Today was the day. Our first race. I use the term loosely – I don’t race. I plod along. Be that as it may, today we were tackling our first running event since the half marathon 2.5 years ago. I was excited and scared in equal measure. We had a cup of tea in bed and then got up, got our running gear on and had a bowl of porridge. We set off about 7.30am for the 40 minute drive into Leeds. We couldn’t find the way into the car park we had planned on using and Leeds is an absolute pain at the best of times, with road closures it was impossible. So we had a rather stressful 20 minutes getting on and off loops and eventually finding a car park that had an entrace we could get to. Once parked, we walked over to the Headrow amd I munched my banana on the way.
We joined a queue for the loo (I’ve used worse) and then we just waited around for a bit – actually our delayed arrival meant that we didn’t really have to wait that long once we had found our assembly area. It wasn’t that clear where we needed to be or how to get into it – it all seemed blocked off so we just ducked under a tape to get into the ‘green’ area. The blue and red runners went first and then the greens followed. The mass warm up was just stupid – mostly because they had told us all to move to the front and fill any gaps so there was no room to actually do the warm up. They sent the blues and reds on their way and then walked us up to the start. We set off towards the front of the greens and off we went:
First km – well it went quite quick but didn’t help me settle. Given our run/walk intervals we knew we’d get in people’s way if we weren’t careful and at the start everything is so bunched up that walking didn’t make sense so we kept going and took a walk out. That’s not something I have practiced though so it unsettled me a bit. We did eventually settle into quite a nice run/walk routine and the markers for 2 and 3 km came and went. It was hot. It was getting harder. I was coping with people though. 4km and a water station later (I didn’t get any) it was all still ok but I was beginning to really wish we could turn back and head for home. It was hot.
I missed the 5km marker completely. As we executed our 180 degree turn, one of the marshalls said 5.5 km and I presumed she meant that’s what was left. I could see the next marker ahead and kept thinking, right nearly half way, nearly half way… and then the marker said 6km. More than half way! Yay! I did take a couple of walks out, not quite sure where actually. Aorund what I now know was between 5 and 7km. I also ignored the 2nd water station but didn’t have the energy to avoid the water spray eventhough I didn’t really want to be sprayed. Poor Kath was to my left and closer to the spay so she got a proper soaking.
At 8km I was struggling, really struggling and just about hanging on until each walk break. Have I mentioned it was quite hot? But 9km came. My calf muscle felt horribly tight and it took me a little while to decide if it was pain that required me to do something or whether it could just be ignored. I added in a short walk (much to Kath’s dismay who of course knew what our pace was). She urged me on to start running again and I now know why. We passed the 400m to go flag. Just keep running Jess! All I remember is Kath telling me repeatedly that we could do this. Then I could see the finish line and I saw the clock. It said 1.24.something… I hadn’ t seen the clock when we started but the race pack had said that the green runners would start 10 minutes after the blues and reds. I didn’t really think it was possible but just in case I pushed hard. My (not so) little legs somehow still had something left and could go faster – and there it was: Kath’s watch confirmed it – 10km in under 1 hour and 15 minutes, a pace of under 12 minutes per mile. Wowsers. Our official time was 1 hour 14 minutes and 18 seconds.
As far as I can see, looking back at what we managed in our previous running life, that’s about 3 minutes faster than our previous best at the distance. Not that we are measuring against what we did before because we started from nothing this time round. I looked because it gives me confidence that the training is working, that the run/walk method is working, that Jeff Galloway’s plan with our slight adaptation is working and that means that if we stick to the training plan we will be able to do the RunDisney Walt Disney World marathon in January. The idea of me running a marathon is obviously totally ridiculous but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
I do need to remember to eat something after running though. I didn’t want anything when we got back to the car and then we decided we would just have a quick shower and go out for food so I didn’t have anything when we got back home either. By the time we were sat waiting for a food to come I felt decidedly dodgy and lightheaded – this will have been about 3 hours after finishing the run. As soon as I had some food (a trio of mini Yorkshire burgers at the new Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton if you must know) I felt better. Won’t leave it so long next time!
Well even running a 10km event doesn’t get me out of the Sunday Weigh In – I lost nearly 2 pounds which drops me nicely into the next stone and keeps me going in the right direction. Talking of right directions – thanks for all the donations to Panthera! Keep them coming in on our JustGiving Page