I didn't really tell anyone I was doing the Bristol 10K. As I am fundraising for the Great North Run in September I decided to just run this race and get some experience. And what an experience. If I am completely honest I didn't 'train' for it, at all....
I was able to plod a reasonable 5k in about 32 minutes. I had managed to do a 4 mile jogette a couple of weeks before. By jogette I mean jog a bit, walk a bit, stop for a wee, jog a bit, stop to take a few selfies and then do a run at the end when people are watching. So prepared I was not. But, I decided I would go for it. A good friend said to me it's about 'complete not compete' and this rang true for me. It was an opportunity to test myself, to see where I was with my 'running' and to jog through the streets of my beloved Bristol.
The day dawned and it was hot, sunny with no breeze to speak off. I had stayed the night at my parents in Bristol, back in my old bedroom, in my old single bed. My better half was away assessing a Duke of Edinburgh Expedition so it was just me running alone. To return me firmly to my teenage years I had to ask my Dad if he could drop me at the bottom of Park Street. It was like turing back the years except it was 10 o'clock in the morning and not 10 o'clock at night, plus I was also totally sober.
I had donned my prized Ordnance Survey #GetOutside tech top and wore it proudly as I sauntered to the start of the race. I was due to start in the Pink Wave – aka the slow wave – at 10.07am. I stepped on to the start line at 10am just in time for the warm up which I painfully did, feeling every so slightly self conscious. Everyone else had a buddy, or a group of pals and there was little old me all alone with my Best of 90's Pop playlist lined up on my phone. The great thing about being in the last wave is that you are with all the people in fancy dress; there were 3 dogs, a whole selection of fruit, a fish, two rhinos, a cow and many superheroes including Iron Man. As someone who has a slight – cough cough – crush on Robert Downey Jnr I couldn't resist sparking up a conversation. The guy was lovely, although no Robert Downey Jnr. As we crossed the start line I joked to him about my husband being beaten by a Smurf in the Forest of Dean Half Marathon so my aim was to beat Iron Man. However as I said this he smiled, waved and ran off in to the far distance, clearly powered my his super suit.
My aim was to just plod round, so I started literally at a plod whilst everyone else ran off ahead. I searched for someone who I could use to pace with but they were all just going too darn quickly. So I was lost in my club classics which were pumping through my headphones. Before I knew it I was heading under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, taking a moment to stop and take it all in I noticed Iron Man was within sight. Ha ha! His Super Powers were clearly failing him! It was at this moment though that I realised I really, really, really needed a wee. And for any 40+ woman who has had children will profess when you need to go, jogging in an up and down motion is not a good move. Gravity was not my friend. So, I had to stop. As I reached the turning point on the Portway I was greeted by a couple of friends who had come to see me, a true blast from the past. So, after a not very quick wee (seriously MORE loo's please!) and a natter I was back on my way. And to my surprise I was still running. And a little quicker now. I was even starting to overtake some of my fellow start line runners and it felt SO good.
The sun started to kick in at this stage though as we turned and couldn't seek out the shade from the Gorge as I ran back under the Suspension Bridge and over the docks along the Avon. It was hot and I had to take my life in to my hands getting some bottled water. Actually getting to water was easy, negotiating the sea of empty bottle on the ground was not so easy. Talk about a wasteful sea of plastic. Come on, there must be an alternative people?
Still plodding along I realised that a)I had run all the way b) that I could possibly do this well under my target time of 1h 30 minutes. I upped my pace. And then I saw him, Iron Man. In the distance. Could I do this? Could I beat him? Oh that would make my day. So I ran, no more plodding or jogging I started to run and it felt amazing. People were lining the road and being alone didn't matter because they were all on my side, the kids I was high fiving, the haribo I was being given it was all for me and I felt like a million dollars.
And then the finish line came in to sight. A quick glance at my watch and I realised not only was I going to smash my target time but I could possibly do it in under 1h 10m (or 60 mins by my watch – I stopped it when I went for a pee). I ran, My old sprint legs came out and I sprinted to the finish, all that plodding at the start meant I had so much left in me. And then there he was, Iron Man, right in front of me. Mission set I upped my pace and zoom, ran past him to win with a good second to spare. I was elated! Not only that but I ran a half decent race in a half decent time. The official time was 1h 11m 38s. But the time according to my watch was 59m 33s.
I had done it. I had completed my first ever 10k and my first ever 10k race, in my beautiful home city and it was pretty darn good. Unfortunately my husband had kind of hoped that taking part would have scared me a little and given me a kick up the proverbial to get in to some kind of training for the Half Marathon in September. Instead it has made me think that I am invincible and could run the world if I wanted to. Of course I know that isn't true and the training plan for the Great Half has been downloaded and starts this week. But just for now I am revelling in the glow of my epic Bristol 10K where I amazed myself and beat IRON MAN!!!