Week 12: Naked & Alone in The Forest of Dean

Sunday 20th March

This week I ran naked: no watch, no heart rate monitor, no phone to track Km speeds or IMG_0421.JPG10km paces. No music and no family to cheer me on. Katie was on full baby duty looking after Autumn and also her cousin Georgina as well. I arrived at the Forest alone, ran alone, finished and jumped in the car alone. Today was an experiment to see if I could get myself to just float around a course in the style of the running classic, Born to Run. I’d say I had moderate success:

IMG_0123When I plotted out my 12 months of 1/2 marathons back in January I punched “top 5 UK 1/2 marathons” into Google and The Forest of Dean 1/2 was one of those that popped right up. The course info read “mix of mostly trail and some tarmac on an undulating course” this is one I’ve been looking forward to. Had this been another tarmac city course I may have pulled out and opted instead for a training run instead- my body is suffering!

After 1 mile of tarmac we moved onto track and the course dropped steeply down into the forest. I hadn’t really had time to warm up by this point and the steep downhill left my  patella tendons humming.

So I set about calmly getting into my own rhythm letting people pass and passing others by while I maintained my efforts, twisting through the forest, up gentle inclines and back down again. After the initial descent I tried to maintain a decent pace just on the edge of my comfort zone throughout drawing my mind back from the distance to go and focussing on the 100m in front of me. A big mindfulness exercise. I’d notice my attention drift to what how others were running or extending to disect the run into sections but each time I’d try to bring it back to breathing steadily and focussing on the next 100m. I only let this focus go to look around and admire the scenery or notice small things in the landscape. The last 5km is usually when I try to push on and suffer the last 20-odd minutes as my head seems IMG_0124to be able to tolerate that. Today I just tried to run tall with shoulders back,  up my pace and let the finish line come to me.
Your body in discomfort for 100mins is a constant distraction to this focus but when I got to the end I felt relatively calm and relaxed all things considered. I passed the finish line in something around 1hr42mins30secs… I think. I’m sure I’ll check the online results later on when they are published but whatever it is I’m happy with something around that with a slow start and quite an undulating course.

Thanks to everyone for their support this week. For Barry Edwards doing his best to fix my

Screenshot 2016-03-21 08.30.25
Armchair Coaching from @tomdrowley

knee and to Tom Drowley for his armchair advice. Back to the gym this morning to try and sort my knees out and stop the rot! Running total at present is £3285. Please find my sponsorship page at justgiving.com/bobsm100. Thanks for reading and please pledge whatever you can.


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