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“Race” Report

4 September 2011
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So it turns out that 7 hours of gardening, no proper training and 4 slices of pizza don’t help you run a good 10k race.

Yesterday I ran the lovely Regent’s Park 10k, which happens on the first Sunday of every month. I am proud of myself for turning up, but not much more than that. I knew I wasn’t in for a pb – see above for my extensive preparation – but I vainly supposed I could finish within 44 minutes.

At the start line the threatened rain clouds dissipated promisingly. It was a big field but I kept up a decent pace over the first couple of kilometres. By the end of the first lap of three my legs felt tired but 44 minutes was still possible.

BUT THEN. As I passed the start/finish line and smiled at Mr N, it was as if the world had turned from technicolour into black & white. Immediately, everything hurt. Slight inclines were mountains, breathing was laboured. People running alongside me were suddenly running past, at an impossible pace, like the Keystone Kops. All I could think was, “I have to stop, I have to stop”.

I will stop at 5kms, I thought. At 5kms I slowed down to a morbid jog. I kept this up for 200 metres. There was a slight downward hill. I felt a bit better. I will make it to the end of the second lap, I thought. I picked up a tiny bit of pace. On the approach to the start/finish, through loud-hailed encouragements from the race director, I glimpsed Mr N waiting for me to pass. I knew I had to finish the race. “I’m just going to jog the rest”, I wheezed.

I started the third lap, stopped to drink half a cup of water, and finished the race. My jog improved to a steadier run as the finish line got closer, but was never less than painful. The only positive thing I have to say about this race is that it made me want to train for another one to expunge its memory. We’re signing up for the December 10k and I am going to crack 43 minutes.

And that, my friends, is an absolute promise.

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