So there I was, all signed up to Great South Run and working my way through the C25K programme. By this time it’s summer, it’s hot and the distances I’m running are getting longer.
Then a friend mentioned Strava. Oh heck, now there were segments to run and PBs to get and my natural competitiveness reared its head. I was now beginning to tell family, friends and colleagues about my running and the plan for the Great South Run. After much eyebrow raising, some words of encouragement and the usual “isn’t it bad for your knees” comments, sponsorship money began to come in and it was now getting very real. I was actually going to have to do it wasn’t I? There was no backing out now! I was now at the point of having to juggle work, socialising and running. At work I would look longingly out of the window planning that evening’s run route and wondering how fast I could get certain segments run in. My Fitbit got upgraded thanks to my Daughter-in-Law, and a complete drawer in my wardrobe was now dedicated to running clothes. My old trainers were long since retired and I began to take it a whole lot more seriously.
Then on 17th September 2019, three days before my 47th birthday, I did it. I got a Queen of the Mountain crown on a segment on my local favourite route. Ok so it was only a 23 minute sprint up a local 7.8% hill but it was my crown all the same. I was now putting in some good runs and was regularly running 10k but there was still quite a jump needed to the 10 miles I would need to get round on GSR. In late September I had a week off whilst I went off on holiday to Zante, I took my running gear with me with all great intentions, but I was with a non-runner and the pool/bar/sunshine was where I stayed. I also managed to catch a cold whilst I was there so when I returned I had to get back on it, complete with germs and having not run for a week. I went out for a terrible 14k run but couldn’t do any more.
Colleagues who had run races previously kept telling me I’d be fine and that the crowd will “carry me” the extra distance. Again, I was full of self-doubt and didn’t understand how on earth the crowd would carry me unless one of them was going to give me a piggy-back! By this time my son had come clean and said he wasn’t going to do the GSR with me but that I could stay at his the night before the race and he’d cook me a nice roast afterwards. This seemed a decent deal I figured as there was no way we were going to run at the same pace anyway!
So here we were, October 20th 2019 and race day. Oh goodness the nerves, what was I doing here? I’m not a runner! All these runners round me who clearly knew what they were doing and then there was me. I felt so out of my depth. Remember, I’m not sporty! Yet here I was lined up with the other 20k+ runners warming up and ready for the off. How many times did I need one last wee? This was ridiculous, then oh heck, there was the horn to mark the start and the crowd of runners pushed forward. I started my Fitbit and tried to ignore the feeling of my bursting bladder. Before I knew it I was a mile in, and then two, and then three… I reached the 5k flag and then the 10k flag. How was I still running? It was like I was having an out of body experience! I did struggle around the 12k mark, having to walk a bit whilst munching on a couple of jelly babies. Then I passed some firemen who were collecting money as they ran round in full fire-fighting kit. One of them turned to me and said “come on; you’ve got this”. I began running again and refused to stop. I even managed a sprint finish! I came across the line in 1:48:20. I was over the moon. The runners high lasted about two weeks and I immediately signed up to GSR 2020. That though, was just the start. The journey goes on and 2020 will include a half-marathon. So is this my mid-life crisis? Well if it is, I’m enjoying every moment of it!
Well done Jenny and thanks for contributing. We look forward to the next update.
Sam & Vicky xx
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