It’s been a week of aches and pains on waking this week, a struggle to get going. The cold in the air returned with the expectation that it might have snowed, on opening the curtains each day granted with relief. The aches and pains are from the run I took part in at the weekend.
For a minute I want to bask in the outcome so we are rolling back to last Sunday. The day felt stretched out, a way of managing the crowed I suppose with 4 events. A Full-on marathon, a 10k, a Half and a 5k. With a 2.30 start time for the 5k, I’d got a bit of a food issue and not prepared for running in the afternoon. I normally go straight after that first coffee of the day.
So, whilst my wife was running in the 10k. I got myself a toastie, between one of her laps. Hoping, that 3.5 hours would be enough to digest the little beast. My wife flew round the morning route, and we were home for 12:30. So I put the time in, trying to stay in the right mindset before cycling back for the 2.30 warm up and 2.45 starter gun.
As I got myself in position for the start and turned around, I was definitely the oldest by a long way. I got that sinking feeling that people might have just rocked up today after a night on the town, saying, ‘I know why don’t we do the 5k this weekend?’. I might have done that in my twenties, but here now in my fifties and a good twenty-five years of sitting behind my desk. I’d had to put some effort in on the streets.
With my earphones in, and attempted lip reading of the race directors’ instructions, I hear the count down as the gathered crowd counts down from five. I shoot down the cobbled street like a cannon out of a gun. I think I was overtaken straight away, a couple of folks held back. Then as we turned onto middle meadow walk, it got busy. We hit the half marathoners still in flow, a little congestion that got frustrating. Folk running two abreast. A speed burst from me saw me punch a hole in space time (not quite) releasing a bunch of angst. Turned the corner onto the flat and what would be the main circuit. There’s a coffee hut come mobile café made from what looks like an old air stream. The smell of bacon hits me as it drifts on the cold air. Stitch kicks in and my lungs are going ten to the dozen, I think I’m going too fast, but I’m keen to keep up with Mr casual, his hoodie tied round his waste like this is a jolly jaunt, a breeze for someone a good thirty years younger than me. I started to think what am I doing, and why, what is this for, as the pain of the cold restricts my breathing.
Still, I focus on the runners in front, start picking my targets. If I can keep up with that guy I’m doing ok. That lady looks like she is doing well, can I keep pace with her. If I can just make that lamp post. Is that a massage station? Definitely worth stopping for that. Can I really do two laps of this? I remembered a water stand on the map and if I can just make it there I’ll be able to keep living. Then I remember I never drink water in my training why would I need it now. I needed some relief, to breathe, and take a sip. It’s not actually possible to drink water whilst running I find!
What I didn’t realise, even though my watch was telling me, was that I was putting a good pace on and that I was really pushing it (for me). The tunes in my head, folk to real in, folk over taking me, it all added up and messed with that promise I’d made to myself, the fact I was just in this to take part and get round.
The hill in the middle, marking the halfway point at the top (and the end), ugghh, I’ve got go round again. I decided I’d take a breather at the base, a little walking, some breathing. The guy I’d just overtook, had to overtake me (Sorry for getting in the way!) The tune changed about halfway, motivation, strength, I could see the sign to turn and started again. I was halfway, the bacon van again, the tennis courts. Then my favourite part a guy with his son on his shoulders. Leaning in so he could high five racers as they pass by. Made that moment so less painful and a reminder that this was supposed to be fun.
There is more pain, more grunting, and that hill to the finish. I tuck in behind someone who’s got a brit of grit, youth and it helps. Like the peloton on the tour de France. She sees someone in the crowd who offers an energy drink, a grandparent maybe and I lose my crutch…but, it’s fine, it’s got me up that hill and I make it to the final turn. I had my sons’ words in my head about tanking it on the final 800m, give it all you’ve got. There isn’t anything in the tank or I would have. There is relief, the finish.
The result text come’s through almost immediately. My watch chirps away with all kinds of news. I just need to sit down!
I later find that I came 14th overall out of 46 and 1st out of the V50 category. I don’t know how to take this, one the fact I’ve entered a category called veterans and two there were only three. At the same time, I clock that there was a person in the V60. Mentally I think I still need to be running in another ten years…. and I can be that person.
I sign up for the Mens10k in Glasgow. I like the symmetry of a 100 day count down and sixteen weeks to go.
The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.