Yes! Now I remember why I used to race all the time…..this feeling…..you can’t bloody beat it! Whooosh! Look at how far my little hobbit legs are carrying me……this feels brilliant. Okay so this feels a little less brilliant now and more hurty. I think I’m slowing down a bit? I’m definitely slowing down a bit. Yeah it’s definitely hurty now. Oh God is it possible for your lungs to collapse through overuse? Maybe……I don’t know……..I feel like I’ve only got one lung now……….are my eyeballs still in their sockets? Because they don’t feel like they are…….oooooh the finish line, the finish line!!!
Welcome to my brain during my first race in goodness knows how long! I genuinely can’t remember what my last race was (not counting the honeymoon ‘marathon’ *coughs*). I’ve been wanting to get back racing for a long time but I’ve just kept putting it off –
I’m not fast enough yet…..
I’m not as good as I used to be……
I’m not ready yet…….
It’s annoying just reading those pathetic excuses, let alone having to listen to them. Yes, it is difficult to return to something when you know you’ve gone backwards. When you know you’re going to be much slower than last time. When you know it’s going to be difficult. But you just need to get back on that horse, even if the horse is a little bit less steady on its feet (hoofs?!)
A couple of weekends ago I took part in the podium 5k. I’ve done this race many times before. It’s flat and it’s fast and there’s always plenty of mega speedy runners to help pull you along.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t brilliant but when is it ever in East Lancashire? Far from PB shape, I made the conscious decision to set off right at the back of the pack and if I could work my way through any runners then that would be a bonus (especially given the ability of the field). I finished 28th out of 38 runners in 20:07. Whilst still just under a minute slower than my best, I was very satisfied indeed with that result, considering the complete and total lack of speedwork this year and it’s a great starting point to build upon.
Eager to maintain a consistent presence on the race scene, just a week later I found myself donning my stripes again but this time in sunny Blackpool for the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships.
I was on the fourth leg and what followed can only be described as ‘destruction derby’! As you can imagine on a beautiful day, Stanley Park was brimming with visitors out to enjoy the sunshine. This certainly made for an interesting race and to be honest I found it more mentally draining than anything. The constant twist and turns in the route were made much more complicated by constantly having to navigate around prams, dogs off leads, ice cream van queues, boating lakes, toddlers seemingly without parents and kids on scooters. Oh and I swear the driver of the Thomas the Tank Engine passenger train had it in for me, seemingly gunning straight at me, leaving me the option of jump in the lake or career into the ice cream queue. I opted to stay dry, on this occasion.
Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed my two laps around the park and was thrilled to run just shy of 6 miles in under 39 and a half minutes. Obstacle races are obviously much more my bag!
It was great to feel part of the team again and we did ourselves proud with a top 25 finish. It certainly gave me back the buzz of race day and ignited my running mojo once more. So much so, the next event is already in the diary. I’ve well and truly got back on the horse. It might be more shetland pony than Red Rum but I’ve taken the hardest step in getting back in the stirrups. Bring on the speedwork!