Do not think about it.
Just do it.
With three months of relatively consistent running, I felt ready to pin a number on and try a race.
Questions whizzed around my head. What could go wrong? Would anything go right? What might I learn?
A brief search led me to the Staplehurst 10K. An ideal date and only thirty minutes away. Without hesitation (well okay I paused slightly) I pushed the button and booked my place.
Race weekend arrived so I pulled out my kit to give my club vest an inaugural outing. A slight dilemma ensued. Did I have hair clips to match the colours of Dorking and Mole Valley Athletics Club? The vest’s sky blue side stripe saved the day and I was able to co-ordinate. It does not make me run faster, but ‘pulling an outfit together’, even sweaty lycra, is one of my many quirks!
Ready to go, I entered the postcode into the satnav. That cannot be right. It says the journey will take one and a quarter hours, not thirty minutes. The ever patient Jon, looking over my shoulder, pointed out my error. Staplefield is thirty minutes away. Staplehurst, on the other hand, is in Kent!
While Jon calmly taxied me around the M25 with time to spare, I managed my anxiety by furiously knitting in the passenger seat. Odd? Maybe, but you try worrying when you are counting ‘knit five purl five’ over and over again!
Enough of me rambling. What about the running?
The race HQ had a lovely village fete feel with all the necessary facilities. After a short warm up and quick ‘see you later‘ to Jon I was off. Heading out of the town and around picturesque country lanes the course was undulating, but easy enough to get into a rhythm. It is certainly worth a run out if you fancy a 10K in 2019.
With no idea of my current pace I just ran to how I felt. At 5K I got the ‘oops I have over cooked this‘ sensation. The only answer to that was to dig in. Surprisingly I only slowed in the last 2K, and was more than chuffed with how I finished.
Greeting me at the line was Jon smiling and holding my obligatory recovery drink. Beer disguised in a plastic cup as the sun was not quite over the yardarm yet. Relaxed and slurping I even managed to meet some fellow Southern Counties Veteran AC runners.
So that was it, job done. I arrived, competed, finished and clocked a baseline time. More than that though I learnt some other things too:
- Staplefield and Staplehurst sound similar, but are not the same.
- Knitting is a great relaxer (check out this Psychology Today article).
- Things do not go wrong, they are just challenges you did not expect.
- Consistent but steady training pays off.
- Always believe you are capable of more than you think.
- Most importantly, everyone needs a Jon 🙂
Time for me to stretch out my tired legs, but what about you? What have you learnt from an event?
As always happy running.