It’s Saturday night. It feels like this morning was ages ago. I’ve been looking forward to today for some time now, it seems like it was a lifetime ago that I put my running shoes back on and decided to get back to running; in reality it was only 7 and a 1/2 weeks ago. 7 and a 1/2 weeks? Is that it? I’ve got two 5k runs booked, and going to attempt my first 5k park run next Saturday. I’m scared. Despite all this running I still haven’t actually done a 5k yet..
The Couch to 5K plan is designed to get beginners to run for 30 minutes or 5k in 9 weeks. As I didn’t take any weekends off and literally ran every other day, it has taken me less time to complete. So I’m running 30 minutes – not 5k.
I decided to change my route today, I wanted to run somewhere flat. All my runs so far have been around my local country park which is just a short walk from my house; but it is a very hilly park. There is quite a tough hill to get up at the entrance and further hills throughout the park. For me, as a beginner, I found these hills challenging – turns out just the challenge I needed and I never once gave up. The downside of course is that running up hills slows me down, so I was never managing 5K. Week 9 consists of 3 runs for 30 minutes each, my first two were at the country park but I decided my final run would be somewhere else.
I allowed myself a bit of a lie-in as I’ve been getting up at 6:30/7:00ish religiously for the past few weeks, so woke up at 8am today feeling ready to go. I had some breakfast, waited a while and then woke Mike up. I initially decided I wanted to go to Holme Pierrepont, a local water sports centre with a good flat running and walking area. I knew the circuit was exactly 5K, so my aim was to run round the whole thing before my c25K podcast finished. We turned up and I realised an event was on, I didn’t want to run in front of all these people, I wasn’t ready. People would not be watching me, I knew this, and Mike kept telling me too, but I would have to run past them and it scared me. Despite not really giving a damn about what people think of me most of the time, when there are that many people it seemed to make a difference.
I changed my mind and decided to go to the embankment. I didn’t know exactly how far 5K was here, but at least it was flat, so I should be able to get further. I started my warm up walk, and then for the final time began to get into the run. I started of really optimistic, legs stretching right out in long strides, but it was sunny and very hot and I soon realised I would not be able to continue at this pace. I slowed right down. Endomondo told me I had just done 1K in 8 minutes something seconds, I was pleased, the fastest 1K I’d done previously was 10 minutes and that’s up hill, so I was pleasantly surprised. I kept going, another 1K in another 8 minutes something, almost exactly the same as the previous run. This gave me a boost. The sun beamed its brightness straight on me, I felt like I had my own spotlight as I ran along the riverside. Every now and again I’d have to take out one of my earphones to straighten out the cable, each time I did I could hear my feet pounding against the ground and my breathing loud and raspy. I didn’t care and kept going. I had to turn around soon, I was nearing the end of the path. There were lots of people around and I didn’t want to look like a puffy fat beginner so as I turned back on myself, I decided to sprint up the grass verge to another path slightly higher up and further away from the water. Showing off is never a good idea, especially when running, it just makes you feel like even more of a tit.
My little sprint had hurt, a lot. It was literally 5 seconds, but was bad enough to fill my entire face with blood. I felt my face, it was hot and wet, urgh. Then Laura (c25k talky lady) told me I had 10 minutes to go. 10 minutes? Seriously? I thought I was nearly finished and now you are telling me I have to keep going in this blinding heat for 10 minutes? Perhaps this wasn’t the best time for Laura to pipe up, she doesn’t half pick her moments…
I got thinking, oh christ I’ve not had anything to drink! Apart from the measly cup of tea I had with breakfast. What if I pass out? Oh god..
Some how I managed to just push on through. Then came the 5 minute warm down and the farewell message from Laura. She told me I had done it and I should be proud of myself. I was.
This isn’t the end though, oh no, this is the beginning. I’m going to stick to my training of 3-4 times a week. In-fact there are some C25K + pod casts for ‘graduates’ of the program.
So here I go, into the world of running on my own, no more Laura the talky lady to guide me along, its just pure determination from here on out. I hope I can do it.