Aforementioned in Run, Write, Repeat, Jessica and I spent much of our time in Valencia exploring the city by foot as we trained for the Endurance Life Half Marathon. A combination of early morning, pre-heat runs and evening sunset jogs through the park kept us motivated and fit as we powered through our dissertations. Once back in London, Chris, Stephanie, and Harry joined us in our goal of racing along the Jurassic Coast Path. Adjusting to training in London was a bit difficult, but we persevered and encouraged one another with post-run selfies and a bit of healthy competition.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, injuries started to sideline our team. Soon, I was the only one left registered for the race, and with a cozy and snow-filled trip home in October, I have to admit that my own training had slipped by the wayside more than once. I dropped to the 10KM, and we decided that, regardless of our running abilities, we would still head down to the South Coast and make a weekend of it.
On Friday evening after work, we gathered at Chris and Stephanie’s house to kick off our journey. It was our first roadtrip in Larry, Chris’ electric blue Mini Cooper. Chris, Stephanie, Harry, and I piled into the car with our luggage stacked around us. Ryan and Jess drove down separately, and we all united at the Airbnb in Wareham. It was immediately unanimous that this particular Airbnb was something special. A converted stable, it was immaculate in its decor and conveniences. With large bedrooms and a chef’s kitchen, we quickly made ourselves at home.
Saturday morning = Race Day! One of the perks of running the 10KM was a later start time. I woke to my friends cooking up a Race Day breakfast fit for royalty! It set the tone for the day, and soon we were off to the start line.
It was my first official run since the Pacific Northwest Half Marathon in Oregon September 2018, and it did feel a little strange to not have my running buddies Olivia and Danielle alongside! I channeled their positivity and got myself warmed up, determined with a goal time of 1h30. As it was a trail race with some significant vertical metres, I wanted to go in with a realistic mindset.
While I had accounted for the climbs, I had neglected to build in an additional time buffer for photo breaks! The course was stunning, and I couldn’t help but stop on a few occasions to snap a few photos of the scenery. The first five kilometres were lovely, joyful and high above the ocean. The second half certainly proved to be more challenging! I began to second-guess whether I had overestimated my ability to complete the course in my goal time. We had even made a bet earlier in the morning that, if I succeeded in running the race sub-1h30, everyone would go for hot chocolates. If I ran over, I’d have to do a shot.
I could not believe it when I got my race time slip. 1h28 seconds. I was pleased as punch! It was the most joyous end to a race as my friends embraced me and we headed back to Wareham for a pub lunch. Back at the house, we relaxed and soon the gang started cooking our Friendsgiving dinner.
Good food, good friends, and a good night’s sleep made for an excellent evening. En route home on Sunday, we stopped at Corfe Castle, enjoying the good weather and incredible ruins of the heritage site. In the blink of an eye, our little getaway was over, but promises of a next adventure were made.