Sunday, 5 May 2013

Running Bristol 10K 2013

Feeling great post-race
Right now I am feeling great. Yes, my legs are aching and I have blisters on my feet, but overall, I am feeling great. This morning I ran Bristol 10K, and as someone who could barely run for 20 minutes a few weeks ago, this is a big achievement. I’m not entirely sure how long it took us today (we were too excited at crossing the finish line to remember to look at the clock), but we think it was about 1hr 10mins. Evidently we’re not super athletes, but we didn’t stop to walk once, about which I am very proud.

Actually, I’m just feeling really proud generally. I never thought I’d be able to do a race like this, but would you look at that – I have. It was so great to do it with one of my best friends, Harriet, too. Neither of us is a runner, and through training for Bristol 10K we’ve established that my knees HATE running (you’ll know all about my knee saga should you be one of my twitter followers – gripping stuff) and Harriet has developed shin splints. Evidently we should both just stick to dancing.

I think the reason we enjoyed doing this is that we just catch up, natter and gossip as we go. To be fair, we’ve seen a lot of each other recently so there wasn’t much news to catch up on today. As a result – topics of conversation included:

1. Our dream weddings
2. Favourite musicals
3. Favourite soppy films
4. Why Rose in Titanic is an idiot
5. How much of The Devil Wears Prada I can quote
6. What we were going to have for lunch
7. Favourite froyo toppings/flavours/sauces

We helped pace each other (well, it was mainly me telling Harriet to slow down despite the fact that my legs are a fair bit longer) and generally got each other through. I saw quite a lot of people just running by themselves… I couldn’t do it.

all the runners on our way down to the race
I was amazed at just how many people were taking part today – apparently there were 10,000 of us! Some were very serious elite athletes, others were like Harriet and I who were taking it seriously but just doing our best. We both had pink nail varnish on, ribbons in our hair and glittery eye make-up. Why not eh? There were some great outfits going on though – Peter Pan, Spongebob Squarepants, fairies and all sorts.

Actually, I was amazed at the scale of the whole thing. It was incredibly organised – everything ran (if you’ll pardon the pun) so efficiently and perfectly to schedule. We also had 30 seconds silence at the beginning of the race for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing which was a really thoughtful touch. I want to thank all the fabulous, helpful, friendly volunteers and all the Run Bristol organisers. Except Harriet and I do have one qualm: we were promised foil blankets. There were no foil blankets. Still, we got a medal and T-Shirt each which are now proudly displayed in my room.

There was a great atmosphere throughout the whole thing and a real buzz of excitement in the air. I also want to thank every single person who came out to support from the sidelines, whether they knew someone running or not. Having people cheer you on really is the biggest boost and they did a fantastic job. I have to say, when Harriet and I saw our friends cheering us on we went nuts. It’s so exciting. Mine even said they’d been inspired and were thinking about doing it themselves next year.

Yeah we are!
Bristol 10K is a really good route: you start right in the city centre, run out under the Clifton Suspension Bridge into the “countryside” through the Avon Gorge, then back into the city and along the waterfront. The whole thing is a loop, which is just practical really, and pretty much flat (which pleased me greatly.) Sure, my knees kicked up a fuss, but when you know it’s just a one-off it’s easier to push through the pain.

The hardest part of the race was probably the 4-5K period – we could see runners going back the other way on the other side of the road, couldn’t even see the turnaround point, knew we weren’t even halfway, yet we were already feeling the burn. Helpfully, there were markers each kilometre of the race and troupes of volunteers handing out water bottles at the 5K mark.

Me: “I’m not sure I can jog and drink water at the same time.”
Harriet: “Yes you can. We’re going to keep running.”

We kept running. And we felt like runners we’d seen on the TV as we swooped the bottles out of the volunteers’ hands, drank a few sips and then threw them in the strategically placed bins.

I think I had a grin on my face for the whole of the final kilometre as the pride and sense of achievement began to kick in. Naturally, we sped up as we approached the finish line. Hand in hand, arms in the air, beaming like Cheshire cats, we ran across the line. REJOICE! What a sense of euphoria.

People talk about a runner’s high, but the feeling after completing an official race is a kajillion times better than just going for a random jog any day of the week. And when I think about how much money we’ve raised in sponsorship (nearly £1,100 at the last count!) it makes it all so much better. We’ve been fundraising for St Cuthbert’s Hospice in Durham which is an amazing place, run entirely on donations, and which has been a massive help to Harriet’s family and so many others. (Oh, and you can still sponsor us up to three months after the race, so our page is here if you feel so inclined.)

Thank you so much to everyone who’s already sponsored us. Considering these pants economic times not to mention the fact that most of my friends are students, it really means so much to me. Realistically, it’s not even about the amount of the donation, it’s what it represents: your support. As Mastercard would say, that’s priceless.

The guy with the horse head
So, are we going to carry on training? Will a half marathon be next? Probably not. With my knees I just don’t think I’m cut out to run unfortunately. And it is unfortunate, because *whisper it* I quite like running. When there’s nice weather, pretty scenery, and good friends to go with, it’s really rather pleasant. Not to mention EPIC cardio and FREE!

Thanks to everyone who put up with my moaning about my knees, thanks to our cheerleaders (Alex, Sian, Katie and Christian), thanks to our sponsors, thanks to the volunteers, thanks to Bristol Fit and Fab for encouraging us to do this, thanks to the organisers, thanks to Abi for helping us train, and MASSIVE thank you to Harriet for being such a super duper star training buddy. I am proud. WELL DONE US.

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