Setting a bench mark

As a new club runner it was pretty inspiring watching the London marathon on television this year and knowing that Dave and Arun our C25K coaches were taking part, along with a lot of other Runnymede Runners and friends. Every year I think that one day I’ll take part. If someone can run 26.2 miles with a tumble drier on his back, or dressed as a dinosaur, surely I could complete the distance!

Bare in mind I am still currently training for the 5210k programme, longer timed
pieces covering more distance with a 1 minute rest in between runs. That 1 minute seems to be just enough to re-energise and go again. But how many 1 minute rest periods would I need to cover a marathon!

Having completed our official couch course it was suggested that we should take part in the club handicap run. This sounded intriguing and as a group we seem up for new challenges. The run consists of a 5 mile loop in the Great Park which takes in some lovely views (they said) with a couple of bumps along the way (I mentioned in an earlier blog that Dave our coach refers to hills as bumps, we are now wise to this!). It was a good way to mix with the rest of the club, as this timed run is held on the last Thursday of each month. You are set off on a timed slot depending on your time from your last run.

Being a couchie, our first handicap race meant we set off first with the clock reading zero. Basically the plan seemed to be that the rest of the club would hunt us down one by one to improve on their previous time. At first I wasn’t concerned about being caught, as just assumed it would happen at some point on the run. We kept looking back over our shoulder in anticipation of the faster runners coming. I had thought we would be caught on one of the hills.

As the run progressed James and I were about to hit the second and final hill climb. I dug deep as my “runners world magazine” had told me to learn to love hills and embrace them! All the time thinking of Dave’s helium balloon mantra and trying to breath slowly and rhythmically (a lot to take on board whilst running up a hill) only to be met mid way up the hill by Arun, on his bike, encouraging us to go faster.

As we reached the top of the hill, with about a mile left to go we were now starting to see the faster runners of the club going the other way some 30 minutes after we had started. We came towards the end and James stretched off and finished with me trailing behind him. I was pleased to not get over taken and pleased with my finish time of 47.18. The winner was Chris who knocked a massive 6 minutes off his previous time, followed by the quicker runners that I am sure I had seen only 5 minutes previously going the other way! Next month will be a true handicap race, as I will set off on 13 minutes, meaning I will be in amongst them trying to improve my time.

Realisation dawned on Thursday morning when my number for the Staines 10k came through in the post. Reading the information I found out that next year I get to race as a veteran (surely I am not that already).

It’s 2 weeks away and I know I can complete the distance, so it’s now all about trying to finish in under my 1 hour goal.

Bring it on.


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