Wednesday, July 06, 2005

28 minutes 37 seconds

There's not much need to say any more than that. But I will anyway. Finally, the big day.

During my treadmill training my fastest was (from memory) just under 32 minutes. Relatively respectable for someone my weight, but the 30 minute mark was a distant dream. Also, my training didn't include many hills, so I was realistically hoping for something between 32 and 35 minutes. Remember that. Carefully.

I'd taken precautions before the event like getting safety pins (having read this excellent post which is far more amusing than this is going to be...) I'd put all my stuff in my bag this morning and taken it to work with me just in case I didn't have time to go home. I'd booked myself on a course this afternoon so I knew I'd be able to get away at 5ish.

But still I panicked. I know that the company doing the course usually hold them at the hotel where my gym is. Which is one reason I picked it. I figured I could go to the gym quickly at lunchtime purely to get my 4 hours free parking and make a quick getaway to get back, eat something and get down to the park for about 7. But no. They decided to use another hotel on the other side of town, nowhere near where I park. When I finally got back to the car at about 5.45 (the course having, obviously, overrun), I realised that there wasn't actually much time to eat anything once I got back (which would be about 20 minutes later) if I didn't want to feel full for the race. Maybe my planning wasn't so impressive after all.

Anyway, having tackled the traffic and got home I walked down to the park. Having already walked across town, then another mile to the park I was beginning to wonder exactly how much ground I was going to have to cover today.

It was pouring with rain. Which meant my mates didn't turn up. They weren't running, but said they'd come along to cheer. And hold my beer money. Lightweights. So I stood around on my own for a while. In the rain. The warm up which had been billed as starting 20 minutes before the race got going at roughly the time the race was meant to start. By which time I'd been standing in the rain for nearly half an hour. Lovely.

I got a decent place at the start. Among the "runners". Me. A runner! I managed to cross the start line with the clock showing a mere 20 seconds or so. Still 20 seconds I intend to knock off my final time when I'm in smug mode.

And it went surprisingly well. There were times when hills, people cutting me up and running on wet grass made me think I was running far slower than normal. Not to mention the horrific sight of Jimmy Saville not once but twice along the course. He'd managed to position himself at just about the only point along the course where there were people going both ways so you had to pass him twice. (and speaking of that point, how made up was I when I realised there were still people on the way out as I passed it on the way back).

So I wasn't expecting to break any records. I was just focussing on getting round really, in one piece, and vaguely alive. So as I ran round the last corner and caught sight of the clock imagine my shock. Not 32 minutes or so.

28 minutes!

That certainly inspired a sprint to the finish! And a damn impressive finishing time of 28 minutes 37 seconds. Knock off those first 20 seconds and you're getting close to 4 minutes faster than I've ever run 5k before. Despite the hills, the rain, the grass, the slow start, the annoying celebrities and the other people. I was absolutely ecstatic.

Now the only question remaining relates to the nice big bag of white chocolate maltesers I got at the finish. It would be rude to turn them down, really...

And of course, the biggest thank you has to go to all the lovely, generous and wonderful people who sponsored me. I was originally hoping for about £50 (plus my contribution). So I was overwhelmed by the fact that I'm closing in on £350 (and will probably make it if those people who have promised me unspecified amounts of cash cough up), including money from people who I've never even met and who only know me online. So to all those people, if you're reading, a very big thank you. Please forgive me if I don't come round and give you a big hug and buy you a pint in person, but your support really does mean a lot to me.


Blogger Portuguese Washwoman said...

Marvelous job! That's a really stunning time improvement. I'm deeply jealous. *g*

By the way, I hope it's okay that I added your blog to my list of links? I don't quite know the protocol yet but I enjoy reading your site very much.

4:35 PM  

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