My first ever sponsored event was a walk with my judo club; I was eight years old. I don’t remember how far we walked or how much we raised, but I remember being tired and glad when we reached the end. Fast forward 30 years and I’m taking part in my first ever 10k run on Day 8 of #100DaysNoTV.
CAMBRIDGE RACE FOR LIFE
I’d taken part in Race for Life four times before, but this race was different: at 10k it was the furthest I had ever run; part of the route now takes you through the busy city centre – a strange experience; and I’m now a mummy in my late thirties. 🙂
Back in March I was contacted by Scottish Power – one of the event’s main sponsors – who were looking for local bloggers to write about the event. I agreed and was sent an enormous foam hand (see below) with the words “High 5 me!” My first thought was, “I am not running with that!”
Turns out that wasn’t necessary – yay! It was basically a fun way to help promote their High 5 Wave campaign where you’re encouraged to upload a photo of you doing a Race for Life high five: 60,000 high fives will raise £35,000 for Cancer Research UK.
When I started training in May I realised I was a lot less fit than I thought. Signing up to a 10k seemed like a big mistake. But Rob was really encouraging and I knuckled down and stayed focused on the reason I was taking part.
It did get easier, but I left it too late to start increasing my distance. Beginner error. My longest training run was just over 7k. Aside from the main reason anyone takes part in Race for Life, I still wanted to prove to myself that a mum of two in her late thirties was still able to finish the distance without stopping (and in one piece). I wasn’t so sure that I would.
If you’ve ever been involved in a Race for Life event you probably agree that it is quite an exceptional atmosphere. There are smiles, laughter, tears, hugs and a whole lot of pink! There are runners, walkers and joggers of all ages and fitness levels; together we are the #PinkArmy. 🙂
Rob came along with the boys and we met up with friends Gemma (Life’s a Catwalk), Olivia (Crave More Beauty) and Keighley with about an hour to go. That hour felt like forever, until I realised I needed a toilet break with 12 minutes to go; thankfully a nearby pub allowed me to use their facilities and avoid the queues! Why are there never enough portaloos?
Amazingly I had no nerves and with my eldest son’s wise words ringing in my ears – “Keep going mummy. Don’t stop!” – I started the race with a smile on my face.
My training had taught me to keep going through the tough (mental and physical) parts of the race and my body would recover and it would feel easier. I had to concentrate on maintaining my pace and I think I managed it for the most part.
The Cambridge race follows a picturesque and interesting route: it takes you through the medieval heart of the city including part of King’s College, through to Jesus Green and along the River Cam. There’s no doubt that this helped distract me from any tiredness I felt.
The last few hundred metres became quite congested as the 5k and 10k runners filtered back together, so I wasn’t able to finish quite as strongly as I’d hoped. I was desperate to spot Rob and the boys; somehow they’d managed to find a space at the edge and Ollie gave me a big, green-handed, high five 30m from the finish line.
So – I did it! My first 10k, done. My time was a slow 1 hour 9 minutes, but I’m proud that I didn’t stop running and I now have a time that I can look to improve on. I think I may have caught the running bug!
I have to say, I loved every minute: I raised money for this amazing charity; my family was there; I got to share the experience with three amazing ladies; and I did something that I never before believed I could do. I wonder what my eight-year-old self would have thought about it. 🙂
Bye for now!