The rain was tapping on my tent. I like camping but it was first time I was camping alone and at that time I really wished there was someone else next to me. My mind was preoccupied with the pre-race thoughts but couple of local beers managed to calm my nerves down and eventually send me off to sleep.
I woke up to nice sunny morning. Quick breakfast, double check my bag and I was ready to start my 12 mile Peak District adventure. Soon after the gun went off I realised it is not one of those crowded races I usually take a part in. People run off and there was barely anyone left behind me. I would have to give my very best If I did not want to be a last one coming home.
And so I run, mainly slightly uphill for first couple of miles, I struggled, a lot. I usually like to be warmed up before any kind of hills but this was Peak District so I should not expect much flat terrain.
I pushed on, miles ticking one after another. We reached highest points with purple flowers covering the Peaks. It was breathtaking. This stunning views took away my focus from a tough course to the very reason why I choose the trail racing over the road. The pain of uphills was once again worth it and I knew that I am doing it because I love being in the nature. We were running in a small group by this point and we helped each other through the boggy and technically very challenging part of the race.
Soon we reached the final couple of miles and I allowed my imagination and my mind take me from the race, take me away from the thought of tired legs. I allowed myself to disappear in my own thoughts. I was in my happy place. I was smiling and giggling to myself enjoying my little imaginary world.
Next thing I knew was the scary thought when I realised I will not be able to stop. I was falling. And I knew I won’t be able to stop. The ground was closer and closer and then I hit it. I was running on the trail covered with loose rocks and sand. I was running fairly fast at this point and the fall was hard. I could feel the pain on my hands and my legs. I was lying there in shock and could not move. I was scared to move. Others run up to me and helped me to my feet. The blood was running from my hands and my knees. I quickly assessed the damage and confirmed that nothing was broken. Still shocked I started to walk.
Pain was everywhere in my body. I was angry with myself. How could I loose my focus. This was not like me, I never totally loose myself in the thought. But the damage was done, I transferred my anger into my final push home. I started to run again, I had a race to finish. Last year I had to remove my entry from that same race because I broke my leg, this year I allowed myself nearly not to finish the race. I had to be more careful. Bruised and in pain but grateful at the same time I run. It hurt, but I run some more. I was close to finish. I heard the music and people cheering. I was there, I was home.
Picked up my medal and headed for first aid point. Having my cuts cleaned was awful and more painful than the fall itself. People would come and asked what happened, and I could tell them my little story of how I fell whilst running. Maybe it wasn’t all that bad? Maybe it was worth it? Or maybe next time I should be just more careful and try to finish the race without some drama? Maybe one day I learn.