It was a bit of an easier week last week – as it was a build up to a “race” – my first race for over 30 years!!!
Three 40 minute runs and some speed work led up to the big day on Sunday which was the Wrap Up and Run 10K race at Crystal Palace – for the great charity Age UK.
The running through the week had gone OK without being anything special except for the appearance of my first blisters. All of the marathon plans say you have to do a few races – to get used to the build up and also the running with lots of other people. All of this was good advice as despite the 10K run (6 .2 miles) being much less than I have been running, something about the race element was really strange – exciting and a bit nerve-wracking to be honest.
There were 750 people there and it was a very good atmosphere. The race started in the stadium and also finished there.
It was my first time using the chip (the thing that ties on to your shoe laces to get your exact time from when you cross the start/finish time and the warm-up on the track was pretty good.
At the front of the crowd was the elite runners – the club runners who were there being very serious. For weeks I had been saying to myself, Angela and anyone else that would listen that I would run my own race and not get sucked in to other peoples pace and speed. Of course all of this went up in smoke immediately and I was in with the elite runners, trying to keep up and I had gone through the first mile and half much faster than I wanted to – and I started really struggling. At this point I was thinking it was going to be so embarrassing to pull out of a “short” race after all of the training – I did manage to talk myself out of the feeling that I couldn’t continue and also managed to actually get my brain working properly again and pulled down through the gears to get back to MY speed.
This worked and despite the hills around Crystal Palace – it seemed like the hilliest place on the world on Sunday –I thought I saw Sherpa Tenzing at one point – and it all quickly started to feel a lot better. This was helped by seeing Angela and my mum and dad around the course cheering me on. No matter how many times I have read that seeing people cheering you on encourages you – I still wasn’t ready for just how much it actually did – it was fantastic.
Having not set a time for when I wanted to finish (though I has secretly wanted under 60 minutes) as I ran into the stadium (where I used to go to watch athletics as a teenager), the announcer said, “Anyone in the stadium now, you have a chance of just getting under an hour” – so I was able to put a bit of speed on (yes really!!!) down the final straight and get over the tape in the “chip” time of 59 minutes and 32 seconds – which I was very pleased with.
Seeing Angela and my parents after was also wonderful – even though it was a much shorter distance than I have been doing it really felt like a great moment.
This Sunday it is 15 miles through central London – mainly along the river.
I am just below a total sponsorship of £4,000 including gift aid now – so thank you, thank you.
“See” you all next week!
All best wishes,