I'd lost my running mojo a bit lately - in fact, since I finished the 5x50 challenge mid-May. That was to do 30 minutes exercise every day, which I managed, and enjoyed. I signed up for the Juneathon challenge to try and keep the momentum going, but it didn't really work.
Warmer weather made running much harder, my skin flared up and made me miserable, and maybe a change in my diet made a difference too (reintroducing oats to a gluten-free diet as I'm coeliac). Whatever - running had got hard and not much fun at all. I was really wondering whether I would just give up running, but it seemed a pity after all the effort I'd put in from December to May.
Well - I went off for my Race for Life this morning, not really knowing whether I'd run it or not. The weather forecast looked good - overcast and not too warm. I decided I didn't need to carry my water bottle, as I've never needed to drink during a 5k run yet, and it's so much easier not carrying anything.
I laced my car key into my shoelaces and set off from the car-park. I hadn't taken any money (no pockets) so saved myself £15, as I'd haved been sorely tempted to buy a t-shirt with all the runners' names on - I was really taken by the sight of my name in teeny-tiny writing with all the others on every t-shirt.
The start was delayed, perhaps because of the queues at the toilets, so we didn't get going for about 20 minutes after the start time. I walked round in circles, and did about 1 km warm-up walking and joined in some of the pre-race exercises.
They called the runners to the start, and then there was a flag for walkers, but there wasn't one for joggers (sure there was one last time I did it), so I edged in somewhere near the back of the runners. Then we were off. I started my Garmin, but had a feeling it might not have enough power, as I'd forgotten to recharge it last night. Daft. We moved really, really slowly - good!
Once we'd spread out a bit, it was the usual beginning slog - though it seemed even harder than usual as the air was warming up, and my calves felt tight and tired. The first km seemed to be going on for ever - 'Only 0.6km?' but then I saw the '1km' sign and remembered I'd reset the Garmin to display miles instead of kilometers. Doh! That was quite a boost.
Just after that I got the battery low message though, and had to switch the Garmin off. Maybe it was a good thing, as it meant I was much less focused on time, and more on just keeping going.
The sun shone down hard, so I went in all the bits of shade I could, and kept plodding on. Others rushed past and then slowed to a walk, a young girl fell over in front of me (but didn't want to be fussed over), lots of women were walking as fast as I was jogging, but I kept on. At about 3 km, I realised I could run all the way. As I came up to the finishing straight, the first of the 10k runners - who had started at the same time, but at the front - came in ahead of me!
I did overtake some walkers, and there were plenty more behind me, hundreds of them! There is something rather wonderful about being amongst such a huge mixed bag of women - all ages, shapes and sizes and mostly in lurid pink, all ploughing on for the same cause.
From start to finish, I think I took about 46 minutes, which is slower than I've been before, but as it was really pretty warm out there, I was very pleased I kept jogging and didn't walk any of it. It felt good to have completed it, and I could have gone on further.
Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me. It really does help, and I'm so glad I did manage to run today.
My Juneathon blog is here (though lately it's turned into more of a nature notes blog).