Running beyond targets

2 Jun
Last weekend, whilst stretching my back out to try and ready myself for the 10K run and looking at the weather forecast of heavy rain, I had a lot of mixed feelings about the run itself. But rather than just focus on the negative, I had a rather fun BBQ and Eurovision night on Saturday – I tell ya, those Latvian singing pirates shoulda won – and a great family get together where aunts, cousins and family alike we locked in constant battle to hold my now more expressive little nieces (apologies, new pictures going up soon !)

So the day of the run came, and I headed out garbed in my running vest and extra waterproof layers (including the essential “discard it by the starting line” bin bag vest !). It was cold and wet and took a couple of kms to get my system feeling warmer again, after which it welcomed the rain to keep cool. I kept as modest a pace as I could, cheered on by Mimi and my running mate’s partner around the 1km. Of my running mate, I saw noting – a clerical error with running numbers put him near the back with the charity runners (people in animal costumes mainly) which meant even at his better pace I finished a few minutes ahead of him. Water stations did a poor trade during the run, and I kept myself fuelled without needing to join the long queues for the toilets (pre-race fluid consumption is a finely balanced thing !)

Around the 7km I felt tired, but had been keeping pace just under 6 minute a km – so making excellent progress for a sub-hour time. Worried that I might have slowed pace, I glanced at the stopwatch and realised I was due for the 8km mark soon, but a couple more minutes on I still had not seen it. Reaching 48mins (8km x 6 mins) I was getting quite annoyed indeed, all of which had probably pulled my pace up as I soon hit the 9km mark at 50 mins ! A little burnt out after my worried acceleration, I took a modest jog uphill toward Trafalgar square, eager to make sure I jogged the whole thing without walking (when I did this 7 years ago, I felt the need to walk around the 8km mark to prepare for the final 2 km). I also wanted to be sure to be putting on a good jog for the final run down the Mall, where people would be cheering runners on. As I rounded the corner, I heard my name called out from the girls who had managed to get a good photo spot near the final 400m mark, rounding the corner from Trafalgar square into the Mall, encouraging me to push hard for the finish. A slight burst of energy faltered near 200m, where I saw I had just crept over 55 minutes (my initial “ideal” time), but I pushed hard to ensure I kept it within a minute of that, and came over the line in 55 minutes and 47 seconds.

I was very pleased about just finishing the race at the time, and in good spirits down the pub later, after a quick change at home into warmer, dryer clothes ! But I think it’s this week, now the legs have recovered and my back feels better post-painful physio involving elbows and vertebrae, that I am looking back and feeling the accomplishment more.

Another great achievement came after a few more post-race donations bought me over my charity target as well. Thanks to everyone who helped me reach what was an ambitious target. Knowing that the run was adding so much support for charity helped mentally both leading up to the day and on the day itself, as both a stick of not wanting to let people down and a carrot of knowing so many people were supportive of my little run. Hopefully I can keep the running and training going over summer in time for our 10-mile run in October (the Cabbage patch 10), but more on that later.

And finally, this all came together this month as I stood onto the scales. 16 stone 13 (and a quarter) – finally breaking through the 17 stone mark. Again, good encouragement to try and keep up with healthy eating, often quite hard in a city that seems to rob you of spare time and has so many easy eat out / take away options ! All the more reason to avoid restrictive diets and stick to the great “moderation is everything” philosophy – pizza and sofa evenings should always be allowed – now and then 🙂

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