You know when you know full well that you are woefully under prepared for something but you do it anyway?
That was me on Sunday at Run Norwich 2016.
Last year I took part in the first Run Norwich 10k, and enjoyed it so much that I decided to run it again this year. These days I mostly run shorter distances. I like to do sprints (well, maybe LIKE, is too strong a word) to try and up my fitness for Roller Derby and I do strength training. When I have a race coming up I’ll then throw in a few longer runs in the weeks building up to it, just to make sure I’m still in practice.
But this time, well, things were quite busy and I just didn’t get chance to do those longer runs.
Sunday dawned and I peeled myself off the bed after a tough Roller Derby training session the day before. My hips were achey, but I made myself a bowl of cereal and headed out into the glorious sunshine to check my bag and queue for a portaloo.
Standard race day stuff.
Run Norwich have made a few welcome changes to the start of the race. This year our colour coded start pens were staggered, with 2 minutes between each group. They’d also moved the start line down to in front of the market, which meant the narrow bottle neck that saw peoples PB dreams shattered into dust last year was no longer an issue.
This year my husband decided he would run with me. I don’t normally like running with other people, I find it hard to pace myself, but I figured as it was my husband I could just ignore him if it got tough. So we headed off, a little slowly to start, but then settled into a pretty comfortable pace, that actually had me on track for my best 10k time in a while.
It was hot though. Goodness me. I gratefully grabbed a cup of water at the 4k mark at Carrow Road.
Then, at about 6.5k I started to feel my lack of preparation catch up with me.
The last time I ran a 10k was on a pleasant April spring morning, that was a long time ago, and the weather was very different! My legs started to feel watery and wobbly and weak.
I tried to run through it, thinking it would pass. Then at 7k, thankfully just before the second water station, I had a full on meltdown. I felt like my throat was closing up and was gasping for breath. I had to stop and sit on a wall. It didn’t feel like my asthma and I realised quite quickly that it was likely a panic attack rather than anything physical, and managed to calm myself down.
It was actually pretty terrifying. I’d never had anything like that happen to me before.
We walked around the corner to the water station where I gulped down another couple of cups of water, and then tried to set off again on a gentle jog.
Those last 3k were hard.
I had to walk a few hundred metres up an incline at the top of Prince of Wales Road, but finally managed to cross that finish line at a run! Not that you’d know it, seeing as the official race finish photo in which I ran triumphantly across the line with my husband, holding hands, features only a photo of my husband and my right arm. Great.
So yeah. For the first 4 miles I was on target for a time of 1 hour 39 seconds. But by the time I’d collected my medal, goodie bag, water, banana, and picked up my bag I’d already had a text message telling me I’d finished in 1 hour 6 minutes 15 seconds.
But hey, I still got my medal, and, more importantly, I got my voucher for a free can of Adnams Ghost Ship.
So I’m totally still a winner. I also learnt a very important lesson, that you can’t run a 10k at the same pace that you run a 5k, if you haven’t actually run a 10k for 4 months. Note to self, next time train better, or go slower.