I am one of those people who HAS to worry about everything. It's my late Dad's fault. I've inherited the "Jaysus son, it moight not go well" gene. But today's 10K race went brilliantly - despite said gene. I really was thinking that it would be too hard and I just wasn't up to it, but the planets lined up to ensure I'd be fine. That, as well as support from the one and only C4TS who made the incredible sign'age in the picture!!
Turbotortoise was also running but I didn't see her until the end. Still, it was great to see her once again and we both had a good moan about the hideously strong, cold headwind that almost destroyed us between K8 and K9.
I had arrived by car, parked up nearby, registered and got my number. Back to the car to turn on the heater and snooze whilst listening to the radio. Mrs Dan texted me to wish me good luck and to ask what food I wanted on my return home? I told her I'd let her know once I'd finished. After a lazy snooze sesh in the car it was time to go for a warm up walk. The vibe at the start was great - lots of cheery peeps all smiling. There was a lady "presenter" whose voice was amplified by a PA system and who kept asking "Anyone nervous? No? Who's nervous?" - Not me, I thought! Once I was warmed up I saw C4TS (from this very forum) who had trained it down from Dumfries to take part in tomorrows 10K in Kew. We had a good old natter and before long I was in the pen, waiting to start. The cold weather was making everyone shiver violently and we waited for what seemed like an age for the start to happen. So much for my "warm up" beforehand. I was now freezing with everyone else. But not to worry......we were off.
I have to say that the first wave which I was part of started off at a very fast pace. The first K, then the second then the third were demolished far too quickly for my liking - 5'50 / 5'34 / 5'08 respectively, but I was kind of dragged along with it all and hoped I could last the distance. We reached our first turning point at K4 and I began to feel the huge effort I'd put in thus far. There were a lot of heavy breathers today and one of them was a lady who followed me for 3.5K trying to get past, but I refused to give in! It kept me going I have to say and I completed K4 in 5'28 - so a bit slower. K5 was slower too at 5'34, but somehow I managed to keep pushing my body to the limit (didn't somebody write a rather good song about that?). K6 was faster and K7 faster still, because I looked at my watch at K7 and it read 36 minutes. This was the fastest I'd ever run 7K. Surely a PB was on the cards, n'est pas?
Towards K8 we went past the START/FINISH line and it was here that I suddenly saw C4TS with her banner!! I tried to call out, but I was too out of puff to make any sort of noise, but I laughed so hard when I saw it! It gave me more impetus to try and demolish K8. I was sure I was almost walking speed now as I felt destroyed with tiredness. The heavy breather lady had managed at last to pass me and was making good ground ahead of me. I'd never catch her up again. A guy with chunky calves passed me and HE was going fairly slow, so I thought I'd try and conserve a bit of energy for the final K.
OH! And to cap it all, this INTENSE wind blew across the Thames right into our faces, forcing us backwards almost. WOW that was HARD to get through, but despite this K8 came in at 5'22?? How did that happen?
K9 was turn around point 2 - the race for the finish line. HEavy breather lady in coral coloured top was miles ahead of me so I couldn't pick her off. I selected another candidate to try and use as a target to beat. Chunky Calves Man was about 100m ahead of me. It would be HE who's spirit I would take and CRUSH beyond existence! Muuuwaaahha haaaaaaaa!!!!!! He was the chosen one.
People around me were tiring fast.....except for one grey haired gentleman, far superior in years to me, whose footfall sounded like a train coming through. He passed me and about 30 others at a speed I could only marvel at for this point in the race. It had been a fast 10K so far for me and to see this dude charge past on the home straight gave me a boost.
"I too can be GREAT!" I told myself. "I shall go forth and put on a big spurt!" (of speed.....you KNOW what I meant!)
K9 was the hardest & slowest at 5'51 but it was now over. The final K was still to come and I was starting it right now. I grew about three inches in height, quickened my stride and produced more steps per pound. I raised my feet up as I tore forwards and the speed suddenly came. Chunky Calves Man was left for dust and I heard a grunt of annoyance as I flew past him. I could see the finish line ahead. The sheer effort of this was draining me but I kept charging for the line. Another target ahead of me - a tired looking lady just about to enter the finishing funnel towards the line. "You're mine baby!" I said to myself and ran EVEN FASTER! 20m to go and there was C4TS once again with her DAN Z BANNER! The woman on the microphone was excited as she babbled "This guys finishing strong. This is a TV finish! Well done" - and I crossed the line - F***ING EXHAUSTED! I looked at my watch and grinned a cheeky grin......This can't be right surely?
Met up with C4ts and Emma, who had JUST finished as well and we had a natter, before all saying goodbye and making our way to our various destinations.
The jacuzzi was already filled when I got home. Mrs Dan had got it ready for me and I got in and had a long soak in the bubbly water to relieve the tension in my legs. Afterwards I demolished two sausages, a fried egg on toast, baked beans and a cup of rosy lea before checking my time on the website......
54'34. A PB which I was absolutely thrilled about. In fact I had thought it might be a tad quicker cos of my own timing from my watch - but then I remembered I forgot to press "START" on it until the first minute in!! But I am SO DAMNED HAPPY with that time. WOWZA.
Now I am stiff. So a session on my big pink foam roller is in order. Oh! One other thing....
I brought tissues today and had TWO GLORIOUS BLOWS mid run. YAY!
It doesn't get much better than that.
Thanks for reading.