On Sunday I raced my first ever lone race. Not taking Roland felt odd for me, but I knew he was there in spirit if not in dog. I like to know what is expected before I run. Is it a looped course, or one route until the end. Race For Life didn’t provide any of the information to us.
One piece of information that they did provide was that the venue does have limited car parking, so I car shared with three other people who were running with me. This was good, as it kept the anxiety away from the race. On arrival, there was a very organised amount of parking and we were able to park up easily.
We then proceeded to meet up with the rest of the team. The park was heaving by 10am when we had arrived. There was a row of porta loos and a queue five times the row! It took us about 15 minutes to get to one when we decided to go for a pre-run visit!
There were a few stalls. The atmosphere felt like a summer fair. There was a man speaking on a speaker, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. Whilst I was queuing for the loo, the speaker was easier to hear and they had a few cancer stories. The whole place was amassed with pink. With your race pack, you get a place to write who, or why you are doing it. I wrote an essay. These are pinned to people on the race and you can read them whilst you are running. This was a real motivator for me.
The race started 13 minutes late (not good for someone who is anxious.) Off we set as a team, together. I started my jeffing and annoyingly, my 30 second walk pinged when I was near the crowd, but I was being true to the jeffing mantra and walked.
There was a field you ran around and for me this was the hardest part. It was all uphill. I wanted to give up a few times, but the jeffing definitely helped. It then went down hill through some wooded paths (my ideal running setting!) and then around some hills. You then looped round the end path, I found that a little humiliating. Whilst I was pleased that I had completed the 5km and could keep going. I knew that there were people that were starting there next 5km. They didn’t look as bad as I felt. Some of them even looked like they were enjoying it!
I did manage to find some sanity. The ladies that were running with me were going through there final 5km and we managed to high five, which felt great. It kept me going. I wonder how I would have felt if I hadn’t attended with them.
I then embarked on my next 5km. This was where the first water station was and I felt it was too late. I really could have done with a drink sooner. I tried to drink it quickly, but it went down the wrong way and I ended up having a coughing fit.
I knew that the second 5km would be the hardest. Harder still because I had ran past the finish line and then had to keep going. I had high fived each marshall (poor them, with my sweaty palms) before and they seemed to remember me. This was a huge plus from my perspective as it gives me the motivation to continue. Race for Life give some of the marshalls giant hands to do this too, so was even better.
I always notice during races that you tend to stick with people that are running the same speed as you. This happened to a point. Once I had reached the 5km finish and had to keep going, I lost my same speed posse! I found a new set though. This was the down moment of the race.
Most of the ladies I had started being in a group with were lovely. They all seemed to be jeffing too and working really hard. There were two young girls that were, for want of a better word, complete fuck wits. They seemed to find it funny to run passed me, then walk and then laugh when I went round. They were just being teenagers, but I like to think it should be an environment where we support each other. It did motivate me to keep going.
At about the 8km stage, I had almost given up, but seeing the 8km sign spurred me on to keep going. This seemed to be the easiest race that I have done. I felt prepared, both mentally and physically. My calfs did hurt during the run.
At the end I performed my first ever (and possibly last) sprint finish. I found a little extra energy and just went for it.
First 10km time – 1 hour 22 minutes.
Money Raised – £135.00 Team total – £1138….
This 10km was inspiring. Will I do it again? At the moment no. I’m not sure I have any more runs in me. But who knows, next week… next year… next decade. Perhaps.