I’ve learnt something new about myself this week. I can get really upset (and even cry) because of a finish time in a race! I feel myself cringing just thinking about it, but to be fair to myself I need to examine this. Recently I have been doing well at Parkrun. My 5k PB time has gone from 31 minutes down to 28:48. Lovely Becca dragged me around ZSL London Stampede 10k and we achieve 60 minutes dead on. Both the half marathons I have run this year have been PB’s – so I expected myself to break another record.
Then on Sunday morning, the morning of Oxford Town & Gown, I piled another load of pressure on the run. Two of my very dear friends, who by coincidence have the same name and even more strangely, the same spelling of their name, shared some distressing news with me. Not knowing what else to do for them, I promised I would run the race for them. Now I had to cross the finish line in under an hour.
Keith was working, but it was OK because I knew some fellow Run Mummy Runner’s were going to be there. In fact they were some of the first people I saw as I entered the gates of University Parks. The tribe socks can be spotted miles away! I got chatting to them and found out that they too were trying for sub 60. Great I thought, we can try together….
It was busy, hot and my mind decided to play tricks on me. By 4k, I had convinced myself they were going too fast for me, so dropped back. If I had have bothered to look at my watch, it might have helped me to see that they weren’t pushing too much. In fact they were running just slightly faster than my pace at Parkrun the previous day without any trouble. Still I decided I would run my own race. I would high five all the children, thank every marshall and smile as much as I could.
I was feeling really tired when I hit 7k. Maybe it was a stupid idea to do Parkrun the day before after all. I tried to pick up my speed. I was hitting just over the 6 min per kilometre mark. I knew then I wasn’t going to get there…. but I had to, I had to do it for my friends. I felt as though their outcomes were dependant on whether I managed a sub 60 minute 10k. I sped up again. At the 9k marker I glanced at my watch. 55 minutes! I knew it wasn’t dead on 55 minutes either. I have never run a 4 minute kilometre in my life before, but I decided to give it a go. At the 400m mark, I kicked on even more. Across the uneven grass – why just why would you finish a race on grass! I was running as fast as my legs could carry me and upsetting another lady in the process…
…1:00:51 read my watch.
I was so upset. I’d failed my friends. I’d failed all the people who were routing for me to break the 60 minute mark. How could I call myself a runner? How on earth was I going to complete my training for New York marathon.
I know, I know it sounds dramatic. It was. I was a mess!
I couldn’t find the bus stop to take me back to my car and when I did, the bus pulled away as I approached it. I couldn’t even catch a bus. I was stood at the bus stop with tears rolling down my face.
When I finally reached the showroom to pick up little J, I was still emotional. I saw Keith and cried again. The poor man.
As they days have passed by, I have come to my senses. I have reminded myself my run times can do nothing to change the outcome for either of my friends. My runs cannot bring Skye back. My runs will not ensure my children stay healthy. What they do do though is show my friends that I am thinking of them. They allow me to wear my charity vest and run for Skye (although I didn’t for this race – maybe that was it!). They allow me to see I am stronger than I ever thought I was and I can be a good role model for my children.
I know I will run a sub 60 minute 10k one day, but right now I am happy, I have all the time in the world…