As those of you who read my question yesterday will know, I was quite anxious about my first run. I've been under the weather for a few weeks and struggling with my running, especially with my breathing.
At running club on Thursday I came second from last over a Handicap race of less than 3 miles and found it hard work although after a short rest I was able to run back to the car park more quickly than I'd run the race.
Thanks to all who gave support and advice in response to my question yesterday, it was all very helpful and I thought about you all as I was running today.
I was very nervous and jittery beforehand. At about 9.00 this morning I had a couple of slices of toast, the ate a banana about 1 1/2 hours before the race was due to start, and some fruit gums while we driving to Oswestry. On arrival, I went to the registration point to collect my number, timing chip and goodie bag. I pinned on my number with shaking hands and fumbled to fix the chip to my ankle. The goodie bag was nice - a technical t-short with an Oslympic Games 2012 logo; a Milky Way chocolate bar and a Gold Medal (chocolate, courtesy of Cadbury's but it's a medal and it's MY medal !) plus a bottle of water.
My friend from running club found me shortly before the start. I appreciated her being there - she ran a half-marathon last weekend and had a nasty cold start yesterday. We started near the back, thinking it would mean less chance of being trampled by the fast runners ! I was grateful when she said we were probably starting off too fast (10 minute miles - I averaged 11 1/2 minute miles on the handicap run, and have sometimes been slower than that, so I knew that pace wasn't sustainable). I slowed down and concentrated on my breathing. I been struggling and gasping for breath recently but I've been reading up on it and tried to make myself take deep belly breaths, pushing my belly in and out with each breath and counting 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4. I suspected that pushing my belly out wasn't an attractive look but if it was going to get me through 10k then I didn't care ! I soon managed to get into a more comfortable 1-2-3 1-2-3 rhythm. Sometimes I got confused but then I'd slow down a little to get back into the rhythm again.
I'd sort of planned to take regular walk breaks but once I'd started I couldn't bring myself to walk after 10 minutes or even 20. I told myself I'd have a short walk break at 4km but I missed the 4km marker and ran for 4.65km before having a short walk break. I think I may have had perhaps 4 short walk breaks altogether. At the drink station, just after 6km, I was handed a bottle of water but the lid was off so when I tried to drink from it while running, I chucked it up my nose instead. That slowed me down for a bit - quite uncomfortable - so I briefly stopped and poured most of the water into my energy drink bottle so I could carry on sipping and running at the same time.
I surprised myself by passing a few people and for a while I was a bit isolated - in a way that was easier because I didn't get distracted from concentrating on my breathing. At about 8km I caught up with a lady I'd been tailing for some time, as I pulled up next to her she commented that it was nice to put a face to the pitter-patter behind her. I was quite flattered that she thought I pitter-pattered rather than stomped ! She said she'd been regularly running this distance in an hour and ten minutes, I checked my Garmin and said it looked as if she was pretty on target to do it again. At this point, there was a nice, refreshing breeze. Somehow, I had the energy to pull ahead. It was quite a distance to the next person in front but I managed to keep them in sight. At 9km, I walked for a few yards, concentrating on my breathing before setting off again. I was soon on the finishing "lap" around the cattle market and decided to try and run a little faster. Somehow, I managed to pass several people before I came to the final bend on to the finishing straight. There were two or three people ahead of me and somehow, knowing Beloved was watching and wanting to impress him, I managed to pick up speed and pass all of them before crossing the finishing line ! Then I was gasping for breath !! I handed in my chip - then remembered to turn the Garmin off. The Garmin says my time was 1hour and 10 minutes but I started it early and finished it late so I'm hoping my race time will be about 1 hour and 9 minutes.
I'm absolutely thrilled ! My average pace was quicker than I've managed in weeks and I managed to run for probably 85-90% of the race. Can't wait to sign up for the next one !!
Thanks to everyone here for the help, support and inspiration. I'm bouncing now