On 12th September I ran my first race in 3 years. This should have been my graduation from the Gosport Road Runners beginners group but due to injuring my Achilles I never completed it. However, because it was better, and because my lovely friend Eileen offered me her place, I decided to run. I was running the Absolute Running Summer Series 5K. This was the fifth and last race in the series.
Before I begin, let me tell you about Eileen who gifted me her place. You might have seen her featured on parkrun’s page. Eileen is in her 70’s and such an inspiration. In the 1980’s Eileen was a cross country champion and has a sub 3 hour marathon PB! I can not imagine our parkrun family without Eileen in it. She’s an absolute hoot and as cheeky as they come. Thank you Eileen for the place. Here she is finishing her first parkrun. Read Eileen’s story on the parkrun website here
I really wanted to do well in the race and use this as a bench mark for future 5k races. I took my nutrition on the day really seriously, looking up suggestions of what to eat and drink during the day before the race. I also kept a close eye on the weather reports. It was saying there would be rain and high winds. The day time was actually quite nice but as the afternoon progressed in to evening the sky turned dark and as I looked out of the window, the trees in my garden were swaying frantically in the wind.
I got down to Stokes Bay early and was a bag of nerves! I met up with Kieran and we went and collected my number which I then pinned on my top, and then re-pinned it when Kieran told it was neither straight nor central! We then headed out to the start rather leisurely, thinking we still had plenty of time. However we’d both read the wrong start time and had to rush! As a result this meant my Garmin wasn’t ready! I hadn’t had enough time to find satellites before beginning so had to start it a little way in to the race. In a way though this sudden rush at the beginning meant I forgot all about my nerves.
For the first portion of the race I chose to run for as long as I could but tried to hold back a little to allow me to run for longer. This worked quite well but I was soon breathless. At the minute I’m finding my breathing difficult. I usually stop running, not because my legs want to, but because I can not catch my breath. The wind, which was now around 25mph, was taking my breath away.
A special mention for this race has to go to the marshals. I knew pretty much all of them and what a difference it makes having marshals shout personal encouragement to you. They were so cheery even in the awful weather conditions.
The race heads along the sea front at Stokes Bay and then does a loop around the GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue) building twice. GAFIRS were having a training exercise where they “rescued” six people involved in a pretend boating accident. I saw the team put through their paces and the coastguard circling overhead bringing in their casualties. Here they are hard at work. If you want to read more about their training exercise it can be found here
Soon I’d completed my two laps running for 30 seconds and walking for one minute. As I came off the second loop I saw the 4km marker. It was starting to get dark at this point and then the rain started. It was coming in sideways due to the high winds and my left side was soon soaked right through. The rain felt like small pellets hitting me in the face. After seeing the 4km marker I decided to try and run as much as possible mainly to get out of the wind and rain! I could see the lights of the race HQ in the distance and kept my eyes on them the whole time, apart from when the rain was that bad I couldn’t actually open my eyes!
I finished the race in 45:53 beating my parkrun PB by over a minute. I was so pleased. It wasn’t until I got home and uploaded the result that I realised I’d also beaten my 5K PB from 2012 when I was running regularly! I was so surprised and really pleased. Now I want to keep chipping away at my time through parkruns and my new running plan. Fingers crossed!
Thanks to Ben from Friendly Photography for the photo!
If you want to read Kieran’s race report, it can be found here