For Day 13 of ‘Do more December’ I embarked on a brand new experience - trail running. I’d spent time with mud on Saturday for the #BraverThanTheElements ride, I may as well make it the double. This time on two feet, not two wheels.

After I signed up to the 8 mile advent running event, I wrote down my fears in a journal post so I could revisit them afterwards. Fear stops us from doing a lot in life and I wanted to prove to myself that the fear itself was worse than what we fear.

Below are the worries I listed last week (you can read the full entry here).
Underneath, a caption of what actually happened.

1. The pain
There were of course moments of pain (the last hill in Richmond Park was quite the bugger) but I was enjoying the focus of not falling over in the mud so much that the pain was completely bearable. Enjoyable even. Not just the type of enjoyment that comes after you finish a race. A genuine, in the moment, enjoyment mile after mile. 

2. Being able to finish
Finished. Got the mud caked shoes to prove it. 

3. Being the slowest
Advent running organised the run so that the group stayed together. Being slow or fast wasn’t an option. We ran, slipped and stopped to take in the views together. 

4. Injury
I did have a bit of a niggle in my back and ankle but nothing that I couldn’t cope with. The soft ground and change of movement compared to linear road running made the impact on your body seem a lot less severe. I did have the cyclocross version of running shoes on though.  
 
5. The off road element

I bloody loved off road - in the nature and surrounded by the most incredible colours (both on the trees and on advent running caps). For people who aren’t natural endurance runners and need to have regular mental checkpoints to keep going, trail running is designed for you. 

6. Slowing my sister down
We not only ran the whole thing together but we chatted out the miles. It’s an activity that lends itself to company. We didn't need to race - choose trees not ego. 

7. Embarrassing myself
The ambition with Advent running is to encourage running, no matter your ability. It was so refreshing and inspiring to feel that the people around you were supporting one another as well as themselves. The only embarrassment was turning up in the same jacket as James Poole

We will always feel fear. The difference is whether we let it rule us or encourage us.
I'd recommend to anyone to write down their worries so that they can begin questioning their fearful thoughts. I once heard a quote which, as most quotes do, can sum this up better than I can:

"Don't believe everything you think" - unknown

(Unless that thought is 'I want to give trail running a go' )

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Our route:
Started in Wimbledon, through Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park, finishing off at the Marlborough Pub. Thank you advent running for finding your passion and sharing it with others.  

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