What did I learn at the Spitfire Scramble?

Well a week has now passed since I completed the Spitfire Scramble and I have just about stopped grinning. I may or may not have worn my medal for a bit yesterday (it needed taking upstairs, alright?) and I have gleefully devoured each of my teammates blogs (Alma, Andrew, Corey, Helen, Kat, Mollie and Sabine if you want to collect the whole set) as a lovely reminder of what a brilliant weekend it was. But naturally I am a reflector, so what have I learned from the weekend?

  1. If there is a Tesco nearby, you do not have to pack food as if there is an impending apocalypse (even if you have a gannet-like toddler in tow).
  2. Even if there are food vans, it is highly likely that you will want to eat something that is not served in a bun. Although there was the option of pasta or jacket potatoes (and I managed to keep missing the jackets) , the rotation of burger/sausage/bacon onna bun has its limits. When we arrived home, Ginge asked if we could have vegetables for tea. I have never known this to happen in eight years of marriage.
  3. I LOVE RUNNING IN THE DARK! I am not foolish enough to think that all night runs are like this one, but this one was pretty near perfect and I loved it. As a woman, I don’t often get chance to run alone in some dark woods and feel perfectly safe, so it’s great to be able to do this. I am toying with investing in a headtorch, but can’t help thinking that it would be wasted for training runs. My theory is that if I’m running somewhere dark enough to warrant a headtorch, I probably shouldn’t be running there alone (mainly because my mum will be cross). I am however frantically googling the National Trust Night Run (I promise that I’m not sponsored by them, but I enjoyed last year’s so much that I want everyone to do one. Having said that, if they do want to sponsor me, I’m well up for that…) and wondering if there are any more local events that I can brave in the dark.
  4. I suspect that I am capable of more than I have been doing. I wasn’t sure if I could do Spitfire, it turned out that I could. I wonder what else I can do….
  5. I shouldn’t freak myself out with pacing. During the night run, I barely looked at my pace. I felt strong and steady, whereas in the afternoon I was aware of going off a bit too fast, checking my watch and then having a walk. I have taken people’s advice and changed the display on my TomTom (who I am currently calling Tim) to show constantly show my time and distance, which means that I have to make a conscious decision to have my pace displayed. This seems to be a nice compromise as my new training efforts require me to have some awareness of my speed.
  6. I should probably invest in some nicer kit. Until not long ago, I was still running in the men’s T-shirts that I bought from Sports Direct when I was 6 months post-baby. They served a purpose, but they don’t do a great deal for your self-esteem. When I saw photos of myself in fluorescent pink and yellow, I barely recognised myself.
  7. I like being part of something. Maybe it’s harking back to my days in the Brownies, but I loved being part of a team for the weekend (and during all of the before and after stuff on facebook and twitter). Yes the prospect may have made me a bit anxious, but I wore my pink headband with pride!
  8. You can learn a huge amount from other runners. I am not really a kit junkie, so I didn’t really have much to contribute to conversations about watches, trackers, hydration packs etc, and I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I had nothing to add to discussions about nutrition, training and so on. However, I did get to run alongside some brilliant people and absorb their knowledge. A chance conversation with Kat has led me to embarking on a whole new training regime that I am finding terrifying and exciting in equal measure.
  9. Embrace the post-event massage. On the one hand, it did make my legs feel sore for 24 hours and I did end up with a little bit of fingertip bruising on my left thigh, on the other hand, it did make me feel like a Proper Runner Who is Hardcore.
  10. Do not agree to ANYTHING in the 24 hours post-race. Well maybe except doing it again next year. But do not get swept along into agreeing to sign up for something like the Trailblaster 12 when someone like Helen says “wouldn’t it be great to do this as a pair?”. Similarly, don’t get distracted by a lovely shiny Ultra medal while you’re trying to find a link on the race organiser’s website…