A walk in the park (brisk run actually) …….2014 has officially started

...and we’re off , that is officially, with my first event of 2014. The Rushcliffe 10km, a two lap dash round a very local country park. It’s an event close to my heart, the first I was ever brave enough to run after this LCA needed something new in her life aged 40. Thanks to the inspiration of work colleague, Nicola, another LCA who waxed so lyrical about running and was so physically transformed by it, she should have requested commission from ‘Sweatshop’ for the trainers we all rushed out to buy! (She’s now an Ironman)

Still, it took me a year of solo running to be brave enough to enter a ‘race’ and I can still recall the feeling of excitement  and feeling sick as I approached the event, family in tow, to see so many runners, tents, PA systems, portaloos (and queues!!). My relief to see so many faces that I knew and the reassurance that not everyone looked like an Olympic athlete and there were without doubt many people much older and larger than me and looking more terrified. That year, Ellie did it too, we stuck together and we finished together and I can’t recall such a feeling of elation and achievement, we’d run 10km, 6.2 miles, at our age and we hadn’t walked for one moment. It took us a respectable 1.02 but we didn’t care, we did it, what more could we want! We were thrilled by crowd support and our kids yelling us on from their well secured vantage point at the top of the climbing frame in the play area. It actually felt good to know that no matter how sedate we were, we were doing something most of the crowd wouldn’t even contemplate. Did it rain? The euphoria was so great, I don’t remember, that was ‘runners high’ and I definitely wanted another.I was even proud of the unattractive race T-shirt, no year on it, foul colour and non technical ! Here we are back then…

I’ve run it every year since, it’s become a tradition, a goal to get me started straight after Christmas. I don’t run many events in a year, they could take over, but this is the run on my home patch. The last two years by myself, Ellie just hasn’t been available, I’m OK as a solo runner but this year she was free and although bemoaning ‘out of shape’ our training runs suggested otherwise.Disaster looked likely, Ellie was in bed with a migraine all the day before and ate nothing ! I promised we’d run together and I tried to think of just the run and not the time, told myself there’d be more 10kms to run for time and this was about keeping my promise. The weather was cold but not wet, we deployed our well worn race day tactics …..don’t use the race car parks, park round the back of the park and walk in, meaning a quick exit! The start was mayhem as usual, it’s not big enough for timed pens and there are no pacers, but I took the  liberty of keeping nearer the front of the pack, I’m brave enough for that now. It helps to go with the pace of the quicker runners to get round the first narrow bend and not get stuck in crowd at the same point. We set off enthusiastically and kept it that way, through the 5km mark at 27 minutes and we agreed no stop for water, why spoil our rhythm, we don’t drink on a 10km training run unless its hot and gulping out a plastic cup just spoils your breathing. Ellie was fine, I checked and encouraged and I upped the pace a little bit, we were at threshold, thanks Women’s Running magazine for the race tips. We focussed and I tried not to let my two worst distractions put me off:

1. The heavy breather – you can hear them in your vicinity, they sound so laboured you wonder whether to ask them if they need an ambulance! They put you off your own breathing rhythm !
2. The pace changer – they storm past you and 2 minutes later they’ve slowed down and you pass them, then they storm past you again…..keep your pace people !

The last 1km Ellie suddenly felt sick, I encouraged and reminded her we were on for a good time, we were nearly there, we’d pushed this far and we were about to hit the crowds, not with vomit!……throwing up at the crowd (eewww……said like an american teenager!) The final bend, the sprint to the line 53.39…..a PB for me in this race and a PB for Ellie at 10km…….by about 7 mins !! Runners high all over again……and a medal, no more horrible T shirts (I’ve got 4) plus in the goodie bag a pack of two travel toothbrush covers, who knows why ??? 

Felt like the LCAs ruled the world…..placed 297 out of 708 runners! 

Better still, due no doubt to the runners high, just a mere 1 hour 20 minutes later I was in a local restaurant ordering my 3 course Sunday lunch for my father-in-laws 88th birthday meal, having ran back to the car, dropped Ellie home, showered, glammed up and showing my medal off …like a walk in the park, well actually a brisk run! Roll on 2015, just how many years can I keep this going ? 

Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA)

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