Posted by: stokiecat | September 2, 2014

Back to Positivity Racing – NSRRA July & August

After my disaster at the Stone St Micheal’s 10k (see previous blog ) the only option for me was to get straight back on it, no wallowing allowed. That is except for the literal wallowing in mud of the JCB Mud Run which was great fun if we somewhat failed on the running part, maybe I’ll blog about it after next year’s race…

this one Myself and others of Trentham Running Club not running on the JCB Mud Run.

Not everyone failed on the running, one of our fast team members managed to finish the 5 mile mud (and obstacle) run in a quicker time than I ran the completely flat and dry Westbridge 5 mile road race. I don’t know if that makes him super fast or me a really crappy runner but as this post is about positivity I’ll go with the first one.

So anyway, my answer to my DNF was simple; race straight away and don’t worry about a time, just finish. The next NSRRA race was the Berryhill 10k, an evening race on my doorstep. I live probably half a mile from the start and Berryhill is one of my regular training routes so this was the most relaxed pre-race I have ever been. I even cycled to the start with my partner (whose best advice on the course was “run faster”, he’s  a great coach) as it was a very pleasant summer evening. That cannot be said for the course, three laps of ups and downs mainly off road, it’s blumming hard work. It was my worst 10k time ever but I was still under an hour and most of all I finished, yay, mission accomplished! It did also give me a chance to try out my fancy cross country shoes, which will now probably stay in the box until Berryhill next year due to my abhorrence of cross country running.

IMG_20140701_194551762 (2) Taking it steady near to the back at Berryhill.

However the psychological boost of completion led to a mini-renaissance for my running. The Cheadle 4 was perfect, slightly drizzly, nice short distance, straight up a big hill and back down again. Again I didn’t go for a time but I did want to maintain my league average of second place. That little bit of motivation meant that I didn’t totally treat this as a Sunday bimble and finished in a time that was satisfactory, if nothing to write home about. I didn’t do the Trentham 10k, the next NSRRA race, due to a few days away with the ladies a Hoar Cross Hall Spa. Instead I did a couple of 5 mile training runs in between the pampering, which is unheard of for me, so I could tell I was getting back on track and enjoying my running again. The Staffs Knot 5 was next, another sunny and warm evening around a very scenic course on Cannock Chase AONB but it was hard work (hillier than expected). Over the past couple of months I’ve started to add speed work to my training, nothing fancy just some stop watch Fartleks once a week on a 5k route. I’m working my way up to proper reps but nevertheless I’m already feeling the benefit. I felt strong enough to really go for a sprint finish (well I say sprint, for me it was all out, for most of the rest of TRC it was their race pace 🙂 ) which really did give me a positive feeling ready for the next two races.

Staffs Knot 5 Terrible form but REALLY going for it at the end of Staffs Knot 5. Could have done better had my shoelaces not kept coming undone.

Those next two races were by far and away my scariest as both were in the Staffordshire Moorlands and were featured tough climbs. With the red-hot summer of June and July I was dreading the same conditions for the Meerbrook 15k and the Leek Half. In fact based on my previous experience of running in heat I would have thought twice before running in either of these races had the weather been the same as June and July. In the end the weather in August was much more conducive to running, indeed for the Meerbrook 15k is was torrential rain, making the water sponges on offr somewhat redundant. Hands down these two are easily my favourite races of the season so far. I love being up in the hills and I think these are probably the closest you can get to trail running without actually being out on a trail. First up the Meerbrook 15k, despite the winner passing me on his way back at around the 7k mark, it didn’t put me off because I was already loving this race. By the time I was on the last couple of miles it just felt so, so good. I wanted to yell, to sing, to dance down that hill to the finish line. I felt amazing and I just wanted to carry on (and I did for another couple of miles). Even my time was better than I’d hoped, 1 hour 31 minutes and a total climb 1429ft over 9.5 miles. Two weeks later the Leek Half, another route straight up into the hills and back down again. Not quite the singing, dancing finish of Meerbrook due to the pitifully small but surprisingly hard hill to the finish but I came in at 3 minutes under my target time of 2 hours 15 minutes, a total climb of 2432 feet over 13.1 miles.

Roaches Leek Half Nearly at the top at the Leek Half.

So after 6 races in 48 days here’s what I’ve learnt:

1. It’s pointless getting nervous before a race, I’ll finish.

2. Be realistic and stop expecting too much.

3. Keep running, the results will come, small improvements are better than no improvements.




  1. Berryhill 10K is still the all time worst and most horrible race I’ve ever done and closely followed by Stafford 20. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t mind hills but I HATE laps. I think you probably agree with that. Good luck on Sunday 👍 x


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