Lliswerry 8 (Race 26)

First thought: pause garmin. Once the garmin was safely paused, second thought: argh but I really need to run tonight!

Collapsed in a twisted heap, Gemma shone her headtorch down on me and picked mine up from where it had flung from my head in the fall. “Are you okay?” Trying desperately not to be a wimp, I managed somewhere between a “yeah” and “ugh” in response. Several minutes passed as I concluded I still had all my limbs and gradually pulled myself upright. Looking like a kid on a school playground with rips in my leggings and bloody hands and knees, Gemma asked if we should head back to the car. No! We were less than a kilometer into a planned 15k run! I need the miles for my marathon training! So after walking for a few minutes, we picked it back up to a jog. It was mainly my hand I worried about; I’d landed awkwardly on my fingers and sharp pains kept throbbing through the wrist. I wasn’t too worried though, after getting over the initial shock. We managed 11k and headed to the cars, where Gemma patched me up with her first aid kit and said she’d follow me back to town. I was sure I’d be fine though…until I actually started driving! I know I sound like a drama queen, but seriously, every time I needed to change gear I’d feel a rush of pain and it was all I could do to stop screaming, fearing I’d faint at any moment! So I pulled over, and Gemma came to rescue me.

16266224_410044222666283_8634031372556049751_nAfter calling the Royal Gwent and learning there was a three hour estimated waiting time, we decided to try our luck at a minor injuries unit. Assessing me, noting the funny shape of my hand where two fingers bowed awkwardly, the nurse said she strongly suspected it was broken and that I could either go to the Gwent or pop back in the morning. Several hours wait for a non-urgent injury, aint nobody got time fo dat! So she bandaged me up as best she could, gave me some painkillers and we headed back. Driving home from Chepstow was much easier with drugs and padding! After only an hour or two’s sleep, the next day, returning for my xray, I was miraculously declared break-free, which I rejoiced at; with several upcoming races as well as working in the ski resort, I couldn’t afford to be one-armed!

So despite still being bandaged up and hobbling slightly from a recent poor prognosis on my foot, I was determined to count my blessings and give it my all for today’s race. There was a great pre-race atmosphere, despite the constant drizzle and damp conditions. The event had become increasingly popular, with an epic online battle for entry. I’d been lucky to get a place, only due to a fellow club runner  dropping out and transferring his place to me.

The race’s tagline “the flattest race on the planet” could easily be replaced with “the boringest race on the planet”. Does that sound harsh?! I wasn’t loving life as I busted a gut on the country lanes on the outskirts of Newport. I remember as a new runner, thinking flat races were the best, and cursing the lies when I’d enter a “mostly flat, slightly undulating” race only to find myself faced with what seemed like Everest at the time. But these days I realize that the hills, tough as they are on the up, provide a welcome relief on the down, and without these breaks in the run, you’re just going flat out on the flat the whole way. I felt woefully out of practice and sluggish trying to lug myself round Lliswerry 8. But I had a goal time and pace and managed to squeeze under, with the constant reminder of who I was running for and why to get me around.

Thank you to all those who have supported me in my challenge so far of 30 races for 30 years, raising money for A21 for the incredible work they do with survivors of human trafficking. Please consider making a donation by following this link. Thank you so much! xoxo

Many thanks for the photos Tosh Simpkin & Gemma Hewitt.

PS. In case you’ve missed any, here’s a list of my races so far that make up my 30 races for 30 years challenge:

Mayhill Massacre, Gloucestershire (Race 1)

Newport City Half Marathon (Race 2)

Cardiff World Half Marathon (Race 3)

Sugarloaf Fell Race, Monmouthshire (Race 4)

Kymin Dash, Monmouthshire (Race 5)

Offa’s ‘Orror, Monmouthshire (Race 6)

Pentyrch Hill Race, South Glamorgan (Race 7)

Stroud Trails Half Marathon, Gloucestershire (Race 8)

A21 Muskathlon Half Marathon, Bulgaria/Greece (Race 9 – blog to follow)

Man Vs Horse, Powys (Race 10 – blog to follow)

Swansea Half Marathon (Race 11)

Gloucester City Marathon (Race 12)

Race the Train, Gwynedd (Race 13)

Severn Bridge Half Marathon, Monmouthshire (Race 14)

South Wales Trails Half Marathon, Rhondda Cynon Taf (Race 15)

Halfway Point Challenge Reflection

Wentwood Woodlark, Monmouthshire (Race 16)

Forest Mile, Gloucestershire (Race 17)

Forest of Dean Autumn Half Marathon (Race 18 – blog to follow)

Mendip Muddle, Bristol (Race 19 – blog to follow)

Nightingale Nightmare, Bristol (Race 20)

Rogue Runs Night Race, Gloucestershire (Race 21 – blog to follow)

Suicide Run (Race 22 – blog to follow)

Might Contain Nuts, Brecon (Race 23 – blog to follow)

Seven Sins, Gloucestershire (Race 24)

Riverbank Rollick, Thornbury (Race 25 – blog to follow)

Lliswerry 8, Newport (Race 26)

Round the Lakes, Rhayader (Race 27 – blog to follow)

San Dom 20, Merthyr Tydfil (Race 28 – blog to follow)

Weston Prom, Weston-Super-Mare (Race 29 – blog to follow)

London Marathon, London  (Race 30 – blog to follow)

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