My 10k experience in aid of Dandelion Time and Kent Association for the Blind
Ten weeks ago I took on a challenge to do something I thought I would never do…
I put on a pair of running shoes to… go for a run!
I headed off to do my 5 minute warm-up walk (as per training schedule) and then dared
myself to actually run. Well… I ran 50 yards down the road and stopped so puffed out
that I was in shock with myself. Yet my schedule dictated that I had to run for 3 minutes
at an easy level! How ridiculous that I couldn’t even do that. But – I had to do that - and
4 times over with a 2 minute rest in-between. Somehow I did it, and within a week, I’d
run a ‘long’ run of 8 minutes – all in one go! What an achievement that was for me!
Two weeks into my training and slowly and purposefully, I put on my running shoes and
peered outside the door. Thoughts were going through my head, trying to convince myself
to take the first step to do what I reassured myself I could do. After all, I’d been doing it
for 2 weeks, but still, every time, I had to force myself to go ahead with it – and carry on,
even with all the niggles of aches and pains!
My next big achievement was 4 weeks into the training and managing a 20 minute run.
I started to feel really satisfied with myself especially as no longer was I so puffed out,
I was also losing a bit of weight (yay!) and I really started to believe that I could complete
the task - but it was still a long way off and I had a lot to do.
I was about 6 weeks in when Trevor asked me how far I’d run, but I didn’t have a clue! I only knew how long each run took. I suddenly felt worried! How do I know if I’m going to manage a 10k when I don’t know how far I’d been running?! I bluffed to Trevor that it would be fine and I reassured myself that the training schedule would prepare me for that so I carried on, still not knowing…
Week 7, another day, another run, this time it’s for 50 minutes. I opened the door on an early, quiet Sunday morning and it was absolutely pouring with rain. I shut the door, but I was still inside! No, no, no. I had to go out, telling myself I couldn’t let the rain stop me, after all, it might rain on the big day. So with some renewed vigor, off I went. I got soaked in a moment, but this run was my best ever and unbelievably, it was almost joyous that I could run so enthusiastically in the rain, that I could keep up a speed just like I normally did and the strange thing was, it was a pleasure to feel the rain and experience the brilliance of nature. (It doesn’t feel quite like that whilst playing golf!)
Whilst running, I was able to appreciate the sounds of the birds, notice the foliage in the woods, hear the chatter of people and families sharing their time together, see the prettiness of the flowers, the colours of the leaves changing in the Autumn and at times the warmth of the sun and the drenching of the rain!
Then a new (surprize) pleasure, doing a Parkrun instead of a pavement run! I drove at 6.30am one Saturday morning to meet up with my daughter Emma and her boyfriend Will to do Parkrun in Bushey Park. Nervousness enveloped my mind, I’m about to do a 5k. I thought I’d hate it, I’d struggle! But running along with people pushing prams or running with their dogs or their children, was incredibly supportive and inspiring. How fantastic that so many people would collectively go out running together for the same purpose, but all for different reasons. Astonishingly, I felt united with these people and the atmosphere was electric. And not only that, whilst running, I spotted a few of Bushey Park’s famous wild deer roaming around. What a treat.
The big day was looming closer. But now I am more convinced that I’m going to achieve my goal. I really wanted to run this 10k. When the day arrived I was up so early, my adrenaline pumping and I hadn’t even got into the car to start my journey to London! Off to the Olympic Park we went. It was freezing cold. Typical. Earlier in the week it was gorgeous and warm! No matter.
Getting my running number was a great feeling. We set off to run around all the monuments of the park. Such iconic sights. The run wasn’t so bad… thank goodness! I managed the first 3k lap in good time, then stopped for a drink of water which inevitably sloshed around in my tummy for the next lap! So… at the end of lap 2, I stopped off to visit the ladies, and on my way back, I noticed Will, who’d already finished his race – shock! Because I still had another lap of 3k to do! Off I sprinted with a nice empty feeling and the urge to finish the race. The sprinting soon slowed to a jog, if that, but eventually all done and a lovely ‘welcome to the finish line’ wave from Max, Will and Emma.
I did this, not just for my personal satisfaction and improve my fitness but it was the fact that I was running to help raise money to support two local community charities, helping children and adults cope better with their exceedingly difficult lives or their visual disability. That’s a good enough reason to keep going when the going gets tough. It did really did help to keep me focused and never give up!
I hope I have inspired some of you to take on such a challenge yourself and, for those of you that have done it before and run loads more, you’ll understand where I’m coming from… its great!