Tag Archives: Maverick Race

Maverick Dark Series – Surrey and Hampshire

To finish off November and Kick off December the hubby and I had two more of the Maverick Dark series races to run. In between these races and my previous race I have “come out” as being pregnant, which explains why Phil has agreed to drop his pace to run with me, and why I’ve slowed down quite as much as I have, making a concerted effort to not over exert myself.

The first of the two races was set in Surrey at the Denbies Wine Estate. We signed up for the three dark series races before we knew I was pregnant so we had already opted to do the long distance for each of them. This race was advertised as 15km for the long distance, but eventually came up just a little short, around 14.5km by my watch, a little less than that if you believe Phil’s.

It was freezing cold on the evening, and we were lucky that we could use the main building of the Denbies Wine Estate, including the warm indoor toilets prior to the race, eventually though we had to head out into the biting cold to take our places by the start line. we set off into the dark at 5pm, in the glow of our head-torches, and pretty much straight up a hill.

Cresting the hill
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

The hill felt never ending, I found it really tough going, and had to give up and walk despite it being so near the beginning of the race. The views out over the estate were amazing though, the lights of Surrey twinkling below us. As the path levelled off it was easier to run again, but it’s fair to say I found this race tough. It was really hilly and I was suffering somewhat with fatigue. I wasn’t sorry It came up a little short.

Despite being a trail run, underfoot the ground was good, sometimes on paths and sometimes on wooded trails, and much less muddy than the previous race in Sussex! This was a good thing as we had to swing by a family charity event on our way home, and it also made changing in a freezing cold car park much easier too!

The next weekend we packed up the car and headed to the New Forest for the Hampshire race. This time we booked ourselves into a hotel nearby, so we were able to get changed and take the 5 min drive to the race start without rushing.

The race was based at Foxlease in Lyndhurst, which is a Girl Guiding UK activity centre (one that brought back happy memories, as I actually stayed here in my younger days). Again the HQ was in doors, which meant no portaloos, but the evening didn’t feel as cold as the week before.

This race was advertised as 16km, and with less elevation than the week before, I was confident the extra distance shouldn’t be too much of a problem, a good thing, as this time I clocked the race as a little over the advertised distance. Again we set off in the dark at 5pm, out of the main entrance of Foxlease and straight into the forest.

Again, the route was easy going underfoot, keeping to the fire roads that weave through the forest. It was really pleasant running through the trees in the dark, at one point running past a bemused looking pony in the dark (although I only noticed the one). The hills were much more manageable than the week before and I felt like I was running much better this time.

Nearly at the finish!
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

After a bit of a nasty fall earlier in the week proceeding this event, the race really helped to restore my running confidence (although I’ve not run since, still a little nervous I think) and it was a wonderful run.

When we finished the only slight dampener on the evening was not receiving the original medal for the event, after it had been over sold, we were handed a wooden engraved medal which we have seen at other races being given to the dogs! We were both slightly miffed, it made the ending feel a bit flat. Although I don’t usually care about what (if any) medal I get, I have a wall full of the things, but I had wanted to collect the set and the wooden medal was just not the same as the glow in the dark medal we should have received.¬† I have been at other races where, when they have taken on extra runners, those runners have been marked on their number or similar, and those are the ones that get the alternative. Perhaps something to think about, as we were not last minuet sign ups.

This stupid little moan aside, which really probably wasn’t worth the paragraph I wasted on it (but hey, i’m pregnant, irrational and want what I want!), these races were fantastic! I really hope I’m able to get in a couple of Maverick’s next year, be it the original series or more in the dark, even if I have to cut down to the short distance and waddle!

Maverick Dark Series, Done!

 

 

Maverick Race Original Series – Kent (Road to Bournemouth Week 25)

It was so nice to start this week knowing that the hard work was done. No long run to dread on my day off! Instead I did a little run on Monday round the park, and a second one on Tuesday with my friend Linda, I did a few more kilometres at a HIIT class and finally a couple more at my PT session and that was it for training leaving me with the 21km Maverick trail race to do, something we probably shouldn’t have booked the week before the marathon, but my planning isn’t always perfect!

The race was only about an hour from home, so it didn’t require a crazy early start. Registration was well organised and we soon had our numbers pinned to our fronts ready to go.

Groombridge Place in Kent where the race took place

The race was based at Groombridge Place, and had three distances to choose from. The course split immediately after the start line, in front of the house, taking the short and medium distance people off to the right, and the long course people to the left.

