Not having run for well over a year I decided to do something about it, but knowing I wouldn’t just go out and start I needed something to give me a kick up the backside.
So, just over 5 weeks ago I signed up for this year’s Vitality London 10K (what used to be the Bupa London 10K) in the hope that this would give me the incentive I needed to get my trainers out and to take a good look at my health again.
With 5 weeks to get ready, I put together a training plan and started to work towards the big day’s race.
Things were going well for the first couple of weeks. I was taking more care about what I was eating, and I ticked off all of my training runs. Great stuff!
Unfortunately, I ended up having a migraine that lasted for days which put pay to training for most of the third week. I wasn’t happy about this but I was confident a couple more weeks of training would be good enough to get me ready for the big day.
Again, just as things were going well again I hurt my left heel. Okay, jumping out of a plane probably wasn’t the most sensible of things to do a week before a 10K but my Christmas present from Shelli had been postponed no less than 3 times up to that point and I was desperate to get it done and dusted.
My final week of training was spent with a strapped up left foot and a lot of apprehension about being able to actually run, let alone making the distance on the day!
Now, for most people that would have been enough to either call off the whole damn thing, or at least be a little concerned about race day. True. I was worried about getting round the course. There was more though.
A couple of years ago I had my first panic attack in Reading. This was around the time I was taking my depression seriously. I’d never ever had anything like that before, and ever since I’ve suffered quite badly with social anxiety.
Things I’d not had a care in the world about doing in my previous 40 odd years were now almost impossible to do. The thought of actually taking part in the race – being surrounded by thousands of people – was a very big deal.
The days leading up to the race were difficult. As the morning drew ever closer my insides were tossing and turning. My head kept on telling me I wasn’t feeling well – sore throat, I felt sick, headaches etc. – and that I should just not bother. My fitness was one concern, but I knew that I had to go through with the run regardless of how I felt.
The night before the run I was talking to Shelli about it all, tears rolling down my face, and she was absolutely amazing. She is my rock and I most definitely wouldn’t be able to do things like today without her. Love you honey.
Race day came and I was up at my usual time to go to work. I got Snow up and we went for a walk round the village; just the two of us. My nerves were playing up a bit but I was determined to make sure that they didn’t get the better of me.
Everyone (Shelli, Asri and Eleni) got ready, we said goodbye to Snow, and off we went to the station, joining quite a few other runners on the platform for the train to Paddington.
We walked over to Green Park and all too quickly it was time for me to go and join everyone else in the queue for the start line; the bit I was absolutely dreading!
I had my swanky new headphones on with the playlist I’d put together the day before playing. It helped but I had to fight back the shakes and tears a few times as the minutes slowly ticked by for the general runners to start the race.
I knew I’d be okay once everyone got going, and that’s exactly what happened. Once we started to move and I stepped over the start line everything was fine.
Okay, I say fine but it was ridiculously hot and by the time I hit the 6km mark I was all but spent. The heat was completely sucking the life out of me! I wasn’t about to quit though as I was determined to run the full course, and that’s exactly what I did, even managing to find the energy to sprint the last fifty or so meters to the finish line, something I completely attribute to seeing Shelli and the girls just before the 100m marker!
I’d done it. I’d completed the course in a time pretty much the same as the last time I’d run it. My heel held up. My head hadn’t gotten the better of me. I was over the moon, exhausted, but over the moon for making myself face the challenge head on and get through it.
I met up with the girls, and after a quick clean and change of t-shirt we headed to Wagamamas for the traditional post-race feast!
I’m pleased with my performance considering how badly the training had gone, and I’m proud I made it to the start line. I don’t doubt for a moment that I won’t struggle again the next time I have to go out but for now, I’d managed to beat my anxiety into submission which was an amazing feeling.
Here’ to the next race!
Below are my results (taken from the official Vitality London 10K results page) for each year I’ve completed the race, well, the Bupa London 10K up until running it this year.
|Year||Place||Place (Age Group)||Place (Gender)||5K Time (HH:MM:SS)||Finish Time (HH:MM:SS)|
|2017||7832 / 12400||599 / 1437||4945 / 6337||00:30:11||01:02:58|
|2015||7840 / 11988||691 / 766||4895 / 6144||00:30:43||01:02:34|
|2014||8154 / 12225||722 / 858||5111 / 6263||00:30:49||01:03:25|
|2013||5428 / 10610||542 / 650||3857 / 5575||00:29:14||00:58:10|
|2012||6831 / 10522||619 / 687||4328 / 5440||00:31:30||01:05:43|
|2011||6511 / 9808||2801 / 3350||4228 / 5200||00:30:46||01:04:05|
|Start Elavation (m)||End Elavation (m)||Max Elevation (m)||Min Elevation (m)||Total Climb (m)||Total Descent (m)||Climbs on Route|
More information about climb ratings can be found at Map My Walk.