Hockley Woods trail challenge

OK so parkrun didn’t happen this weekend, I was shattered and still aching from the speed session at training on Thursday evening. I have other excuses up my sleeve like I was pushed for time, but ultimately I felt like I could do with a rest day (I even had a nap after work on Friday before going out with friends #lightweight, and no I didn’t drink 😳) plus with the Hockley Woods challenge on Sunday it probably did me good. The Hockley Woods Trail Challenge is a 6 hour trail running challenge, where runners are able to set their own targets and goals. The route is a 5K loop through the lovely woods, fully marked with tape and arrows. Each runner completes as many loops as they can/want to within the 6 hour limit. My aim was to complete 6 laps which would make the 18miles I have down on my training plan, I thought this would be achievable after 16miles last weekend, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy especially if the last 2 miles from that was anything to go by. Not long after we arrived the rain started 🙄 but to be fair this didn’t last all morning and it helped add puddles to the route 😁. I really loved the run, the route was great although very tough – lots of mud and hills but going through the woods and puddles is always fun. At the end of each loop you get given a band to keep count of how many laps you’ve completed, there was a great selection of refreshments which was brilliant as it meant there was no need to wear a fuel belt and I could regroup with Tina here so we could start each lap together. It’s always good to have great company to run with so was really pleased we were both doing this today. I was feeling quite good until the fourth lap! My husband had popped over to offer some support so I think it helped that I’d seen him after the second and during the third loop. On that fourth lap I just started to struggle and my legs were telling me they’d had enough. I had a snack and a drink and decided I’d run/walk another lap, I actually found walking just as hard as running but managed to get into a rhythm during a lot of the last lap with some walking thrown in from time to time. Although I didn’t finish the 6 laps I’d been aiming for I’m very happy I managed 5 on such a tough course, especially after the way my body had been feeling over the last couple of days. At the finish I got a great medal (I think it’s my best so far) and a well stocked goodie bag so that put a smile on my face. I would definitely do this one again, it was very well organised and I think it’s great that you can set your own distance target. Somehow my legs got me back to the car – I think Tina’s brownies calling my name helped 😉 My legs are certainly feeling it now and with Grizzly coming up next week I want to make sure they recover properly so plenty of stretching to be done and no going crazy at training in the week. I’ve got a sports massage booked in for tomorrow evening which I always find very beneficial and would definitely recommend having these regularly.

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