No.13 – Enigma Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Milton Keynes

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Thirteen down, seven to go

Almost eight months after starting out on the first of my twenty at this same venue, returning felt slightly surreal reflecting on the ups and downs of what has happened in between.

Starting out on this challenge in January, I was unsure whether I would be able to get even this far, let alone finishing the year. It was hard to believe I was revisiting Caldecotte Lake twelve marathons later.

After a pretty torturous journey up on the start of a bank holiday weekend, I arrived in Milton Keynes on a hot and sunny Friday afternoon, checked in and spent the rest of the day relaxing ahead of another Enigma running festival weekend, this time celebrating the best of British transport !

Sleep, as usual was fairly sporadic, but I still felt ready to go and excited to get number thirteen out of the way. The lake was shrouded in mist as we started out, lending the morning an eerie feel as we began the first of seven laps of Caldecotte lake.

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Much the same as when I was here last, I had no big intentions for the race other than to go under four hours again so I could get back to the hotel before they chucked me out, and so I could get back down south early enough to keep a date with my in-laws (Thank you Bob & Carol, perfect recovery meal ….. and wine !).

With a small field of 50 or so runners, other than the odd chat I spent most of the time on my own with my thoughts, distracted every now and then by the wildlife, fortunately not obstructed this time.

I felt ok for most of the race even when the sun came out, and was happy with how my knee was holding up after the previous injury issues I’d experienced. The rest, physio and rehab exercises seem to have worked their magic nicely. I guess I should expect problems to arise running this many marathons with little recovery time in between, but aside from a few other niggles here and there the legs seem to be coping fairly well.

I feel immensely fortunate to be in a condition to get out and run as frequently as I can, and I never take it for granted as I know how debilitating injuries / illnesses can be, and the toll this can take both physically and mentally.  When I run ….. considering how long it usually takes, my mind wanders all over the place, actually it does that when I don’t run too ….. but thinking about my beautiful girl usually helps me put things into perspective, and I often think of my friends and family who would love to be able to be out doing what I was doing. Maybe not the marathon, but running or exercising of some sort.

That said, I’m afraid to say I got bored.

After about the fifth lap of seeing the same geese, the same bridges, the same drowned rabbit (!), the same hotel with a lovely big bath in it, I wanted it to be over. And I was glad when it was, finishing fifteen minutes shy of four hours. Whilst I’m already looking forward to the next one, something to do with wine, I don’t think Caldecotte lake will call me back again. The organisation was great again and the organisers friendly, but I prefer the bigger events with more support …. and whilst for me times do come in to it, it’s more about the experience and the experience is definitely better shared with friends.

So, with friends and wine in mind, bring on number fourteen.

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Learning points :

  • I’m not so keen on running loops
  • It’s not a great idea driving to a race over a bank holiday weekend
  • I prefer trains and planes much more than automobiles
  • Apparently rabbits can swim, although the one I saw obviously skipped his lessons and couldn’t afford armbands
  • My mind wanders and I’m easily distracted

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“If you see someone drowning, do you ask them to call you sometime if they need help ? …… you just jump in”