again next year!

Elfie Selfie to finish
Elfie Selfie to finish

Charity for Kids 5 Mile Dash

I might have been done with races for 2016 but that didn’t stop me from getting out for a few last runs. This 5 mile run along Hastings Seafront a couple of days after Christmas was organised by Born Ready Fitness’ Chris Hawks, an unofficial event set up to raise some money for charity for kids. Turn up, chuck some money into the charity bucket, then join a bunch of other people for a 5 mile out and back run along the coast.

Another beautiful day made this a great way to burn off some of the holiday overindulgence and there was a great turn out which raised over £200 for Charity for Kids. This was the second year this run has been organised so if you are local keep an eye out and join in the next one for a good cause!

Some of the RPCC runners that took part in the charity dash
Some of the RPCC runners that took part in the charity dash

Brutal 10 Longmoor

Opps I lied, apparently I wasn’t done with races in 2016 after all, and squeezed one last run in on the last day of the year. This race had been on my radar for a while, but I had been unable to convince the hubby, who wants more than a days rest before our next race on the 2nd Jan, so I wrote it off as I had no way to get there, however a few days before the race I found out some friends were going, and were happy to give me a lift, so I decided to sign up for the full 16km after all.

I very quickly started to regret my decision to do two laps rather than just 8km, having not run that far in months since my last spate of injury, I felt sluggish, and as faster people overtook me I thought I was going so slowly. This was a terrible mindset for the whole of the first lap, as I kept telling myself I should quit after one lap, that I didn’t want to go up those hills again, at one point I had myself completely convinced I should stop, I hardly paid any attention to what was going on, the beautiful trails and technical downhills, I was missing everything in my own self destructive thoughts. As I went through the penultimate bit of cold water a marshal called out to myself and the lady in front of me that we were the 16th and 17th lady to pass through, and I was really surprised, I genuinely thought I was running so badly.

I got to end of the first lap, and kind of surprised myself as I directed my feet to carry on rather than take the fork to the finish. I literally decided at the last second to carry on and finish what I had set out to do. I think for me it was a really important decision, I’ve been far to apt to quit lately, my head convincing me that my body cant do it anymore, and had I walked off that course that may have been me done with running, confidence finally knocked down to far to come back from, but I didn’t quit, and suddenly I was enjoying myself. The running was more comfortable, I didn’t have my own stupid brain telling me to just quit this time, I actually sped up, started over taking a few people. Mentally I was much stronger and this translated to my running. I started to realise what a good course it was, hilly, tough, cold water, tricky down hills, sand. I was finally smiling and by the time I finished I was exhausted but really happy, yet again impressed by the quality of race put on by Brutal and wondering when I could get back again to do another one. A great way to finish the year.

Before the run with Lucy Martlew, Kieron Booker, Blake Mitchel and Tim Lovett
Before the run with Lucy Martlew, Kieron Booker, Blake Mitchel and Tim Lovett

Downland Devil 9

A last minute sign up, to put off going Christmas shopping saw my husband and I travelling an hour or so out of Hastings to run the Downland Devil 9 run put on by the Worthing Striders running club.

This run is 9 miles cross country on farmland at Church Farm, that is not usually open to the public. The terrain is hilly, very hilly, the tough uphill sections made up for by some fantastic downhill running.

People gathering at the start
People gathering at the start

The race started you straight up the side of a hill to kick off the 9 miles of trails over the farmland, you then proceeded to run up and down several more hills, some with a fairly gentle gradient, and others that reduced most people (including me) to a walk, these uphill sections were well rewarded with some nice flat sections and some downhill sections that really allowed you to get up some speed.

Some views from up heigh
Some views from up high

For the first 4 miles or so I seemed to be struggling a bit with cramp, but after that subsided I started to really enjoy myself, hubby however found his knee giving up, so between us we probably made up one fully functioning runner. We stuck together though, well, until the very final decent downhill to the finish where I took off and zoomed down to the finish to collect my race mementos, which turned out to be a Worthing Striders drawstring bag containing a Downlands Devil 9 mug.

With Phil at the finish
With Phil at the finish

This was a great run that was challenging but fun to complete and I would certainly give it a go again in future years.