Well, I say by accident but I don’t think even I could absent-mindedly stumble into a race of 14,000 people completely by surprise. No, I mean it was very last-minute and totally unplanned. You see, a friend has persuaded me to join her in the Great South Run later this month, a 10 mile flat (I’m assured) course around Portsmouth’s historic docks.
I am by no means a serious runner and often need a steady push out of the door to encourage me to embark on the longer runs but I’ve been trying out some new mechanisms to help my mind switch off from the task at hand and get me enjoying the runs.
It must have worked, as the mileage has been steadily increasing – perhaps a little too much as my runners’ knee will testify – and as the Bristol Half Marathon approached I felt 2012, the year of the London Olympics and all it’s inspiration and glory, could be my year for completing a run I’ve wanted to do for well over 5 years but not had the time/inclination/motivation (delete as appropriate) until now.
Thanks to one of our clients, the charity One25 offered me the chance to run for them. The application pack lurked incongruously for a week or so, as I debated whether or not I could take on the challenge. I agreed with myself that if I could run 10 miles a week before the run, the application would be signed, sealed and delivered.
Thankfully(?) my feet didn’t fail me and carried me through a hilly, drizzly, steady jog. The sense of achievement at the end was overwhelming so before the endorphins wore off and I came to my senses I scribbled a hasty signature on the dotted line and hobbled walked to the post box to wave it goodbye.
I finished in the grand time of 2:10, knocking 5 minutes off of my Bath Half time and feeling utterly thrilled at my achievement with only 6 weeks or so of serious running. The less we say about my knees and hips at this point, probably the better but let’s just say I’m awfully glad I’m married to a sports therapist and am spending more time than is healthy with my foam roller.
For me, the real challenge of the longer distances is psychological. My body is willing but my mind resists every step of the way. Using distraction techniques, I managed to overcome this massive barrier and am once again enjoying the runs. If you too find yourself battling with your mind the whole way through, stay posted and I’ll be sharing my tips with you over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I have no time to relax.
Gotta keep this momentum up now for so I can fly (ha!) around that course and bag myself another medal to add to my growing collection.