but I’m back! Running and blogging.
(there are photos below in case you’ve forgotten what I look like/who I am!!)
After running the Silverstone Half Marathon I felt mentally a bit broken with regard to running. I wasn’t sure when I would get back out there and felt scared about going for a run on my own.My first run after the Half Marathon was with my friend Caroline. We went for a gentle 2 miles and it felt good. I also ran a few times with my friend Rachel but it didn’t feel like it had before.
I finally got back out there and ran on my own a few weeks later – in fact it was a just a week before the Great Birmingham 10k. I ran 4 miles and literally had no idea I had it in me. It really gave me some confidence going into the Great Birmingham 10k, especially as I hadn’t done much running to train for it and it would be my longest distance since Silverstone.
I ran a few more times before Birmingham, but tried to put the race out of my mind so I didn’t get too nervous. On the morning of the race I felt good and decided I was just going to see how it went. No pressure, no chasing a PB, just running and enjoying it. My friend Rachel came with me to watch and cheer me on which was awesome – although she ended up walking most of the route herself! I’ve told her she has to enter next year! She got some fab photos and it was really nice not having to go on my own.
I started off too quickly and eventually got into a comfortable rhythm. I had my music on, but silly me clicked on the wrong playlist and instead of my “Great Birmingham 10k” playlist I had made, I listened to Sia for the whole run. I did get to hear Eye of the Tiger as I left Edgbaston Stadium which gave me a boost (it’s my song!)
There were lots of people out cheering and it was very surreal hearing people shouting my name and saying I was doing well. Giving the children high fives gave me a massive boost and kept me going too. Along the way I spoke to a few fellow runners and tole them how well they were doing and that they should be proud. I hope it helped them.
I ran the majority of the race until the last bit where I ran/walked up the inclines. They were a killer to have to run up at the end. They just seemed never-ending. Once I got to the top I told myself, no more walking, just run and run until the end.
By this point I had no idea what my time was and just kept going. I even managed to find some speed coming down the last stretch to cross the finish line. It was only then that I checked my garmin and realised that I had run a new PB. Shocked and proud and happy and overwhelmed were the overriding emotions. I couldn’t believe it. Sia certianly worked!!
I found my friend (after she had walked most of the course) and she asked my time and then just gave me a massive hug and told me how well I had done.
My official time was 1:17:26 a PB by 1 min and 25 secs.
After this race I definitely found my happy place when running.
Fast forward two weeks to 15th May and the Nottingham 10k. This one I was excited for, not because of running really, although I knew it was going to be good, but because I was going to get to meet more amazing running friends from twitter; David, Nic, Sherie and Shell, who are all part of the UKRunChat community.
I was a little nervous at meeting them, but as soon as I saw Nic it was all ok. She came and rescued me from the car park, that had taken me over 30 mins to locate because of all of the closed roads and diversions. Safe to say I was having a mini meltdown so seeing Nic was such a relief.
We walked to the race village area and found David who was waiting, soon after Sherie and Shell found us and we managed to get a group photo before the start. (I hope you don’t mind me stealing your photo David!)
We all wished each other luck prior to the start and then made our way to the different pacers we were following. I was going to try and get by the 1:15 pacer, but there were too many people in front of me. I hadn’t told anyone but my aim was a sub 1:15 10k. I didn’t know if I could do it but was going to give it a go and had set my watch up to get me close to that time. I told everyone I was just going to go out and enjoy it. That was my plan too. My new motto is run happy, run with a smile.
The start of the race was delayed a little and when we did get started it was quite congested until we headed out of the city centre. Nic had told me that the route was flat and I was looking forward to a nice flat, 10k run, so imagine my face when we turned the corner and I saw the hill that we had to go up in the first half a mile. I almost started to laugh. It was far from flat. But I gave it my best to run all the way up it, think I got about halfway before having to walk the rest. It’s disappointing not being able to run up hills easily. Maybe it’s fitness, maybe it’s confidence. But one thing I know for sure is that I’m going to be finding some hills to run up to conquer that challenge!
After the hill I settled into a nice rhythm and felt fairly good legs-wise, although I felt really bleurgh in mile 2. That’s nothing new though, it’s like my body has just realised what the hell i’m doing and is having a mini-protest. I know that if i just keep going the feeling passes once I hit mile 3 or thereabouts.
