Run the Line was my favourite event from this season for a lot of reasons but mostly because I slowed down and just enjoyed running.
This as a concept is easy to grasp. However, this race came a week before my target race of the year, the Waterford Half Marathon. I had been getting into the mind set for weeks; run fast and run hard was my adopted motto.
The day of the race arrived and I picked it because it was tough and technical and I knew I would have to take it slow. 13km of steep ascents and twisting downhill trials… the perfect challenge.
The weather was cold but dry and we set off ten minutes after the 26km race from the parking lot of a pub located at the bottom of the Wicklow/Dublin mountains.
I began slow at a 6/km pace which felt weird, although inspired confidence into me as my legs felt strong.
I was glad I wore leggings as the initial ascent was plagued by thorns and the occasional nettle. It was a small trail where we all were forced into single file.
I spent most of my time looking at the feet in front of me so not to clip their heel.
The ascent was beautiful; small trails that occasionally opened into a vast woodland where I had to be on the lookout for not only low lying branches but tree stomps and roots.
This style of racing was enjoyable. Although training in the trails for six weeks before hand, I had only run one other trail race before this so I took my time and became aware of the surrounding sights.
Once at the top of the trails it opened into a dirt road for about 2km before heading into the steepest part of the run which brought us up to the peak. We ran through bog like trails before finding our footing on a generously sized walkway that took us right up to the rock pile on the very top of the mountain.
Descending has always been a weakness in my running technique. I just can’t seem to open up the legs and hips and let them completely carry me. My cadence is slow compared to most that were running past me and I felt clunky.
Although, before I knew it I was at 9km and feeling good. Descending allowed my legs to rest up a little from the ascend which was a nice contrast from road races where your legs are under pressure for the whole race.
Despite not being good at descending I enjoyed it. The level of concentration added a new dimension to the challenge at foot and fully engaged me. I presume it is the same effect as climbing Croagh Patrick bare footed.
Trial running is defiantly a new lease of life for any runner who is looking for a little more adventure. The Wicklow and Dublin mountains was a great venue and made this race memorable. The view was great, the challenge greater and the people and volunteers were encouraging and good fun.
Check out the Strava segments here; https://www.strava.com/activities/786170204