Today I can cross another item off my Life List, as I only went and completed that pesky 5K race. It feels like I’ve done nothing but talk about running forever, but in actual fact, I only picked up the Couch 2 5K app in June.
Since then, I’ve built up my stamina, and my patience, and certainly improved a lot, but I can tell you one thing for certain: I was not built for speed.
The best way I can think of to recap the race is to go through my goals.
1. Get to the start.
Check. As per usual, I have my eyes closed in the photo. Oh well. I was number 27, which is fitting because apparently that was Gilles Villeneuve’s number in F1. I certainly was nowhere near as fast as him.
I was crazy nervous and found myself really quite stressed out by the time I got to the start line, which I don’t think helped matters at all. It was my first race, though, so I had no idea what to expect.
I found the group warm up quite uncomfortable. They had some personal trainers in from a nearby gym to lead us through it, and whilst the exercises were good (and it’s probably the most warmed up I’ve been for any run ever), I couldn’t stand the proximity to everyone else. There were elbows flying everywhere, and it reminded me far too much of school.
2. Get to the finish.
That’s me looking a bit more dishevelled, and totally being upstaged by a lion.
I got a medal though! Mostly just for taking part, but you know, sometimes that policy is a good one.
3. Get to the finish without falling over.
This was by no means a sure thing, as there were two bits that were on grass, and the ground underfoot was sort of damp throughout. I was also a bit wary of going around people as sometimes it meant heading off the path and that could have been my downfall. Thankfully it all turned out okay, and I remained upright.
4. Run the whole way.
I did do this, but I don’t know if it was the right thing to do. My timing app actually didn’t work at all, the coverage in the park seemed to be quite spotty and it just wasn’t at all impressed with being away from home. Neither was I! Nevertheless, from the time we started to a rough approximation of when we finished, I took about 50 minutes. That’s slow, even for me.
One of my excuses is that I panicked on the start line. I did not enjoy having so many people around me, and to get across the start line I had to move along with all these other people, at the same pace as them, and it was a few minutes before I realised I was going far too fast.
My second excuse is that there was a big hill in the middle of the course. The gap between seeing the 1km board and the 2km board felt like forever. Once I hit three, I found things much more comfortable, and really began to enjoy it, but by then it was too late. The slow coach damage had been done.
I kept finding myself alongside people who were walking, then they would take off running and zoom ahead, but I would catch them up again as they walked some more. It was very annoying, and I wondered if I was doing it wrong. I always assumed that running the whole way was a good thing - tortoise and hare style - but most of the people seemed to do plenty of walking as well.
5. Don’t be last.
I wasn’t last, I know that. But I can’t have been too far off it. I was, generally speaking, terrible. But I did it, and that’s all that matters. This time six months ago, I couldn’t run at all. This time three months ago, I wouldn’t have considered signing up for a race of any kind. This time yesterday, I was trying to find somewhere to hide so I would accidentally-on-purpose miss it.
I’m not proud of my performance out there, but I am very proud of what I have achieved today.
Once again, thank you to everyone who sponsored me. At the moment, the total is standing at just over £230, which is more than I could ever have imagined. You’ve all been very generous and very patient with me through the entire process.
I intend to keep running, I’m tempted to look at that Bridge 2 10K app. We’ll have to see if there are any more races in my future. For now, though, there will be less blogging about running.
What’s next on the life list?