On Saturday I took part in the Run For Your Elf race.
My goal was to tot up as many 3.28 mile laps as possible within the 7-hour time limit.
With just a few seconds to spare before the cut-off, and with one final charge, I crossed the line to complete my 14th loop. Glancing down at my watch, I had covered 43.78 miles (70.46km) in 6:59:52.
I had half joked with my dad before the race that my goal would be 70km. This would equate to 10km an hour for 7-hours, did I really believe I could achieve that? I wasn’t sure.
As the early km’s ticked by, I noticed a sub 5:30 min/km trend, with my heart rate around 140 bpm, slap bang in zone 2 (an aerobic and very comfortable heart zone). As long as I remained between 140-150 bpm, I knew I had the energy to sustain. Whether my legs could keep spinning would be a different kettle of fish altogether. Yet I kept the faith, trusted the process and took one step and one smile at a time.
Fast forward 7-hours later, and having navigated many obstacles throughout the journey; cramps, dead legs, trips, falls, and low energy, I kept it together to finish strong.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt particularly proud of this achievement. I’ve often fallen short with endurance goals in the past, not for a want of trying. But sat here reflecting and writing this, I can say, I unhatched as close to a perfect a race as possible.
The joy comes largely in not stopping when the going got particularly tough, but persevering through. I kept reminding myself during the difficult times that on the other side of suffering is personal growth. Keeping this at the forefront of my mind, and reciting it as a mantra provided me the strength to keep going during even the darkest of moments.
I’ve often said endurance pursuits are a time lapse of life. During those 7-hours I experienced a life in a day. The lessons I learnt are less about the art of running, but rather the art of living. I’m forever grateful for what running adds to my life.
Huge thank you to Saturn Running for hosting the event and an even bigger thank you to all fellow runners. The best thing about lap races is seeing familiar faces so frequently.