I'd set myself a Not Really Resolution of running 10km this year. And I'd specifically said that I wasn't going to enter a race because I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. But I soon realised that although Running and I were getting on again, I needed something to push me or else we'd just stay stuck in the same 5km rut forever.
As luck would have it, Preston was holding a 10km race at the end of September and after much umming and aahing I decided to just go for it and book my spot and see how it would go.
I did keep meaning to train but the closing in of the nights, plus getting a job that means I walk a ridiculous amount every day, plus the rain, plus my general tendency towards idleness meant that training was
Then I got sick with the mean bug that has struck everyone down and in the 2 weeks before the race I managed one 5k run and that didn't go too well. I resigned myself to the fact that the race wasn't going to be where my 10k was going to happen.
One thing I did discover during the rekindling of my love affair with Running - I don't really like running to music. I get stressed out and distracted and start counting how many songs I've listened to and what the next song is and running to keep to the beat of the song, it just doesn't do it for me. The main problem I have with running is that I spend the whole time in a battle with my mind. It's just so mean to me from about 3km onwards it starts up moaning and then it begins;
"You're too tired. If you're too tired now and you've got to run even further then how are you ever going to run 10k? Maybe you should just stop now and oh my god you can't even breathe properly and wait do your knees hurt a bit, you should probably stop and good god aren't you running so slowly that you're basically walking? You should probably just stop now."
And this will continue until eventually I get to 5k and succumb to the voice. So I figured that I needed a distraction - music clearly wasn't cutting it.
Enter Desert Island Discs...
I have many of these podcasts downloaded to my iPod. And guess what? They're about 35 minutes each. And guess what? That's about how long it takes me to run 5km.
Hey. I never said I could run fast people.
So when I was at the startline of the Preston 10k I was there, iPod in hand, podcast cued up, ready to run.
Goldie Hawn kept me company for the first 5km. And I was glad of her because oh good god people weren't joking about the hills. I thought there was one hill I had to contend with, but pretty much from the get go I realised this was going to be tough. I'm not made for hills. I'm not used to hills. I don't do hills. I hadn't even noticed Preston city centre was that bloody hilly before - but I and my legs can assure you that it is.
I had made a promise to myself that I would try and get to 8km. Anything after that was a bonus. I wasn't going to beat myself up about it, I'd never run 10km before and I'd been ill and this course was frankly a little bitch. It wasn't really a course that was very geared up towards spectators either, which made it a kind of lonely experience, you need to know people are cheering you on I think.
I tried to not feel like the biggest loser alive when all the other people were running past me, I just kept my head down, listened to Goldie Hawn and did what I had to do.
Once Goldie was done and castaway, I turned to Mary Berry for help and I think she was what I needed. No nonsense Mary was the calming voice in my ear through the next 5km or so - keeping me company along the banks of the River Ribble and up the many ridiculous hills of Avenham Park.
The last hill is a joke. There are not even words to describe how steep it is. I struggle to walk up it normally. I can't say that what I was doing was "running" up it, more of a squatting waddle whilst vigourously pumping my arms, and by the time I got to the top, even though I wasn't entirely sure my legs were still attached to my body, I realised that I'd surpassed the challenge I set myself and had done over 8km. In fact, I was pretty much at 9km, and if I'd come this far....
The head went down. The arms pumped a little bit more. Mary Berry came to an end and Florence + The Machine entered stage right to see me through the final few minutes.
And a mere 1 hour and 18 minutes (I know. Don't laugh.) after I'd started out, I hopped over the finish line.
And pulled this face...
No it wasn't fast and no it definitely wasn't graceful. But it was done. And I could even tell you that I enjoyed it and I wouldn't really be lying.
And before you ask. No I will not be doing a half marathon next. I am not even a little bit tempted. 10k is good enough for me and I think this is where I'll stick and settle myself down. Long enough that it's a challenge, not so long that the training takes over your life and your body gets ruined.
Man it feels good to at least get one of those things cross off my Not Really Resolutions list. It's not going to be a good year Not Really Resolutions-wise...