I’m not a runner. Some would say I’m built for comfort, not for speed. But on Sunday I did something I’ve never done before. and I was totally terrified about it. I actually ran the London 10k run. And I finished it too. I made a promise to the Connecting Women in Technology project team that I’d run with them in aid of the Sands charity. One of the ladies on the team had lost her daughter at 11 days old, and had struggled through our last event with amazing courage. Her daughter would have had her 4th birthday on the day of the event – yet she still held it together for the day. What an effort that must have taken.
So running this race was the least I could have done for her. But, as I said. I’ve never ran more than 200m since I was at school. Eek! So with advice from the experienced runners from Cisco, Dell, Microsoft and Nortel, I downloaded a running plan (6 weeks to get to 5k) and followed all of the recommendations. Moving from 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, to 5 minutes running 3 minutes walking made me sick with anxiety, and 5k stretched out like an unachievable object, weeks ahead. But I got to 5k, slowly, but I got there. Then worked up to 4 miles then 5 miles, then got to last Sunday. I was awake from 0300hrs, terrified, sick, anxious, with no belief that I’d ever get to the finish line, no confidence at all. But I’d made a promise – and I was going to do my damndest to get round somehow…
Me, and 27,000 other runners started off in Piccadilly (here’s most of us outside the Ritz before we started). The atmosphere was like a carnival, and it was great fun waiting in the queue to get to the start line. 40 minutes later the 11 women in the team, set off, knowing that the elite athletes at the front had already completed the run!
The first 5k was relatively easy – I’ve done this a couple of times in my training and it was great to be running amongst all of the other people running for charity. The 2nd 5k was hell. Blazing sunshine, hot and sweaty temperatures and not enough drinks stops either. The sound of the ambulances rescuing people behind me was strangely comforting though and I took solace that I hadn’t yet collapsed in the heat. I ran the last 4k with Louise from Dell who slowed down, bless her, to run with me, and this is me – not walking – just before the finish line 🙂
So I did it. Something that I never imagined that I’d ever attempt after 14 weeks of not too hard training. But it was SO nice to stop and meet up with the other runners in the melee (I think that Jane was more delighted than me to see that I was still alive after all!)
I had some amazing experiences – being overtaken by 2 runners also running for SANDS who wished us luck and strength to carry on. Total strangers cheering and clapping when I passed and getting to join in a rousing and echoing chorus of Oggy Oggy Oggy with about 1000 other people running through the cool tunnel along the Embankment before the 5k mark. A Magic moment. And the knowledge of course that all of the donations we received helped us reach our target sum. For that, all the stiffness and wobbly walking since have made it worthwhile.
Would I do it again? well if you’d have asked me at 0500hrs on Sunday morning when I was vomiting with fear I would have said NO! But now, 3 days later, I’ve realised that I’ve conquered a huge limiting belief. A belief that pigeonholed me into believing that I’m not a runner. So now, I’ll work on improving my time for the next one…
So this has certainly proved to me that anything is possible if you actually believe in yourself, and I’ll certainly bear tat in mind when confronted by something that scares me in the future.
So have I got the running bug now? I’m already planning my route around the country lanes to try and improve my running speed. So I think that I’ve actually turned my fear into a positive feeling.