After having never run in my life before, I started trying to run once a week at the gym at the beginning of last year. Not long after, I saw an advert on Facebook for the Pure Beginners class with Sandhurst Joggers. I really wanted to join but was scared to as I was still very unfit and was nervous to join on my own but luckily I put my big girl pants on and signed up and how glad am I that I did! Joining SJ’s was the best thing I ever did for my running, I’m almost certain that had I not joined up my running would have fizzled out and I would have eventually stopped not long after!
I have the pleasure of running with great people at every Tuesday night club run led by the lovely Monica (usually running up not so lovely hills!) and have made some fabulous friends of which we meet up regularly to run whenever we can fit one in. Last year after the confidence Pure Beginners, the lovely Lisa Harrold, Caroline Cutliffe and all the wonderful sweepers gave me, I signed up to a few 5km races mostly with my lovely bunch of fellow runners. This year I decided to tackle the 10km’s!
So far I have done the Bournemouth Bay 10k, Frimley 10k and most recently the Royal Berkshire Green Park 10k in Reading. I have another one booked for pretty much every month for the rest of this year and I will be participating in my first Yateley 10k’s this year… eeeek!
So, to the Reading 10km……… I was a bit apprehensive about this one as I had struggled at Bournemouth (due to a raging hangover – note to self do not get wasted on vodka before a 10km, especially on a hot and sunny day!!!!) but thanks to Katie Woolger encouraging me round I made it. I also hadn’t been able to run for a good couple of weeks beforehand due to injury. I made sure I rested and my foot was feeling good so myself and Angela Foker, who had also not run for a couple of weeks due to illness, went along and thought to ourselves we would just run and hope that we would get through it ok!
We lined up at the start line and after a bit of a wait, off we went and my Garmin was started! Myself and Angela started off together but lost each around 1 mile in; Angela is a lot faster than me and I knew I had to make sure I didn’t start out too quickly otherwise I would have nothing left for the end of the race!
It started off well- there were good crowds and it was great to run past the bands and singers that were there on the side lines to keep you going. About a mile/mile and a half in I think I came to the first hill…. Ok I thought, one hill is to be expected on a 10km even if they do advertise it as a flat course. As my fitness wasn’t up to scratch I walked up the hill and had a lovely run down the other side. I have to say I don’t remember all the details about the course as I was just trying to focus on getting myself around it but I certainly won’t forget the three other hills that appeared over the next few miles!!!
At around 5km the 65min pacer passed me and I knew at that point that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him so made sure I just ran my own race. I struggled big time in the 4th mile, my breathing was fine but my head kept trying to tell me to give up and walk and my legs felt like they had no strength left in them, but I kept running for as long as I could but just made sure I slowed right down (apart from still walking up the hills!!)
After what seemed like forever I could hear the loud speaker and the music and knew I was about 1km from the end… just keep running, just keep running!!! On the home stretch there were lots of kids to give high fives too and it was good to run past the bands on the way back knowing there wasn’t long to go. As soon as I saw the finish line I gave it my best for a sprint finish!!
My Garmin measured the course as slightly further than the 6.2miles and my chip time came in as 1hr 10mins 6secs but after my watch synced to Strava it came up as a 10k PB at 1hr 9mins 35secs so I’m going with that!
It wasn’t the completely flat course that I had thought it was going to be and it was a hot day but I’m pleased that I made it round and my foot held out. The medal was lovely and we were given lots of cereal bars and bottles of Weetabix on the Go (which were actually quite nice!) and I look forward to going back again next year to get another medal and hopefully smash my time.