Sunday, 17 June 2012

First Race!

I have run my first race! It was a relay race in Derby and the Jog Duffield group I go to decided to enter as a team and I'm proud to say that after 7 weeks of running, we were honourably the LAST team in! Yay!

But lets put this into some perspective, we are all new to running, I've been going slowly since January, but only in the last few weeks have I been really pushing myself to run for a longer period of time.  The longest I have run for is 24 minutes and managed to run up my first hill a couple of weeks ago without having to have a gasping recovery.  I also gave up smoking 6 months ago.
Darley Park, Derby. When its not wet...

So when the first group at the Hairy Helmet Relay set off at full sprint and returned after about 15 minutes, I had my suspicions that we were not going to be up with the winners! So when Linda returned and tagged my hand, I set off on our second leg way to fast for me, the need to run not jog out of the start was too strong and I paid for it when I reached the hilly bit and couldn't sustain it, not only that, I was breathless and worn out before 1km. Duh!  I never really got into any kind of pace and my usual counting didn't help.  My plan of taking it steady, using the downhill to recover from the uphill to then go steady on the rest of the flat course disappeared.

As the testosterone sprinted past me time and again, I tried to calm myself and enjoy the race, but to be honest, I hated every minute of it.  I was way too far outside my comfort zone and my Monkey Mind was screeching very loudly.  I trotted in puffing and panting at about 26 minutes, unable to speak despite having walked part of the course.

So as a first experience of a race, I found myself asking if it was a good one and I have to say categorically YES.  The support and friendliness was amazing, I chatted to one lady at the start who said she was there for the fun of it and for having a goal to aim for, she advised me to build up gradually before setting off on her lap, the whole atmosphere of the event was great, our last runner was joined by two members of The Derwent Runners who ran the course with her and kept her company.  Our team of from Jog Duffield, who 7 weeks ago couldn't run for 10 minutes, stood and cheered her over the finish line. 

My learning curve was massive, don't let the nervousness and tension of anticipation ruin my run, to try and relax into the running, to try and get that usual pace that I am comfortable with so I can sustain the running, to ignore the sprinters charging past me and don't let that demoralise me.  I am running my life at my own pace and that I should be proud of what I achieve.  For someone with self esteem issues, this is a massive realisation.

I'm already planning my Race for Life strategy for July using the above factors.

The free pint of beer at the end was possibly the best I have ever tasted.