Last Sunday, I took part in #WeRunLondon, the annual women's 10k race put together by the fantastic people at Nike. And boy... did I have 'the fear' (my face says it all in the photo above taken before heading for the big city!)
It was only my second ever race, the first being another 10k back in September last year. I remember seeing all the updates from Nike's event last year and knew I wanted to be part of it if it came round again. When the sign-ups opened for this year's event, I was all over it like an ant on sugar!
Having had some fun with a knee injury, which in turn caused a slight ankle injury flare-up, I actually didn't run train for the race. Risky strategy, I know. My last run before the race was a 10-miler and then I decided I needed to rest my knee and ankle as much as I could. I took to strength and plyometrics HIIT sessions to keep my cardio up, along with some weight training.
When the race finally came round last week, I felt totally fit for it (let's ignore the dodgy ear infection the week before, too...). On arriving at Victoria Park, I was pumped. Nerves and adrenaline pumped through my body - I'd originally put myself in the sub-55 group when I signed up, but I knew that was a long shot so I aimed for sub-60 minutes finish time to allow for any hobbling.
But as soon as we set off, I felt good. Great, in fact. Heading off the start line with 10,000 women (and 100 token men) was incredible. I got chatting to complete strangers on the start line, most were there with their crews, but took pity on me running alone. The atmosphere from start to finish was fantastic; girls encouraging each other to keep going, the pace-makers (who were awesome), and 'buskers' and supporters along the route actually brought a little tear to my eye at points.
I knew I was making decent time, and I didn't hold back. My knee did start to twinge at 5km, but I was determined I was coming in under 60... and ended up finishing in 58.20, totally smashing my PB of 63 minutes! I was chuffed to bits, crossing the finish line with a huge grin and a real feeling of accomplishment.
The icing on the cake was having my boy there to support me, drive me (even arranged parking at his workplace 5 minutes away which took a lot of stress out of the journey), act as bag holder, encourager, cheerer-onner, and to greet me on the finish line. He listened as I waffled, fuelled by adrenaline and the Metcalfe's popcorn I was devouring from the goodie bag, all the way back to the car. And also got in the car that evening to go and get this girl an ice cream. What a keeper. A day I shall cherish for many, many reasons
(And here's the cherry on the icing on the cake, super cool finisher's necklace designed by Alex Monroe)