Well, here we are again. Another race, another report. This time I was very very nervous - not for the distance (I know I can do that) but for the time. I put myself under such pressure to improve my time, to the point that I was having nightmares earlier in the week about not doing well enough.
However, race day dawned, I managed to eat and keep in my ready brek - and as David says after suncream, wee, back to car for forgotten lipbalm for Kirsty, wee, warm-up, we were off! Unfortunately, I really should have had another wee and also my right shoelace was too tight, but there you go. Danny’s advice to me was to try to run an even paced first 5km and then do the same again to get sub-60 minutes. I did just that for the first 5km, my halfway time was 30:10, by 6kms it was 36:30, so I knew I was slowing down. I decided to have a slow couple of kms, before trying to pick it up again at 8km.
Just before 4kms (I think) the lapping started! The first face I saw (or should I say back!) was Graham from Stragglers in 6th place, then Danny, then PG (who’s BBQ we went to later in the day). There was a little gap until Clare and David, I was coming just past 6kms I think when David went past - I was frantically trying to work out whether he would hit the sub-40 or not. I decided that he would do and started to concentrate on running again.
I started on the third lap and was really feeling it. Somewhere in the background I could hear, “Go on Sharon”, I can only assume it was David, Danny, Graham and PG who had all finished at the point I went past the finish on the last lap. I had two whole sips of water before throwing it all over the man behind me (sorry!)! I chugged along, keeping a lady from Epsom Allsorts firmly in my sights. She was my target and I was determined not to lose her (in fact I ended up going past her and staying there). I hit the 8k mark and decided to really dig in, to try to get under 63 minutes, which I thought I should have been able to do. Next thing I knew (daydreaming? Moi?) I was at the 9k mark and towards me I could see the usual suspects of Graham, Danny, PG and David coming towards me on their cool down. Lots of “Go on Shazza” “Keep relaxed, focus on your breathing” “Keep it going”…all very encouraging. They then zoomed off across the park to the next point for what I am assuming was more of the same encouragement, although at this point I knew people we shouting things but I can’t tell you what they were. I saw Heather, then Kirsty, then the men again and all of a sudden the finish was in sight. I didn’t have it in me to really sprint for the line but I think I dug a little bit deeper.
I finished in 61:14 - a PB by 5 minutes and 46 seconds!! Extremely pleased with that - I collected my memento (a lovely laser cut glass paperweight with the image of two runners inside it), my milkshake (I seem to have discovered something I can drink/eat after a run!) and went to cool down by jogging back to the car for the cakes I had made the night before! We had a piece of cake/muffin whilst watching the prize giving. Our second claim club The Stragglers won the men’s team prize (24 cans of Fosters) and the women’s team prize (6 bottles of wine) and we had 2nd, 6th and 9th man and 1st and 3rd lady! Wow! How impressive is that? Our first claim club Ranelagh Harriers didn’t have many runners out, I think perhaps they are saving themselves for the Ranelagh Richmond Half Marathon on Sunday? There were only two Ranelagh women present yesterday, so I gained 5 points for the Women’s Ranelagh Road League, bringing my total to 6 points after three events, meaning I am joint first! Cripes! Naturally, I made David print it out as I think it is the only time in my life that I will be in equal first in a Ranelagh league :)
I have to say it was a great day but the thing I am most proud about for the whole day was David’s amazing sub-40 PB. He has worked so hard to achieve it and I know that the non-runners amongst you who read this won’t perhaps understand the significance of it, but it’s amazing. He has come such a long way in a relatively short time (in running terms) and I cannot wait to see where he is in terms of running times in another year. I can’t wait to see where I am either ;) Onwards and upwards eh?