I headed left up the path and we were soon directed up a narrow path uphill. At this point it was single file, so if you were trying to race you needed to be near the front. It could have got very frustrating as you really couldn’t pass people and the line had already slowed to a walk. Since I was taking it easy in preparation for next weekend I wasn’t too worried and was happy to power walk the hill until I was able to pass a few people and run again.

The course was beautiful, through muddy trails, woodland paths, and up over hills with gorgeous views. None of the hills were too killer on the way up, although some were muddy and tricky to navigate on the way back down.

View from the top of one of the hills

It was a beautiful autumn day, the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature for running. The course was well marked, although I did see one man miss the sign  that directed you off the path into the trees with a little note that said it was less boggy that way, and had ended up knee deep in mud!

The whole course was really enjoyable, from the muddy trails in the woods, with ponies looking at you bemused over fences, to plodding through farmers fields. It could well be my favourite run of the year so far.

Finished

Having done two Maverick races now, both of which have been excellent, I can’t recommend them enough. I’m looking forward to trying out their Dark series in November and December. If you like trail running, get a Maverick race on your calendar!

Week 25 running total: 37.4km

1 week to go…

Maverick Race Original Series: Surrey (Road to Bournemouth Week 5)

Oh boy was I worried about this race! It came round much sooner than I was ready for, 10 miles of trails and hills around Polesden Lacey in Surrey where we have actually run once before back in 2014 at a night race, the blog of which can be found here if you’re interested.

Although my total weekly distance has been well planned and is increasing steadily and, crucially, slowly, it occurred to me that what I hadn’t planned quite so well was how much I was running in one go, and this was a big jump, from 10k to 10 miles and I was very aware that my knee has been struggling past about the 8/9 km point up to now. I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t finish exactly, but about how hard I was going to find it, and what kind of condition I would be in when I finally crossed that line.

Route profiles – I was running the middle (blue) distance.

In the week leading up to the race I kept the running intensity low, doing a total of around 10km made up from a 5km run and 5km from the running done at bootcamp and ASPT circuits, so my legs were pretty fresh, although I had DOMS throughout my upper body thanks to a beasting at PT the day before.

At the start line I ran into my friend Chris, who in turn introduced me to his friend Graham, and we had a nice chat while we waited to start. We were caught right at the back of a huge mass of people at the start line, and couldn’t hear a word of the race briefing, but it was soon time to slowly edge over the start line. Starting at the back was an accident but it was actually a good move for me, as having to weave around people (and dogs – this race allowed canicross entries as well) stopped me from getting caught up in the starting rush and meant I couldn’t go off to fast.

At the start with Chris and Graham

I think worrying about the distance had put me in a bit of a dodgy place mentally and the first mile I wasn’t really enjoying myself, and rather than thinking about what was happening right then I was just worrying about how much further I had to go. I gave up on the first hill and started to walk near the top, glanced behind me and to my surprise saw Graham working to catch me up. He told me that Chris had injured himself early and dropped down to the short course and asked me if would I like some company. I happily agreed and this instantly turned my race around. Now I was plodding along at a comfortable pace, walking if we needed on some of the hills, stopping to take a few photos and having a lovely chat.

Having someone to talk to distracted me completely from having nothing to think about but feeling tired, achy, the distance and all the other self sabotaging thoughts that can run through your mind on a longer distance run and I started to really appreciate how beautiful the place we were running was, taking in the gorgeous views from the top of hills, pretty bluebell woodland trails, tree shaded paths and sun-kissed tracks.

Some of the pictures I snapped during the run

As we cruised through the 10k point it occurred to me that I was still more or less pain free, my knee was holding up well with the slower pace. Having a running buddy had completely stopped me from pushing too hard and blowing up before the finish. I was still pain free as we came round past the big house towards the finish line, and it was with a huge smile on my face that I crossed the line and received my medal.

Finished with Graham

I had been told before that Maverick races were good, and this certainly lived up to the expectation, I enjoyed it immensely and am looking forward to the Kent race in September where I’ll be trying the longer distance. I only have two small criticisms, one, they need more portaloos! I was busting the whole race, and close to wishing I was a man and could just whip it out behind a tree and two, they should think about setting the Canicross runners off separately to the main body of runners, as navigating around other runners is hard enough, without adding in wayward dogs and dog leads – although once the pack thins out a bit this does become less of a problem.

All in all I would highly recommend these races and I’m sure to be doing more of them in the future, and I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to race is to take the time to stop and smell the bluebells!

Week 5 Running total: 27km