Wednesday 21 October 2015

Task 1: Run 10k in 60 minutes

This task has been one of my slow burners since starting the sixtyat60 challenge. Every so often I've had a quiet whinge about it in a blog post. And then I've just carried on training, which has meant twice weekly runs, sometimes when it's been uncomfortably warm and sometimes when it's been rainy and cold. Note my two biggest fans below. 

Over the past 4 months I've very gradually extended my running distance and improved my stamina - and most crucially of all, I've learnt to become sanguine about my appearance when caught in a deluge and soaked by spray from articulated lorries. 

But I daresay what you'd like to know is whether after all this training, I actually managed to complete the 10k in 60 mins last Sunday on Worthing Seafront??   Oooh, I think I'm going to spin this one out a bit.

In truth I wasn't feeling that fit the evening before my big run. Tickly dry throat, a bit shivery, headachey..... goodness, this was not the way I wanted to be feeling.  I used three strategies to treat the symptoms:

a) Michael's tip - 'Mum, you've just got to man up' 

b) Eat lasagne - lots of lasagne 

c) Swig Lemsip 

Guess what, the next morning I felt surprisingly chipper. We arrived at Worthing seafront in good time for the 11am start. En route for Worthing with Andrew, Michael and Lucy, I heard that Jonathan had decided at the eleventh hour to run with me, which instantly made me feel much more relaxed about taking part in my first ever competitive 10k.  

Old friends/Caterham companions Linda and Peter arrived at Hunot Support Team HQ (a bus shelter) and found us running around like crazy things trying to cobble together £13 in cash so that we could register Jonathan for the race.  Twas ever thus!

Registration all sorted (well done Lucy and Michael), Jonathan and I walked to the startline with about 300 other people of all shapes, sizes and ages. The starter claxon sounded, an extraordinary whoosh of adrenaline coursed through the entire group and we were off. All you could hear was the sound of many pairs of running shoes hitting the tarmac purposefully. Jonathan disappeared into the distance in the twinkling of an eye and my 10k endurance test stretched out in front of me. Here I am looking as fresh as a daisy, but that's because I've only run about 500 metres at that point.  

As Jonathan and I legged it along Worthing seafront, my friend Jenny arrived to ready herself for taking some pix at the finish line (she says she'll become my official photographer in return for regular tea and cakes - done deal Jenny). In the meantime the male members of my support team repaired to a local cafe to sustain themselves with bacon butties and full English breakfasts. Tough job guys, but someone had to do it. 

Out on the seafront I just kept running. I kept in mind what the lovely owner/guru at the Running Hub in Southborough had said to me - 'Start slow and and then go slower' and 'Get out there and enjoy yourself'. I'd been given some great nutritional tips by my brother in law Henry (hence the carb-loaded lasagne), which definitely helped to keep my energy levels up.  The last 3k were pretty tough, but then I thought of all the people who are currently having to live with dementia and how important it was to raise money to improve their treatment. I also thought about Carol who's recently had major surgery and Anita who has MS, and I told myself I must stick to my guns for them.  I think it's safe to say I was 100% in the zone.

I passed Worthing pier and began to see fit young runners strolling about with medals drapped around their necks. I wondered whether Jonathan had beaten 42 mins (despite nursing a massive hangover and having run a 5k the day before). And then as if by magic Jonathan emerged from a little crowd of onlookers to my left. He came towards me, holding out his hand, and said 'Come on Mum, you're nearly there!!'  He and I crossed the finishing line together - it was the best feeling ever. Oh and did I do the run in 60 minutes?  Roll of drums........yes I did, with 6 seconds to spare!

Here I am a few minutes later with my slightly naff but much appreciated medal (I declined to wear the tee-shirt).

And here's my brilliant support team (apart from Liz who's taking the photo) on Worthing beach - such a striking backdrop, could Storm Nigel be approaching?

So I can now tick Task 1 off my list - hurrah!  However I do intend to keep running and do hope that I might be able to quietly improve my PB over time. I may have shaken off the tickly throat but I could just be developing mild to moderate runner addiction.....

To date I've raised £1370 for ARUK, more than double my original target, which is fantastic!! I'm so grateful to friends and family for their generosity. 

I'm doing the sixtyat60challenge to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK. For further information or to make a donation please visit my JustGiving page at  

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