Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My First 10k Race!


The title is admittedly pretty self-explanatory, but I'm celebrating because, on Sunday, I took part in my first (and judging by the way every cell is currently aching, possibly last) 10k race.

As you may know, I took up running in winter last year when I was on a big health kick- one that's now mysteriously faded away- and I've been doing it on and off ever since.

Getting to 5k was a big milestone for me a while back but since then I haven't really pushed it on.

I don't think I will ever be one of life's natural runners. I hate every step of the way, and only feel good about it once its done. And I simply can't seem to access that 'zen' space in my head when I'm running, only a space where a whiny internal voice is constantly complaining that my knees hurt, my lungs hurt, and dammit, why am I doing this?

In spite of all that, I have completed a 10k trail race. Peer pressure has a lot to answer for, as I signed up for it a couple of months ago with some of my colleagues. The weather in England, unfortunately, for the past few weeks, has been torrential downpours of rain. I must have figured my time would be better spent doing something useful, like building an ark, rather than training, because I completely stopped my regular runs. So, I hadn't run at all in over a month when I did my 10k, which is a bit absurd.

But I'd paid my entry fee, and I figured I was going to do it anyway. So my goal was mainly to complete the damn thing, and not to do a certain time or anything, which is probably just as well- it took me 79 minutes, and I was about 10th from bottom. But hey, I did it! And it really makes me wonder what I could have done if I'd actually trained properly (or at all).

The fact remains that for me, the girl most likely to get out of gym class with a suspicious note, it's a big achievement. The actual race was quite horrible. The first 5k, I felt fine. I'm used to running that distance, and it seemed to go okay. The second 5k was a whole different story.

Firstly, there seemed to be endless hills to get up, without any downhills, like some kind of nightmarish M.C Escher drawing. Honestly, I felt like I should have been about 3000ft above sea level by the time the finishing line was looming. Secondly, after weeks of cold, grey miserable damp conditions, the sun came out in full blazing force this weekend and it was suddenly roasting hot. Thirdly, the FLIES. There were constantly flies and midges buzzing round your face, forcing you to try and run whilst making continual, ineffective swatting motions at your own face, which must have looked as if you were possessed by demons to anyone crossing the trail.

So, conditions were pretty tough- even a couple of more seasoned event runners I know told me that it was pretty hard. All the more reason to be proud I got across the finishing line.

Yet, somehow, even though in the car on the way back I was swearing that would be my last ever competitive run, I feel that its reignited my interest in running. For some sadomasochistic reason, I want to go back for more!

And once my legs have stopped aching, and I've stopped walking like a geriatric, I might even be able to achieve that.

By the way, I was a complete sweaty, ashen mess afterwards so the header picture of a woman bounding like a gazelle through picturesque scenery is most definitely an artistic interpretation!
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