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.