After talking about The Stampede way back in March (you all suck by the way, nobody was brave enough to come and join us) the weekend finally arrived for Lucy and I to make our way down south for a little adventure.
Our hotel was a bargain that Lucy had found, costing us £25 each for a night in the middle of Luton about a 2 minute walk from the train station, and although our hearts sank when we walked up to possibly the ugliest building alive...
We ran onto the streets of Luton to discover what there was to say and ran smack bang into a store that has changed my life. Why have I never heard of Tiger before?! I can't even describe it, just go on the website and look. (Although be warned, you can't actually buy anything from the website it just shows you what they sell. The swines.)
We also learned that Luton doesn't like you to feed pigeons, handily drawing a picture of a pigeon in case you didn't know what one was.
But you're not here to learn about what there is to see and do in Luton. And anyway I've basically covered it in the above few sentences.
You are here to find out about The Stampede.
This was long awaited for more than one reason for me. I was looking forward to running around the zoo but, after the disaster that was the Hull Not 10k I was looking forward to actually giving a 10k race a proper go.
I wasn't in the best of shape for it. In the week leading up to the race I'd been unable to do any running/training at all because work has been a gobshite lately and my diet left little to be desired as I comfort ate to make myself feel better about work being a gobshite. I haven't checked but I'm pretty sure that Runner's World don't have those in their Top Ten must-dos for race preparation.
I was pleased Lucy was there though - that girl just ran a half marathon, I would be able to harness her running ability somehow and get myself through the race. I hoped. I decided it was a sign that we had the same trainers - these trainers got Lucy through a half marathon, they could get me through a 10k!
For anyone interested they are Mizunos. And you need to be a mega flat footed freak to wear them
In the run up I was a little worried about how hot it might be when we ran the race - I didn't want to overheat and pass out half way round - but I needn't have worried as the weather was outrageously cold on Sunday 9th June. It was almost a joke how cold we all were, hopping about on the spot trying to keep warm.
Before long the hooter went and we were off, we were officially Stampeding! The first big animal we came to was this rhino...
Yes. Laps. Not sure they're a fun way of running 10k. The first lap was brilliant - I was shouting out animals as I saw them and smiling and everything was lovely. Then came the second lap and I got a little quieter. Then came the third lap and there wasn't a word uttered. By the time the 3rd lap came around I was like "Yeah. Whatever. Flamingos. Good work being pink"
The other not fun thing about laps? Getting lapped by the leaders. A bike with a bell ringing behind you going "Move over to the left for the race leaders!" was not a comforting sound. I contemplated throwing an elbow but apparently that's not sportsmanly. I don't need a reminder that I run slowly thank you very much.
I was so thankful I had Lucy to run with. I had a better deal really, she kept me going whereas I just slowed her down! But having someone to run with who asked if I was ok was a huge help even if the answer was "No, I hate this!"
When we got to 7km I was still feeling not too bad and actually thought to myself that I was ok and was definitely going to be able to do this, but things went rapidly downhill from there and 8-10km was a real struggle. I retreated well into myself and started focusing on following the yellow lines on the road we were running on, I felt if I just kept running on that then everything would be ok. What can I say, I'm not entirely sure running is good for your mental health.
After the race we discovered that we both were pretty sure that 9km was never going to come once we'd passed the 8km marker. I swear it was longer than 1km between those markers. But hilariously, when I checked on Endomondo the other day, that lap was our fastest, we were obviously desperate to get to the marker!
We turned a corner and there it was the finish. The end has never been more welcome and I sped up to get there as quickly as possible. I like to think that the people lining the sides and cheering us on were fooled into thinking we'd run that fast all the way around but given the time I'm guessing they probably wouldn't have been fooled.
Ah yes. The time. The time that I should be really proud of and should be shouting from the rooftops because three years ago I literally couldn't run for 5 minutes on a treadmill without having to stop. The time that I shouldn't care about, but do because I'm an idiot who needs to learn to stop comparing herself to others, especially when people can run further and faster than she can.
My official time was 1.09.26 and I am proud of that time. This is only the 2nd time I've run a 10km race. The last time was in September 2012 and it took me 1 hour 18 minutes so I've knocked a good bit of time off that.
So yeah. Sorry I'm not a super fast runner but I run as fast and as hard as I can and I will never in a million years get below 60 minutes and actually I don't want to. I want running to remain fun and something I enjoy doing, not become yet another stick I can beat myself up with.
I RAN 10KM WITHOUT STOPPING IN 1.09.26 - IN YOUR FACE!
Even better than the euphoria of finishing a 10km is the euphoria of then getting to spend the rest of the day looking at animals, and although we had to get changed in a toilet and try and wipe the sweat off with some baby wipes, it totally made it worth it.
So I have signed up to my next 10km - the York 10k on August 4th.
Time to dust off the trainers, get out Hal's training programme, and start running up those hills again...