Last Sunday I took part in the Checkendon 5k with the LPPT team. I was originally meant to run the 10k, but after a week of trying to calm a niggly calf and a few restless nights, I decided to step down to the 5k.
With the race not starting until 11:15am (basically the afternoon for me!), it meant I could enjoy an easy paced morning, a lie in and enjoy my breakfast from a bowl, which never happens!
Laura, my PT and owner of F!T Hub, was doing the warm up for all the races that day. I arrived just before 10:30am to collect my number, find the others and wait to start the warm up. The buzz at the start line was great, the children’s races had just finished and ice creams were being lapped up by the small, red faced, humans.
Just before 11am, the warm up started and I was strangely feeling nervous. Mainly because I wasn’t sure of how my calf was going to hold up. I took it easy and tried to focus on anything but the race. This was my second year running it, and I knew exactly what I was in for. The hill, at the end, that had to be endured and trail paths through the winding woods. We stood and waved the 10k group off, then lined up at the start. I was chatting to the girls, joking about gunning it to be First Lady, and that’s when I decided I could actually go for it!
The countdown started, the horn buzzed and we were off. I started with a few other ladies for about the first quarter of a mile. I soon lost them, legs feeling good, I followed the route and told myself to just run. Passing through the woods, out onto the country lanes, my watch sounded at the first mile. I quickly looked down and saw I’d managed a 7 minute mile. I brushed it aside, keeping my head focused on the finish line and my ears alert for anyone coming behind me. A few of the younger boys passed me, but for the majority of the race, I was running alone. The sun was shining, temperature not too warm, my legs felt good, so I carried on what I was doing. Running hard and fast.
Running down a rather long decline, I used it to let me legs ‘go’ and recover for a bit. From my NYC training last year, and the race itself, I learnt a lot about running up and down hills. I swear though, no matter how many times I face them, I think they’ll always be feared. Especially this one at Checkendon!
At around mile 2, we reached THE hill. I felt sick at this point, and trying to forget about it, used the younger boy in front of me to get me as far up as I could go. Less than half way and I had to walk fast. I met a group of girls taking part in their Duke of Edinburgh, and they cheered me on as I continued to make my way up. I started running again, checking if anyone was behind me, and out of the corner of my eye I could see one of the ladies I’d started the race with. As I reached the top if the hill, I noticed a sign “we told you it was breathtaking!” which made me smile and I continued on. Praying for it to be over, my watch hit the 3 mile mark and I could see the finish area. Not long now, through the field, back into the woods and a brief walk again. Another younger lad passed me and gave me the push to run again. Hearing the cheers, I turned the corner and ran to the finish line. Crossing it in 25 minutes, no PB but being told I was First Lady, I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I found Laura and Ellie’s husbands, and little ones, to cheer the rest of the team in.
Saying goodbye to everyone, Anne and Laura kindly decided to wait with me to receive my award. Now, I HATE being the centre of attention, so felt quite embarrassed with all eyes on me! I quickly shook hands with the lady, had my photo taken and marched off to the side! Congratulating the other winners, I said goodbye to Laura and Anne, and made my way home for a much needed coffee and to see my parents. My mum was waiting for me on the doorstep, with a huge hug and I gifted my bottle of beer to my dad!
Huge well done to the organisers, I hope you managed to raise a great amount for the local preschool and a massive congratulations to all the runners! I can’t wait to attend the event next year!