Sunday, 25 July 2010

Good value

Oh the neglect. Of the blog. Of the training!

All the good intentions in the world... enough said. In my defense, the end of this term was a particularly fraught one, with the end of the academic year and the end of my time at this school. The last week was a heady mix of cake, tears and snot. Although I was proud that I did cycle into work once.

Anyway, excuses excuses. Time for action again as the summer holidays stretch ahead and a perfect opportunity for some binge training. I haven't exactly stuck rigidly to the marathon plan (although I did get a cheeky 7 miler in the bag before the snot-fest ensued); however, The Plan dictated a 10K today. Knowing this in advance, I got organised and entered the Elmbridge 10K. If nothing else, having paid money upfront is a good way to get me out of bed and committed to a run (although not surefire as I've explained before).

It was good to smell the intoxicating scent of Deep Heat as I walked sheepishly into the race HQ to collect my number this morning. Ah I remember that. I was surrounded my a curious mixture of veteran club runners and tanned glamazons in full make-up and I wondered where I'd fit in. Had it really been that long since my last race? I queued up to collect my number and overheard a three-way conversation between some gnarly looking vets in vests each claiming they were out for a "easy" run today. Somehow I suspected that this was a slight fabrication of the truth. They seemed to reassure each other though.

The man on the PA system was offering £100 to the first person to break the course record today. With the women's record standing at a skimpy 33 minutes, I felt fairly certain that that needn't concern me and set myself the target of arriving back within double that time. I was strangely calm on the start line, I'd decided to leave the GPS and iPod at home (actually that sounds more deliberate than it was really) and I wondered how necessary the technology really was. Ever the conformist though, I started my stopwatch as the gun went, just to look the part.

It was then I remembered how I used to hate 10Ks - it's short enough that fit people can really go for it and this unnerves the less well-conditioned at the back of pack, causing mayhem at the start. It took mere minutes to spit me out of the main field, where I found myself shuffling along with the laughing boys. I wasn't there to worry about things like that though. This was strictly a training run, so knuckled down into a steady pace.

It took about 4km for me to remember two things: 1) there is always someone less prepared than you; and 2) the aforementioned mayhem will take its toll on these people eventually. I was thrilled as I started to pass people, giving me renewed energy each time this happened. I started to hold my head higher and enjoy my run. OK, I was only passing octogenarians and rugby players with hangovers, but it was a start. With 2km to go, the demographic suddenly began to change and slowly but surely I was catching SKINNY PEOPLE! I sucked in my tummy, lengthened my stride and tried to stifle the heavy breathing. How impressed I am sure these people were! Ahem.

I finished in a rather pedestrian 1 hour 04 minutes - a full 17 minutes slower than my PB (in fact, quite possibly a PW) but a time that, I'm sure you'll agree, represents excellent value for money on my £12 entry fee.

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