Regular readers of this blog (both of you) will notice that I have been fartarsing around with my running ever since the marathon with statements such as “Look I chose a parkrun with really big hills so I am perfectly justified in walking half of it” “It’s a bit hot, I think I’ll Jeff it, I don’t want to faint or anything” “Yes I might be coming last at this parkrun but I could do it eight times in a row if I wanted to”. However the marathon was now a full four months ago and no one is interested any more. They are all training for their next big event, or getting PB after PB, whereas I am running a maximum of three times a week and no further than 5km at a time.
So it is time to stop pussyfooting around and get back on the running horse. I resumed speed training with ViewTube last week (“no I don’t want to join in with Couch to 5k, I want to run with the grown-ups”) and yesterday I did my first running 10km in god knows how long.
My favourite Chase The Sun event at the Olympic Park seemed like a good place to start. You may recall that in January I got my fastest ever non-track 10km time of 1:12:55 on this very course. The slight undulations (really – I don’t mean that as a euphemism for “massive hills”) and smooth tarmac seem to suit me. Of course in January everything was going a lot better as I was yet to gain four kilos in Yellow Bellies and my legs were not yet on the verge of a mental breakdown from overuse. And it was cold. I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere near that time, but I hoped I would at least be able to get round without walking.
I set off at a slightly slower pace than normal, knowing that I had a long way to go. The first 5km flew by without event, and I set off for my third lap.
In retrospect I should probably have tried running an intermediate distance in training before making the leap from 5km to 10km. But I didn’t. My legs started to realise that they had been hoodwinked into doing a 10k and my right calf stiffened in protest. By the end of lap three I was feeling very different from the end of lap two and was wondering if it would be acceptable to hand my timing chip to a marshal and finish at 7.5km. I mean, if you get a medal for 5km you must be allowed to get one for 7.5, right? I will never know because in the end pride dictated I finished the final lap, even though all the similarly paced runners seemed to either have gone on holiday or finished at 5km. I had a pretty good idea that I was going to be last because there wasn’t a single runner in sight, but thank god for the friendly and enthusiastic RunThrough marshals who patiently cheered me on and waved tambourines even though it was starting to get dark and they all probably wanted to go home to watch Coronation Street. I would feel really awkward and embarrassed to be last in any other race, or even at a parkrun, but it didn’t seem to matter so much at a RunThrough race because they are all so friendly and supportive.
Finally I crossed the line at a horrendous 1:23:24 and muttered my excuses and apologies to the RunThrough people like they were my PE teachers. I was not at all pleased with my time, but I was pleased with the fact that I had run the whole way (even though it wasn’t a lot faster than my best walking pace) and that I hadn’t wimped out despite the complete lack of similarly paced 10k runners. Though I hope they are all back from their holidays next week and also that I am not quite as slow because although I realise this is what you get when you fartarse around running like a snail for months it is still a bit soul destroying not even to be able to come within ten minutes of your seven month old PB.