Sunday, November 27, 2005

I run

Second stating the bleeding obvious post of the week. After the revelation that I'm not actually fat, I've finally convinced myself that I can run. Not that I attempt to run, or that I can run for a while, or that I might be able to run one day, but that I can run. 10k, to be precise.

It was the Abbey Dash today. I remember this time last year I had to drive through the city centre on the day of the Dash and saw lots of people wandering around in their brightly coloured t-shirts. I wondered what was going on, but thought fairly little of it. I didn't know how far it was, how hard it was, how big it was. I just drove past, in my own little world.

This year though, I was there, complete with fetching bright yellow t-shirt. We got down there early, as is my habit. Insider knowledge got us parked pretty much exactly at the start, a short walk away from the finish and near the gym where I was going to have my much needed post-run shower. The run actually left from the car park behind my office, so I knew exactly where I was going, no worries!

It wasn't as cold as I was fearing. This was a good thing. I was wearing my new long sleeved running top (size 10!) under the hideous yellow t-shirt, hoping that it would keep me warm enough and be vaguely breatheable. My attempt to run in a jacket last weekend failed miserable so I decided I'd just have to run fast enough to keep me warm. (worth a try, anyway!)

As at all the races I've done, there was an aerobic warmup organised. Doing it I realised two things. Firstly that I still have very little co-ordination sometimes, but also that the warm up on its own would have finished me off this time last year, with all that jogging on the spot and doing star jumps. It did get me warm, but not particularly out of breath or tired, so I've definitely made some progress.

There were some scary looking runners today. As in scarily fast, people who have run in the Olympic marathon, that sort of scary. Lots of people from running clubs, which hasn't really happened at any of the runs I've done before now. So I made sure I was behind them at the start. I was looking for a "stupidly slow" starting time slot, but there didn't seem to be any distinction for people who were going to finish in over 40 minutes, so I just positioned myself in the middle of the crowd and hoped.

A slow start to get over the timing mats, but unlike the last 10k I did, once you were past the start it opened up nicely and you could run straight away, rather than having to go through a narrow gate and slow back down to a stop. So I started running.

And I carried on running.

And running.

And running.

In my previous 10k I broke into a walk somewhere between 2 and 3k I think, and I walked part of the 5k I did in July. My big target, bigger than getting a good time, was to run it, and not to walk. A question of personal pride, if nothing else, I didn't want to walk. At all.

So I ran. The course was nice and flat, it was also on familiar roads, so I knew where I was, and roughly what was to come. After about 3k the scarily fast runners passed on the other side of the road (the route is pretty much run 5k up a main road, turn round and run back - you turn round in the grounds of an abbey, hence the name). They had done 7k. I'd done 3k. Hmm.

But I was still running. At this point the target was to get to 5k without stopping, which would have far exceeded anything I'd ever done in a race before. There were a couple of small hills here, but nothing too dramatic (and certainly not the hill of hell from the September 10k), so I carried on running. I got round the abbey and started on the way back. This is where it gets more encouraging, as you see people on the other side of the road and get an idea of how many people are behind you. You realise that YOU'RE NOT LAST. This is important.

Having ticked off 5k, I wanted to get to 8k without stopping. I didn't want to think of another 5k, but another 3k was a manageable target at that point. I might make it that far.

I made it to 8k. This is near where I park for work, and I was back on very familiar territory. With only 2k to go I told myself I needed one more big effort, that it wasn't very far now, and that it would be a shame to start walking now.

So I carried on running. I ran over the timing mat, and I'd finished it, without a step of walking. I can't just run 10k in a theoretical, hesitant sort of way. I can run 10k. And what's more, I enjoyed it. There were more people running than the 10k in September, and it was a lovely atmosphere. The weather wasn't great, and the route wasn't partcularly scenic, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I was enjoying myself.

I don't have the official chipped time yet, but it's going to be within a minute or two of an hour, which is definitely faster than September, but still something that I can improve on should I run next year too. I finished somewhere around 2700 out of 4500.

And I think I will. Before the race as I was putting my coat in the car before the start someone came past me handing out leaflets, for a 10k in January and a flyer for a running shop. After the initial shock that I could be taken for someone who might want to visit a running shop, there was a second, greater shock, that I looked at the leaflet and saw things on it that I wanted to buy. That I AM the sort of person who might want to visit a running shop.

Is it just me who suspects that I may already be past the point of no return?


Blogger a mummy losing it said...

Fantastic post. And yep, I'd say you've gone to the other side well and truly.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Shauna said...

how freakin' cool :) well bloody done!

4:14 PM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

Way to go. That is awesome you exceeded your goal and finished it, running the whole way.

7:25 PM  

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