Up until the Sunday just gone, the furthest that I had ever run in my whole entire life without stopping was 3.5 miles. That was one month ago and was something that I was incredibly proud of and that I had found VERY difficult. Between then and now I had done next to nothing; two 1 mile runs, and an attempted 3 miler, which had been cut short thanks to an almighty stitch about 40 yards in.
So, it was not with an awful lot of confidence that I found myself at the start line of the Blenheim Palace 10k run on Sunday morning. (Not helped by the fact that I was actually on the loo when I heard the start gun go off!) With me was my friend Sophie who, 24 hours earlier was not planning on doing the run at all and so was head to toe in borrowed clothes, and my other friend Minty who, even though she tries to claim otherwise, is a little ninja when it comes to exercise.
Unsurprisingly, Sophie and I lost Minty in the first kilometre, not only was she the superior runner, but her leggings didn't keep falling down as ours did and she clearly knew what to expect and had armed herself with a set of snazzy bluetooth headphones. By now the three man dream team was a two man wolf pack.
After seeing the sign letting us know that we were a kilometre in, I got a stitch and we had to slow our already pitiful pace down to a walk as I worked out how the bloody hell I was ever going to breathe again... not the greatest start. But before long, it had eased and the next sign that we saw let us know that we were 5km in. Half way! Suffice to say Sophie was happy to see this one...
This was officially the furthest I'd ever run after we passed this mark. Yeow! After this sign was the biggest hill that I had ever seen and I realised that we were going to need to call in the big guns if we were going to make it the rest of the way and so I started to employ my distraction tactics, AKA the games: You're on death row, you've got a three course meal, cooked by the best chef in the world, what would you have? Then, you've got 5 weeks, all expenses paid to go anywhere in the world, where would you go? This sort of chit chat got us to 7km. When another stitch happened...
After this photo was taken we saw the guys that were spectating us and ran so so quickly spurred on by their cheers, in fact, we were feeling SO good that Sophie even had time for a bit of dabbing mid route.
Now I'm not going to lie, the last 2k weren't the easiest thing in the whole world, but much sooner than we expected we were at the end and somehow even found the energy for a sprint finish.
And you know what? The whole thing, it was fine.
A big day, that neither of us had even slightly prepared for, but really, it was fun. In my head, before Sunday, 10Ks, Half Marathons, all of them, were saved for the pros - it didn't occur to me that if you were struggling that you could walk, that there would be people doing it who were slower than me, that it could actually be FUN. But how wrong was I?
When we needed to, we walked. When we thought we were the un-fittest people in the whole world we looked around and realised that there were hundreds of people in our position, and the minute we set off and realised that talking was ALLOWED, we realised quite how great the day could be.
Sophie and I did it in 1hr13mins which we will be the first to admit, was NOT quick at all. But we're proud of it and we've already decided that we're going to do another one in May because it really was that fun. We also want to beat our time next time we do it, which we figure will be easy enough if we actually, you know, train!
I cannot recommend an event like this highly enough, the whole day was so fun, the atmosphere as much as anything and it was made even better by the mahoosive burgers that we had after we'd finished. It wasn't one of those days that you just have to get through, it was one of those days that will stay with me forever, my first ever 10k!
So if you've been umming and ahhing about the idea of doing an event like this, remember this post and sign up, I can almost guarantee that you won't regret it! Good luck! xxx