My first foray into running as an, ahem, “older” lady was five years ago when I trained from semi-couch potato to half marathon in a few months. I did it alone with a BUPA training plan and running wasn’t yet a part of my life. It was a work team thing and I got round then, mostly because I couldn’t take the embarrassment of being the most senior person in the group and not making it. For the record, Blanche Barnes was at that point in time a work colleague and a committed non-runner(!) I can’t say I enjoyed that event although I did scare a small child by crying when they handed me a medal and the finish photo shows a corpse like grin.
Before that I had done only one half marathon, when I was 27. Spookily it was the Portsmouth half as I was living in Gosport at the time. Even though I was a fit, thin young thing I was overtaken by a 73 year old, Sooty and Sweep and some firemen with their full kit and ladder so I can’t boast any kind of glorious track record.
The brilliant thing this time was that 10 miles didn’t seem like too much of a challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of the mental self talk that helped was counting down the miles rather than up and reminding myself that with a few drinks inside me I’m happy to dance for two hours straight, so running for two hours wasn’t much different. I have to thank the Lovely Lisa Harrold for her training runs over the summer that meant I’d got a good few miles in despite a very patchy couple of months when I started a new job in London. I also have to thank Blanche “lightning legs” Barnes for the lift (to the event rather than during, which would have course been cheating) which meant my husband Jonathan and I didn’t have to learn the ropes alone.
It was so much fun to see the other SJs and I can honestly say that I really loved the atmosphere, the crowds, the music and the scenery. We were blessed with great weather too which is always a bonus. I didn’t wear my SJ T-shirt for fear of exposing the club to ridicule if I found it hard going but I’ll be wearing it next year, and may even dare to enter a half again.