It was my long anticipated graduation run this morning. I was in two (or three) minds about how I was going to approach it. On the one hand, I wanted to be sure I finished it - I did not want this to be my first failure - so I wondered about setting off at a conservative (read "slow") pace and not worry about how far I went. But I thought that was wimping out, rather. I wanted to cover at least as much ground as I did on Wednesday, otherwise, what's the point? So then I thought about possibly running the full 5K and seeing how long it took me. But then I would probably have started slower again, knowing that I was going to have to keep going for longer. So I decided to set out at about the same pace as on Wednesday but to attempt to maintain it for the full 29 minutes and then put on a little extra speed for the last minute.
I was hoping that I could manage 10 times round the park this morning. That's 4.5K and I was right on target at 5 mins (750m), at 10 mins (1500m), and just a smidge ahead at 15 mins (I had just passed the start line after 5 laps when Laura gave me the time-check). I continued a little ahead of schedule for the rest of the run and when Laura told me I had just a minute to go I dug deep and picked up my speed a little. But this time the tank was nearly empty and I couldn't maintain the extra pace consistently for the last minute. I felt sick (literally, I mean) even before I'd finished running. I probably ran about 4.53K this time - so I achieved my aim of 10 times round the park plus a little bit) but had to stop completely when Laura told me I'd made it. I had a couple of heaving moments when I thought I was actually going to throw up, but it passed and I was able to get on with my cool down walk.
The rather unflattering picture is what I looked like as soon as I got home. No-one can say I didn't put enough effort into it! But, you know what? I HAVE ACHIEVED MY GOAL!!! 27 runs completed. I've done it in 8 weeks, not 9 as for the first 7 weeks I ran every other day rather than 3 times a week. My fitness has improved beyond all my wildest expectations. I am aware, as I write this, that there are other people who have had more struggles along the way than I have. I wasn't completely on the couch when I started as I walk quite a lot and cycle too, My husband suggested that I could, perhaps, start the programme at week 2, but I have done every run in the series (except run 1 of week 8 when I did the Race for Life instead) because I firmly believe that the people who put this thing together know what they're doing. And this morning I got my confirmation.
So, if you're just starting out and reading this, there is no shame in repeating runs and/or weeks if that's what's going to get you through. We all start at different levels of fitness and health. I haven't found it easy, but that's the point. This programme pushes you just enough beyond what you think you can do to allow you to do a bit more next time. I think there may have been some magic involved!
My next goal is to get to 5K in 30 mins. If you've got any sound advice on how I can achieve that, I'm all ears!