I'd entered a 5K race for Life this morning, without telling anyone who knew me, so there was no support party and I had just taken hubby to the train station to set off on a foreign trip. That's fine. I like my own company and other runners are easy to talk to. Standing in the (100 yard long) queue for the Portaloos before the start I found myself next to a lady of about my age. We compared notes on who we were running to remember (my best ever friend Ronny) and I asked if she was running the 5K too. 'No, I'm doing the 10K' she said.'Though I won't be running it-just walking'. My brain started sizzling. 'Do they check your name to see if you've entered?'
'Oh no', she replied, 'it's all very casual.'
Ten minutes later as the field divided after the first kilometre I found myself heading for the 10K channel. A marshal waved me back towards the right hand side. 'That way for the 5K love' he said. That did it. 'Don't I look as if I can do it?' I asked indignantly and pounded past him.
All went well for the first 7K as I ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1 as per my training plan. Marshals kept trying to redirect me to the 5K course but I ignored them. I even allowed myself little smiles as I glanced down at my lovely new luminous green Garmin and was told I was 'on pace' (I'd set it for a 7 minute per K mark to do the 5K). But at the 8K mark I started to really struggle. It was incredibly hot under the midday sun in the centre of a racecourse and there was only one watering station.I finally asked an onlooking ambulanceman for a water bottle- I told him it might save him a job later. I don't think he was expecting me to pour it all over myself...
At the 9K mark the track turned rough and gravelly and my run walk ratio dropped to 1:1 (a minute of each) but a lot of people seemed to have had dropped to a permanent walk in front of me so I gritted my teeth and kept going. And then, finally the end was in sight and the local radio station DJ was cheering people on and giving their life stories as they passed the finish line. What would he say about ME I wondered. I broke into my old lady's version of a sprint as I reached the last 100 yards and was rewarded by the comment "And here comes Pam, one of the last of the 5K runners over the line. Well done Pam'.
'I've just run 10K' I shrieked at him. 'Oh, she says she's run 10K' he told the crowd doubtfully. 'Ok. well done anyway!'
Afterwards I found the reason for the confusion was not because I looked too ancient and decrepit to run a 10K as I suspected but because my running bib was lined with pink, signifying 5K entry, while the official 10K people had blue linings.
So my paranoia was ill-founded and I had done it! And my time as verified by Strava was a startling 1 hour 16 minutes 30 seconds. I wasn't really supposed to fulfill my New Years resolution of running 10K until the Leeds Race for Life on July 20th. I'd set myself a target of 1 hour 30 minutes for that. Looks like I may have to adjust it.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention my foot. Well, I strapped it up firmly, took an ibuprofen beforehand and iced it when I got home and so far I seem to have stunned it into submission!