Today was a boiling hot day; heat was beating down from the sky like hard rain. I am dressed in my pink and black tutu, pink top, pink legwarmers and pink cap. Dedication on my back to my girl Sarah who has survived a fight with leukaemia after a replapse and a bone marrow transplant.
I'm very excited about the race, hoping to hit under 30 minutes in a 5k for the first time, I feel very strong and powerful at the moment, and thought this would be a great opportunity to see if I can do it. Hook up with my girl Simone she has her tutu on as well so we are two black and pink fairies running the streets. She has a knee injury so will be walking but we hang out until the start.
The warm-up goes on for a bit too long, the race is meant to start at 10:30 but we do not start until 10:50, the heat and the warm up is sapping my strength and I have drunk most of my water already, not a great start.
The atmosphere is great, hundreds of women, and a sea of pink, we are not the only ones dressed in costume, there is lots of other tutu wearing fairies both grown and small. I can see a woman dressed as a nun and also another nutter in a furry rabbit costume, crazy especially in this heat, but each to their own, who am I to criticize when I am dressed in a tutu!
There are many women little girls and women with children in buggies, lining up on the walkers side. There are people with touching dedications on their backs, remembering loved one's lost, or those who have survived their fight with cancer. Men there to support their girlfriend's, wives, daughter's, granddaughter's and friend's are lining the streets.
When I found out Simone was walking on her own (usually there is a whole group of us doing this race, but today is is just Simone and I, this must be the third time we have run this particular Race For Life) for a moment I think about walking with her, but decide it is important that I am honest with myself about what I want to get out of my running and today I want to run as fast as my leg's and the heat will allow me. I am a little concerned feel a bit light headed, but decide it is just my nerves playing with me and nothing more. I have run in hotter temperatures than this, this is not the heat of the Caribbean, I will not be defeated.
The horn goes off and we part company, I am right at the front, so my path is clear I am not going to get trapped among the masses. I am also aware that I do not want to go too fast or I may burn out. I clutch the rest of my water as if it is made of the finest gold.
I run next to a women and realise we met the week before at the Wokingham half marathon we talk for a while but the fast pace and chatting is using way to much energy, so I tell her to go on run her race as I do not want to hold her back.
After a while I get my breath back and I am able to pick up the pace again, I soon catch up with her once more, this time she slows down saying it is too hot to keep up her pace.
Now I am concerned she is obviously a good runner having finished the London marathon in 4 hours 45 minutes, if she is struggling, will I? I continue, trying not to worry, trying not to guzzle all my water, just taking tiny sips to wet my throat, my pace is steady and strong and my tutu gets the crowd shouting out encouragement,so far so good.
Last mile and I have almost run out of water, I ask a guy who is supporting by the road side, if he can pour some of his bottle into my almost empty one, he does not have much left, but gives me his bottle I thank him profusely touched by his kindness, at this point I do not care if he has lurgies, I need water. I continue running, glad for the extra water, the heat is searing I try to find spots of shade but they are not always forth coming, so I end up zig zagging around hunting for the tiniest shadows.
Body check no stitches, no aches and no pains, it’s a miracle, the old bones are holding together, I am breathing pretty loudly but that is it. I keep pushing myself, happy now that I will be able to make it to the end. 500 metres and I am close to the finish I keep going, keep pushing, keep running, keep telling myself I can do it, I am starting to feel emotional as I realise I will post a very decent time.
I finish in 26 minutes 17 seconds I have never run a 5k faster than 30 minutes today is a big day for me, 9 months of consistent running is starting to pay off.
The plan was to run then go back find my girl Simone and finish with her, but I am honestly too, too tired to even contemplate that plan. Rob is at the finish to greet me, and is grinning from ear to ear proud of my achievement. He has seen me through all the training I have been done since last September seen the struggles and the tears and is now seeing the joy, the speed the power and strength develop.
I take a breather, lean against a wall for a moment to recover and after some water, I am ready to try and find Simone, but a couple of minutes later she is in front of us, I cannot believe she has completed the race so quickly, considering she has a knee injury, 31 minutes in fact, she said she could not stop herself from running and that her knee held up fine, I am very proud of her. This is a woman who ran until she was 8 months pregnant that alone should tell you how determined she is.
So that is my running story for today, I am enjoying my new found health and fitness, enjoying placing one foot in front of the other and seeing what happens. I am still growing, learning and pushing myself to new heights the journey has only just begun.