Last Sunday I travelled up to London very early in the morning by train, with two running friends from the Chelmer Roadrunners in a race!
I'm quite confident about attending these sort of organised races now and see them as a great fun and social occasion - with the post race adrenaline buzz for free I did my first 10kms in July 2014 and over the last 15 months have now completed a total of 9 races. But I remember my first and how much I hated it, even though I was with a friend. I remember them all, all slightly different with different courses, some on the road, some trail runs on National Trust properties, some in the rain, some in the too hot sun. I've had varying degrees of success but I'm glad I did them all. I find that signing up to 10km races pushes me to do a bit more and get out of my comfort zone, and keep me running. This is because to run a 10km race, you can't just turn up. It's short enough to be achievable but long enough to mean you have to push yourself a little bit more than you might.
Anyway, back to Finsbury Park, late September 2015...
It was a gorgeous sunny Autumn day (actually felt a bit like summer!) and it was lovely to take part in this event that was organised by the Women's Running magazine just for Women. They have organised 10 such races during the year, up and down the country. This was the last race of the year.
It was a brilliantly well organised race featuring a secure place to leave bags and coats, sponsors giving out freebies, a warm up from a Parolympic Swimmer, pace makers to help people get good times, a well sign posted course with lots of marshals to direct, support and cheer, and best of all at the end we were rewarded for our efforts with a medal, a bottle of water, a t shirt and a bag with some snacks in. One of the best goody bags I've had at a race. (Don't get me started on the one where I won an ugly mug (for tea!) and a mars bar! a mars bar! really healthy - yuk)!
The course itself was tough. I was so so glad to be running with friends as I'm not sure i would have managed to run all the way if run leader Julie hadn't been encouraging and threatening me (!) ... especially up the hills... and there were some huge hills. I had been to Finsbury park before but I'd forgotten the three steep and long hills... mountains! And the route was two laps of the park... so we did those 3 hills twice ... sob...!
I started off, as usual, far too fast for the first 3-4kms, because I was buzzing and felt good on fresh legs. I found the middle a real struggle, especially slowing down a lot up the hills and feeling so tired. But once we got past 7.5kms and I knew the end was in sight it all melted away and I just wanted to get to the finish. And it was wonderful to be able to manage to speed up and spring finish over the line with Julie, while my other Friend Runcoach Michelle (who is amazing and finished 10 minutes ahead of us), was there cheering us on.
So, not an amazing time due to slowing up those hills, but one i was proud and happy with because I ran all the way. And that's an achievement for me! I will never run in under 45 minutes. Probably I'll never get close to running an hour for 10kms... I'm just happy to be running.
After lots of obligatory selfies with our medals... off we went to the pub. I can't take alcohol in the middle of the day so I rewarded myself with a coke. Rock and Roll!
I hated the race while I was running up those hills, but I love love love the adrenaline rush afterwards and the amazing feeling of satisfaction and achievement from completing it.
Will I be doing Finsbury Park WR10K again....? no chance.... not with those hills. But I will be doing something... very soon. I'm about to embark on a new challenge because this running and racing lark is addictive. More of that to come in future posts
Thanks for reading