On Tuesday, the day after Boxing Day (aka St Stephen's Day), my alarm went off at 6.30am to get me up in time to drive the 70 odd miles to my last race of the year, the Buntingford 10 miler. I went through a real battle with myself before I actually made it out of bed - I was so close to not going to the race and I was cursing myself for signing up for one so far away!
However, I really wanted to get 12 races under my belt for the year, and I knew that if I didn't go, later in the day I'd be terribly disappointed in myself. As it turns out, I'm really glad I went, and it was well worth the early start and the 3 hour round trip!
The race itself had quite a "clubby" feel, I suppose understandably because normal people don't need to be racing during the Christmas break, but it was very friendly and well organised. I was really surprised to find a version of chip timing available (only measured from the gun to you crossing the finish line but definitely good enough!) and also to see just how many very enthusiastic marshals there were out around the course.
The course had a couple of frustrating loops around a housing estate to start, but after getting out to the countryside it was picturesque, with a few interesting hills and was generally very enjoyable. I didn't get the Garmin watch I was hoping for from Father Christmas so didn't have a watch with me, and so had planned to just go out and run a comfortable slow race and not worry about my pace, particularly as I'd run a 14 miler on the Saturday and a 9 miler the day before, but with so many other club runners, it was difficult not to race with them. I definitely tried to relax but my pace was faster than I'd planned, and by the top of some of those hills and in the last mile, I was definitely feeling it in my legs!
However, I was glad I had put in a bit more effort, as I was really pleased with my gun time - 83 mins 37secs - and felt I deserved the fantastic little shoe model that we all got as a race memento instead of a medal. I'm really pleased with the shoe, and it'll end up on a shelf in the sitting room, in pride of place to show how proud I am of what I've achieved this year :)