The Great British Weather
As anyone who lives in, or has visited the UK, one thing they will know for sure is the changeability of the weather. It can change on a sixpence: flip flops, linen trousers and vest tops for the am, sou'wester, Wellingtons and jumpers for the afternoon. Wednesday wasn't quite so changeable, it was generally dull, overcast and wet....all day. Which after the glorious sunshine we'd had over the weekend didn't do much to lighten ones mood.
And so, after agreeing the previous week to run the Copythorne 10k Fun Run (now there's an oxymoron if ever I heard one) after work the thought of doing it did not fill me with any joy at all. Traffic was horrendous, everyone was in their car to avoid the rain and was crawling the 20 miles to the venue. Team that with torrential rain and my first 10k since Marwell. My cup was overflowing with joy. Think Grumpy Cat and you have a good depiction of my anticipation. Thoughts of a cancelled run were running rife through my mind (no pun intended) but alas it wasn't to be.
The Copythorne 10k Start
So there I was on a damp June evening, hanging about in a field with my running chum, whom I have to say has longer legs than me and is much faster than me, contemplating whether we could actually duck out at 5k? Hmmm, now there's an idea.
It was a fun run, the atmosphere was excited, the field was muddy, the rain was still going for it and we discussed what time we wanted to make. I'm always slightly apprehensive that I'll hold someone back and slow them down and stop them getting their own PB. I wanted to knock 1 minute 30 seconds of my best 10k, and then we discussed it a bit more and decided that why not go for it and knock off 6 and half minutes of my PB? Yeah, why not, piece of cake....surely. I laughed at myself and my foolhardiness at such an extravagant aim. But in for a penny, in for a pound as they say.
And Then We Were Off
After some poor lad had been publicly humiliated for wearing some kind of Mankini affair to run in (there were more shorts to this version) the air horn blasted and we were off, I would say like a bullet from a gun but that would be a blatant lie. Round the field, avoiding the big mud hole and out onto the road, with 10k before us. My running buddy keeping track of our time against our laps all the way round.
She encouraged and pushed (not literally), and cajoled me all the way round. I pushed myself harder than I've done before, and I panted, and ran and never stopped. My breathing was laboured, fitting for a part in a horror film extra either as pursuer or pursued.
The race was two laps of 5k, so once you'd done one lap, you knew exactly what was coming and on our first lap I'd already smashed my parkrun PB. Holy cow. And I still had to do it all again <add expletives here>. That mental internal battle was raging,' it doesn't matter if you don't make it', 'it doesn't matter if you walk some of it', against, 'just relax', 'lengthen your stride and consider this the most relaxing exercise in the world', 'striding along without a care in the world#.
The Copythorne residents were amazing. In the rubbish weather they were in their drives cheering us on and handing out water, a wonderful sense of community. When I'm running and trying to drink water from a cup, it's basically like throwing it my face and hoping some lands in my mouth. Luckily with all the rain it didn't show my poor aim.
The Last Stretch
Up the last hill and round the corner and we would be there. My running bud still encouraging me, telling me a woman behind was gaining on us and we weren't going to be overtaken by her. I was pulling everything out of the bag that I had. My lungs felt like they were going to turn inside out, my legs felt like they'd gained two stone in weight each and then the finish line was in site. My running chum, grabbed my hand and we ran as fast as we could to the finish line. And we got our time.
I had smashed my PB by 7 minutes and 29 seconds. I'm sorry, by how much. I was ever so slightly gobsmacked, and ecstatic, amazed, surprised, proud, happy...
And in my exhaustion and happiness and surprise put my arms up to hold on to the roof of the small gazebo. Enter... the even wetter T-Shirt competition. An evenings water cascaded down giving me an even bigger impromptu shower than I had been expecting!
My running antics still surprise me, I still don't really feel like a 'runner' and yet my body and mind still surprise me with their amazing capabilities to overcome some limiting beliefs.
A huge thanks to Emma O'Brien who, without her I wouldn't have achieved such a huge PB. There were no medals or T-Shirts for this 10k but my smile is medal enough.