It was quite a hot day and I kept trying to run in the shade as much as possible to keep the sun off me. I burn so easily that i didn’t want to end up looking like a lobster!! Having not run in such bright sunshine and that heat for a while I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up the pace I was running but just thought see how it goes. If you don’t get a pb, it isn’t the end of the world. I think my attitude to running has really changed since Silverstone. I think I put so much pressure on myself to get a certain time, that it overwhelmed me and made the task of running a half marathon even tougher than it already is.
Anyway back to the race. It got to the halfway point where the water station was and I have never in my life been so glad to see a water station. I hadn’t got my handheld water bottle with me so this was my only chance to take on water and my mouth by that point felt to dry. I saw some people take a few sips and then throw away their water but for me it’s almost like a comfort thing that I have to carry it for the rest of the race “just in case”. It also reminds me that I am more than halfway (in a 10k) and to just keep going, one foot in front of the other.
I literally have no idea where the course took us in too much detail, but it was a really lovely course, especially running along by the river and I really think that this helped me with my running, as I didn’t listen to any music or have my earphones in. It was just me, my breathing, the pounding of my feet and others feet on the road and the occasional cheers from people.
I felt good coming up to 7km and knew that there wasn’t much left to run. My brain at that point started to try and work out how many miles there were left, in between telling me to just keep going. I decided to try and push as hard as I could in the last part and even overtook a few people. Then we hit a part of the course which was uphill again and I had to walk a few more times. We kept being told by the marshals that “it’s all downhill from here” only to find another uphill part. I remember saying to a fellow runner, who had been trading places with me most of the race that this was a funny downhill, or something like that!
By this point we were back in the city centre where the shops were, so I knew there wasn’t too much further to go. I had checked my watch a few times, but had no idea what kind of time I was going to get and wasn’t really too bothered about the time, I was actually enjoying it.
Heading down the final stretch, which thankfully was downhill was amazing. There were lots of people gathered cheering you on to the finish and my legs were going as fast as they possibly could. I was smiling too. I’m sure of that. It just felt good to be running. I was looking around so hard, hoping to catch a glimpse of Nic, David and Sherie and luckily I did manage to see them as they were cheering me on and shouting my name. Nic managed to get this fab photo of me which I love.
I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and saw my time on my garmin. It said 1:15:05 I was like “what?”. That was a huge PB if it was right. I was so happy, proud and had to hold back the tears. it was quite something to run that time only two weeks after breaking my 10k pb.
I stared in disbelief at my watch as I headed to collect my finishers bag and some much needed water and energy drink. I then text Nic so I could go and meet the group again and see how they had all gotten on.
It wasn’t until I got home that I found out my official chip time (after I finally located my car and found out how to exit the car park – what a plonker!!). Sherie tweeted me to say that the results were up and I had a sub 1:15 10k, although it was only a few seconds quicker than my garmin time, it was the sub 1:15 time that I had secretly been hoping for. I literally couldn’t believe it.
I had pb’d by 2 mins and 27 secs. My official chip time was 1:14:59.
It was so fab to finally get to meet Nic, David and Sherie after speaking to them all for ages on Twitter. David wrote a great blog post here about meeting running friends online and it meaning that you now need not go to races on your own, there are lots of people in the online running community who may be doing the same race as you. I’ve had an amazing experience both times I have met people from the online ukrunchat running community and would urge people to get involved on twitter by using the hashtag #ukrunchat or tweeting @ukrunchat if you have any running questions. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be careful who you meet. Always use your own judgement as to whether you think it is a good idea to meet someone, especially if it isn’t in a group. But I do know that I have found some amazing friends as a result.
I have to admit, Nottingham 10k will be one I will remember for a long time. A very special race for me. my very first sub 1:15 10k and I got to meet some very lovely people too. Hopefully I will be able to run it again next year.
My medal is now very proudly hanging alongside all of my other medals (including my virtual ones) on my running board.
My next race will be the Swansea Half Marathon which I am excited about. I will get to meet even more amazing friends from the running community, from both UKrunchat and an online running group on Facebook set up by the very lovely Vikki, which is a place where we can post about runs, races, successes, failures, and chat with friends who are also runners.
Happy running lovelies, run with a smile and enjoy it.