This year, I seem to have set myself the phenomenal task of running either a half marathon or 10k race each month. Now for some runners, this is entirely normal and it’s what they do. I am not one of those runners.
I decided to take on this challenge for my own mental wellbeing, I like a challenge and after not completing my 1000 miles last year (I got up to 538) I wanted something that might make it a bit of a closer target. Luckily my other half is quite understanding that his girlfriend is a bit mad and he’ll be doing parenting duties on a weekend more often than not. I will tell you about my races but firstly, lets cast our minds back to November 2018. It was cold, mostly rainy and a bit dark. One Sunday morning though, I found myself willingly out in the cold to run my last race of the year.
My last race of 2018 was the Wilmslow 10K. I got offered a lift by some lovely running club friends and so met them one very cold but bright and sunny Sunday morning. I was a bit nervous, more so because out of the 3 ladies I was going with; I’d only ever really talked to one! That Sunday though, was one of the loveliest days I’ve ever had and those three made it extra special and for that, I will be forever thankful. I also made friends for life there and that is surely what running with running club friends is about right?
So anyway, we get picked up and drive over to Wilmslow, it was a nightmare to get parked but we eventually managed it and headed over to the start. Now, organisers of Wilmslow races, if you could have the start and the end in the same place – that would make my life that much easier. Thank you. We get to the start after a last-minute dash to the toilet and we’re ready for the off. The three I was with are faster than me, so we wished each other luck and I said I’d see them at the end. As it was my last race of the year, and I hadn’t done much at all since the half; I wasn’t really bothered about times or a PB, I just wanted to finish. I started off well, staying well ahead of the 60 minute pacer for about 6K. The route started off in the village centre and then we meandered our way out into the country. I found this part really bloody tough. It’s hard to run with thousands of people who are in little groups or have headphones in and you are on your own. I’m so used to running with others now, I find it difficult to run by myself which is why my lunch work runs are not going great as I find I difficult to motivate myself to actually doing it.
The country bits were hard, there was hardly any support which I don’t do well with and then all of a sudden, the 60 minute group caught me up. I hadn’t noticed i’d slowed down so I quickened my pace and stayed ahead. It was a bit like cat and mouse for about 1.5kms when we came to the hill. Now I run with Ramsbottom Running Club (Shout out) who I love, and well, I’m used to hills. This one, however, floored me. It was near the end and I just couldn’t get up the bloody thing. I walked, which really annoyed me and a lovely farmer who was shouting encouragement actually helped me a little by telling me I was nearly at the top (I really wasn’t) and that I could walk when I’d finished. He made me chuckle and so I started a slow jog just to get up there. The 60 minute guys had gone past me, but I could see them ahead. I put on a little burst of speed and pretty much sprinted a good couple of hundred metres to catch up to the back of the group.
Only 1km to go. I was on my arse, I couldn’t breathe properly, I wasn’t going to make under 60 minutes and to my disappointment and relief, I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted to get under an hour. Its’ quite funny as on my Strava recording, you can see where I decided that I wasn’t giving up as the splits seem to speed up again. I moved to the top of the 60 minute group, people were starting to pull away, getting ready for the sprint home. The lovely pacer, I love pacers by the way, they’re ace and the last 3 races I’ve done have had absolutely fantastic ones who are very good at motivating people, anyway this pacer said that he’d seen me running and was glad I’d caught them up but now I needed to sprint as fast as I could as there was only 400m and I was under 60 minutes. Well that got me going. I hadn’t looked at my watch for 5 minutes as I was sure it would tell me I wasn’t going to make it, so again I put everything into the last 200m. I ran as fast as I could (which by then wasn’t very fast at all) and I crossed the line – honestly my friends burst out laughing when they saw the photos, I look awful!
The best thing about this race, other than the medal is how quickly my result came through to my phone. I had literally crossed the line and was waiting for my goody bag when I got the text. It was a PB! 58:49. I was ecstatic, without realising it; I’d been on pace pretty much the whole time!
The worst thing about this race is absolute agony of walking back to the start to find friends, family and the car. I would have got the bus that they put on but no-one really seemed to know what was going on and I didn’t know if the others would be at the finish or have gone back to the leisure centre. So I set off, saw people who I’d had brief conversations with, some guys in fancy dress who were lovely and just kept going. It was the longest mile of my entire life. I eventually made it to the leisure centre and found the others to find out that they all got PB’s too! It was absolutely amazing that we all did it with a best time.
On the way home, we did what always happens after a race. we digested it, said about our personal highs and lows and generally had a laugh. I had dropped my car off at my sister’s so they dropped me there and I couldn’t walk! I was in agony, my knee had seized up in the car and it was just not working. I managed to hobble down the road to the car and get home but man, my knee was sore!
So that was it, my last race of 2018, with a PB, some laughs and some friends made in the process. I’ve made some fantastic friends as part of the running club, and I can’t imagine not being a part of the club now. They are a fantastic group of people, who are all so friendly and inclusive, it’s hard not to like them really.
This weekend is the club champ of Cuerden Valley Parkrun and then the Tatton 10K, which I thought was actually on the 27th so glad I found out the correct date in time! Enjoy the weekend and look out for my write-ups on both races!