I did my first ever race this Sunday at Harewood House. It was MINT.
I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. My shin-splints have been nagging me for months, which put the stoppers on my training programme and I nearly didn't run at all, worried that even if I got round the course I would be too injured to teach classes the following week. In the end, I just said BOLLOCKS TO IT.
I ran with my friend Karen (a recently converted race junkie), and panicked when two minutes before the starter's gun she suggested we run together. What if I puked trying to keep up with her? What I slowed her down and ruined her time? She assured me it was a slow, hilly and very muddy course, and nobody runs Harewood trying to get a personal best, so we should just enjoy it and encourage each other. I'm really glad we did, it took the pressure off completely.
The headband is not a "look", it is a necessity....
The first 2km were the worst, mostly because I was worried that everyone was passing us (we were late to the starting line due to a last-minute wee situation and ended up squished in quite far up the pack with the superfitties) and because I was being deafened by the sound of everybody heavy breathing - why does nobody tell you about that? However! To my joy, on the first hill I was skipping past people and had to slow down a bit to let Karen catch up. Seems the misery of training up Armley Ridge Road has finally started paying dividends- hurrah!
After that, we sailed. The mud was a bit Bambi-on-ice at times and there was a hideous hill at 7.5km that went on going up, up, up until just after the 8km marker, but Karen made sure I paced myself and didn't get carried away and burn out - and she said I made her push a little bit more than she would have done on her own. So it worked beautifully. We sprint-finished and were both pretty chuffed with our time in the end.
Running Like Phoebe from Friends all the way, naturallySo having been a moaning minnie at how useless I am, it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Makes me wonder what else I could achieve if I just said bollocks to it and got over my fear of failing.
Am now signing up for the following: Meanwood Trail 12k next month, Manchester 10k in May (funds permitting) and the Leeds Run For All 10k in July.
Officially bitten by the bug - and now dying to see what my time would be on a flat road course.
However.... those shin splints....