So, I’ve been running for over 2 years now. It took over 12 months before I was kicked (politely) in the butt to sign up for a race and now, a year later I’ve just finished the same 5 miles for the 2nd time. And I’m still alive to tell the tale.
Having finally got my mental demons under control and started to persuade myself that, actually, it is ‘only’ 5 miles (*coughs* and then reminds self that 5 miles is NEVER going to be ‘just’ five anything, it’s a flipping long way), I was some 5 minutes faster this year than last.
On top of that, I really felt like it wasn’t a feat of endurance that I had to suffer to reach the finishing line.
I didn’t enjoy the first couple of miles, not so much for the running itself but because I generally run solo, elbows as far stretched as I feel necessary. But with some 5 or 600 other people cramming their feet onto the footpath, it’s necessary to match your pace with the people all around you (including behind, because otherwise you’re at risk of having your heels stomped on). To counter this I would normally run down the middle of the road, but that was full of volunteering jobsworths (that’s a little unfair, most of them were great, but still, perhaps you understand?), yelling “Keep on the path”. Which quite obviously wasn’t possible.
With words of wisdom ringing in my ears, I kept my pace down for the first couple of miles, quietly moving along at some 11 minute miles but, finally, when the field cleared, I could stretch out (a little – I’m no Paula Radcliffe you understand?) and just keep going.
I love the lack of thought that’s needed to run. The only consideration being, putting one foot in front of the other, avoiding pot holes and curbs and trying not to grind my teeth at the guy behind me who had every key and piece of loose change in his possession rattling and jingling away in the leg pocket of his combat board shorts.
The other runners were friendly (I can’t say as much for those at the front of the field because quite frankly they were sipping cappuccinos long before I reached the 3 mile marker), the families and supporters who turned out to cheer on their loved ones were great, as they clapped and congratulated everyone mad enough to want to turn out at 9am on Good Friday.
But I did have another motivation, other than finishing and heading for a tall, skinny lifestyle coffee.
There was no way I was going to be beaten by the 6’ Dalmatian with a hangover.