Sundays weren’t meant for running


To be honest, for me, I'm not sure any day was meant for running. It's like really, really hard work and I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. In a vain (either meaning of the word) attempt to lose some weight I started running a couple of years ago (actually it coincided with meeting my fiance who was training for the London Marathon at the time but I'm sure there was no connection :-)) and made some steady progress. My road to Olympic 10k glory peaked at the Nike Run London 10K last year (about this time) when I made it round in just over 54mins. Paula Radcliffe beat me by some significant margin - and it was her 2nd time around the course that morning.

Not to be deterred, I slowly let the runs become less frequent - convinced I had been overdoing the training - until I realised that 10K was going to be a major challenge again just to get around, never mind get near to 54mins...

So we signed up for the Reading O2O 10K and started again on our Nike training programme. Pounding the streets day and night; Twickenham, Richmond, Teddington, who knows where else we might get to (as long as it's within 5km, fairly flat with little traffic and doesn't attract really good runners who would show us up).

The race came around (yesterday) and it was an early start (for a Sunday at least) as we left the house at 7.30am. Tension started to build as we arrived in the car park (field) and the usual palaver of "trying to pin your number to your chest without stabbing yourself with a safety pin" commenced. Then is was the familiar "which way round do I fit this chip thing" and "should I go for a wee before we start". All the while trying to block out the immensity of the task that lies ahead...

And it was hot - 20C at 7.30am (did I mention that was when we had to leave the house? On a Sunday?) and humid. Not the ideal "chilly with a nice refreshing breeze" conditions I had been hoping for (though as it's September I was being optimistic). We got off to a flying start with 900 other runners and it only took me one minute in the starting scrum to cross the line. Off we went through Thames Valley Park (a little surreal as I jogged towards the Microsoft buildings) before turning back on ourselves and heading off down the towpath towards the town centre and the Oracle shopping centre...

Sparing you the details of sweat, pain, despair, anguish and relief that I enjoyed during the race, the end came (eventually) in a somewhat disappointing (deeply disappointing) 1hr 1min 33sec (coming 666th which I hope isn't a bad omen). Boy do I have room for improvement. I think the fundamental problem is that I'm carrying a bit more weight than last year. Tackle that problem and I may well be able to get around in a respectable time. To put things in perspective (and me to shame) there was a 76 year old gentleman who completed the Reading O2O 10K in 50min 41sec. Hat's off to you sir - that's a remarkable achievement.

I have another chance at the Cancer Research Hampton Court Palace 10K on 1st October and I'll be expecting a significant improvement in my time...

All in all a 10/10 rating for my weekend as Scotland won 6-0, we wandered down to the Bearcat Comedy Club (David Haddingham, Nina Conti, Shappi Korsandi, Mike Gunn - all excellent) on Saturday night (admittedly not the best preparation for an early run on Sunday as a couple of beers were consumed) and I rebuilt my Media Center with a new 320GB SATA drive and my "normal" PC just because I felt like it (and I was worried the hard drive in that was going to fail so it got a hand-me-down from the MCE). Not only that we managed to paint a couple of windows that were in desperate need. Maybe running is an escape after all...

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Comments (1)
  1. zimakki says:

    Well done mate. I tried the running thing too… didn’t work for me. Too much like hard work, so started swimming instead, which is hard work too but the sauna is closer.

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