Before Christmas, and before I had ever run a full 5k, I decided to book my first race to spur me on. I picked Cancer Researches Race for Life for 3 reasons. Firstly of course because it is an amazing cause, Second because it’s women only so I’d feel more comfortable and Third because it is non-competitive. I wanted something to aim for without feeling awful if I came last.
Fast forward to the day (Sunday 14th May) I had actually surpassed my previous expectations of how my running was going to progress. I run a 5k every Sunday at Parkrun and this is either used as a leisurely recovery run or a speed work run as part of my training plan. Although I had already raised a really good amount of money (thank you again everyone who sponsored me!) and the race isn’t competitive, we always have a drive to compete with ourselves! So, on the day I made my way to the admin tent and asked the very surprised woman if I could run the 10k race instead. And that’s what I did! Before then my longest run had been 9.5k, which included a 10 minute walking interval in the middle, so this was a challenge to see just how much progress I had made, and to make myself proud.
My Parents, Fiance and Mother in Law to be came to support me. It had been raining all of the day before and the morning of the race, but as we set off to Cleethorpes the skies cleared and the sun came out. My mum was worried I might die running so far (just wait until I do my marathon mum). I didn’t.
The course was hard, mostly trail with the first 5k being easier than the last, lots of those hills that look like a small slope but are actually mountains in disguise, but the atmosphere was great with super encouraging marshals with big blue foam hands to high five. I didn’t stop for a walk interval and at the finish line was very pleased with my time. 1h 08m 45s for my first every 10k is pretty decent in my book.
I really enjoyed this race, and it’s spurred me even more to carry on progressing. My anxiety didn’t even rear it’s head even though I was running alone. I even got a medal at the end which I wasn’t expecting with it being a charity event. As I said, the atmosphere was great, and the water station at the 6k mark was very welcomed.
The only criticisms I have about it are : while there were not many people around who were not racing during the first 5k (pedestrians, civilians?!, just people walking their dog and being caught in the middle of a pink stampede) the second half went through a country park with a dog swimming lake so there were a lot of wet dogs and children on bikes to dodge around. And I mean, a LOT. I’m nervous of dogs not on leads while I’m running as they have a tendency to either trip you up or start barking at you so that wasn’t too fun. And small children on bikes veering all over is also quite dangerous. I suppose this isn’t something I will come up against on more competitive races.
The second and last is not at all down to the race itself but the people taking part, and is something I see at Parkrun all the time too. People starting off near the front when they’re either slow or don’t intend on running at all. This race was slit into walk, jog & run sections. The running section was for people aiming for 25 minute 5K. I usually manage around the 30 minute mark so I placed myself at the back of the running group and front of the jogging group. I overtook most people in front of me. Some started walking after two minutes and I even heard someone exclaim ‘Oh, people are still running!’. Well, you ARE in the running section love. My biggest running bugbear is trying to get around people who are walking and taking up the entire path.
Overall, a great race. Sunday dinner afterwards was a great reward and I’m now looking forward to my upcoming races even more.