Although I haven’t been blogging for a while (OK, OK, 4 months), I have actually been running. As I wasn’t really following any sort of training plan and I was pretty busy doing other things, I didn’t really feel like blogging about my runs.
When the weather got a bit warmer, I finally got out of the gym
and onto the roads. After a chat with one of my sportier neighbours, I switched to running along the embankment on the River Trent. It’s so much more interesting as there’s always canoeists, cyclists and other runners about. I could also add distance more easily by going one bridge further, which was important as I was getting ready for my first 10k, which I did on Sunday.
I hadn’t done the Race for Life since it was only a 5k in 2005, but my mum and sister do it every year and I thought it was high time I got back in the game. The RFL supports Cancer Research UK, which made it particularly important for me as in the past year alone Rob lost his Nan to cancer and my mum has been diagnosed with and subsequently got the all-clear from skin cancer. At the time of writing, we have raised an amazing £406, with collections still ongoing here.
I started off my race day with a cup of tea and a banana slathered with peanut butter before we all (me, Mum, Dad, youngest sister Anna and Rob) packed in the car and headed on down to meet my other sister, Jen and her fiancé Chris. I left my second banana with Rob and me, Mum and Jen headed to the start.
Mum and Jen were going to run the whole way, but I wasn’t at that stage so my aim was just to keep going with them as far as I could before reverting to my run-walk strategy. I was really surprised that I managed to keep running until around the 2km point and then keep them in my sights, occasionally catching up with them, until around 6km.
By that point I was starting to die a bit and my walk breaks were becoming more frequent, but I didn’t stop or slow down to slower than a brisk walk. There was a point between 8 and 9km where the route doubled back on itself along the seafront so I was able to give flying high fives to Mum and Jen as we passed each other. They both complained that their hands were still hurting later.
Just after 9km, I needed a real boost to get me round and luckily the exact song I wanted started playing on my phone:
That got me round most of the rest of the way, through the horrible bubble machines and towards the finishing straight. As did thinking of my blogging friends and the encouragement I had drawn from their posts over recent months. I saw some kids with their hands stuck out and high fived them as I went past (not as hard as earlier) which got me a massive cheer from them to get over the line. Jen and Mum were waiting for me there, having only finished about a minute before. My final time? 1:11:52. I was really pleased as my target was 1:15 and my “would-be-great” time was 1:10.
We then gathered up our race bling, chocolate chip brioche, apples, water and lemonade before meeting up with the others and taking some photos. I’m the one in the middle.
During our little sit on Castle Field, I ate/drank all of that stuff and my banana. I didn’t actually stop eating until mid-afternoon, devouring a massive cheese twist pastry, Pringles, a crumpet with Marmite and then a massive buffet-style lunch. Awesome. Not so awesome was having to drive the 3 hours back to Nottingham, but luckily Rob offered to do the honours and we stopped by his parents in Birmingham for a couple of hours on the way.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend the Portsmouth RFL. The route itself was nice and flat, except for a slight hill round the back of Southsea Castle. The grassy sections did throw me more than I though they would, though. It was a double loop of the 5k course so on the second lap you could judge how far was left. I’ll more than likely do it again next year, and might even throw in the Nottingham one as well.