Well I say my year, but it only started in May so it’s kinda just over a half-year. I’m not going to go over how I got into running because I’ve already done that, but I’ve seen some great recaps over the blogosphere so I thought I’d give it a crack myself!
Races I’ve taken part in this year:
- Race For Life 5k – Campbell Park, MK
- The Big Fun Run 5k – Willen Lake, MK
- Women’s Running 10k – Finsbury Park, London
- Mo-Run 10k – Campbell Park, MK
I wouldn’t have even considered entering any races had it not been for Gary. I was just starting to run and finding that 1 mile was knackering, but I remember he’d seen an advert for the Race for Life and unknown to me had been researching how long you’d need to train for it with relation to when our local race was. He told me to sign up. I had to think about it because it seemed way too soon but after mentioning it to a friend and hearing she’d done it before and would happily train and run it with me I was all set!
Running 3.1 miles is a daunting thought and training through some of the hottest days of the year was no picnic. But alongside Tash I found my running mojo and as much as I hated it sometimes I could see the progress I was making. And always at the back of my mind was the thought of owning my very own shiny running medal. That was motivation enough. It wasn’t until about a month before the race that I found out my sister was volunteering at the event – she’d signed up totally separately, not knowing I was running, and just so happened we’d be there together. The feeling of support from friends and family kept me strong, and I seemed to be motivating people I worked with at the time to consider running too.
I loved the suspenseful feeling and anticipation of waiting to race. When you finally do set off there’s so much going on around you that you don’t really notice you’re running for about a mile, which is good with me! This particular race ended with the king of all hills. I’m still proud to say I ran the whole thing whilst dodging walkers all around me – I was the only person around me who ran it. Next year I plan to do the same, but better! My family was at the sides cheering me on and at the end Tash and I had a big hug wearing our medals. We did it!
The Big Fun Run was about a month later, and took place in the area that I, and now Gary, had been training in. I liked the idea that the route was familiar. I roped Tash in again and the three of us had trained and were ready for a new 5k. Being a fun run there were many fancy dressed people and I got a little annoyed at consistently being overtaken by Bananaman and Spiderman…… ah well. Again I loved the buzz of this race and got caught up with the runners at the front – I ran off too fast pulling a face much like Animal. I didn’t care. The sense of achievement and being able to run a race with Gary too was immense. Two races down, two shiny medals.
I knew by this point I wanted to move up to a 10k but I didn’t know which one. I’d seen a Crohn’s one, but was put off a little by the lack of medal at the end. I’m sorry but if there’s no medal there’s no point. I’d searched through loads of race lists to find the ideal one and nothing was jumping out at me. Then one morning a twitter friend and fellow runner retweeted about a Women’s Running Series 10k taking place in London’s Finsbury Park. It was far enough away to train for, had a medal and goody bag at the end AND cake! Well I was sold!
The idea of travelling to London to take part in a race was a little odd – train there and thankfully Gary’s parents came to watch and drove us back home afterwards. I must say it was exciting getting off the tube and seeing so many women of different ages, shapes, sizes and fitness. Having been told it was a flat course I was a tad surprised to see so many hills – I’d say the route was all hills and one big slope back down. Two laps of the same route and the 10k was complete. I still can’t believe I achieved it and sub 70 mins, which was my aim.
I had assumed my racing was complete for the year and Gary and I continued to train but it’s hard without a focus, I find. I had been suffering with runner’s knee which was being supported by a patella strap – those things are magic. I also started to suffer with ITB pain, which I’m still struggling to understand and deal with. But the next opportunity appeared and I grabbed it with both hands – and dragged my work colleagues with me!
The Mo-Run for Movember just happened to be right outside our doors and so it seemed rude not to support it. With races of 5k or 10k we signed up for the longer option and I roped Gary in too – He really wanted to run a 10k before the year-end and this seemed perfect. The race was less than perfect for me, however, due to injury, pain and severe lack of preparation – but we did it! With masses of support from my team-mates I made it and in a shorter time than my first 10k! Whoop!
The buzz of the race has definitely got to me. So much so that I already have a pretty hefty race list for next year, some already signed up for! So here’s my race list for 2014 – I’m sure it’ll be added to….
- MK 10k – 9th March, Milton Keynes
- Electric Run 5k – 26th April, Wembley Park
- MK Half Marathon – 5th May, Milton Keynes
- Race for Life 10k – 8th June, Milton Keynes
- Women’s Running 10k Series – TBC, Milton Keynes
I’m so pleased that Women’s Running have added Milton Keynes to their 10k series locations. I’m really lucky to live somewhere that’s quickly becoming a go-to location for races, but I also like the idea of going away to run in a new location too. Gary and I also intend to apply for the 2015 London Marathon once they open registrations.
I still get asked why I run. I really want to turn back to those people and ask ‘why *don’t* you run?’ but instead I usually say it’s for the medal – which it honestly is because who can resist a reward for that hard work? But it really boils down to this: I run because it’s difficult. There’s no point in doing something if it’s easy – where’s the reward? I want to push myself and when it starts to get easy I want to make it hard again and run further, or faster.
I’m excited to see what I can do in the next year, frustrated that I’m contending with injury, but motivated to overcome it. Along with the strength training I’m doing at the gym, I can see by the end of next year I will be stronger, fitter and hopefully much more tanned – running outside in the summer is amazing for the skin!
Here’s to the next year and whatever shiny discs come with it!