Having now been back in training properly for two months, I decided that it was time to up my game a little bit and take part in some events. One of the main benefits of being a member of a club is that you get to hear about what is happening locally, and try out some smaller scale runs.
I'd seen on the club facebook page about the Rose Inn race - held once a month in the summer, over a distance of 4 miles. I thought that would be perfect - a distance that I would be able to manage, but far enough to be a challenge. However, no one mentioned just how competitive it would be, or how flat the course is meaning that it's fast. On starter's orders, everyone flew off like a speeding bullet, leaving me at the back with one other lady, which is where I stayed until the end. I completed it though, and in a faster speed than I had ever run before, proving that competition is good for you, whether you are fast or slow. It's also lovely that a large number of the competitors hang about to cheer on the last finishers, which is a really nice touch when struggling the final few metres.
One of the main attractions of this event, is the free beer token which comes as part of the package - although in my haste to get the bar, I neglected my cool down stretches meaning sore quads for the next few days.
Feeling invincible after my Rose Inn encounter, I thought I might try a little further, and rocked up for a 10k at Pontypool Park last night. The event is part of the Gwent Leisure Centres League series, where local clubs compete against each other over various courses in the summer. I surprised myself by running the whole way - apart for a big mountain of a hill at 3 miles which I marched up, and I finished in 1 hour 6 minutes and 49 seconds. It was hard work at times; at around 5 and a half miles every muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop, but the sense of satisfaction on completing it was huge. The final part of the course is a lap of the stadium, where again the faster finishers wait to cheer on the slower competitors as they reach the end. One of the things I really enjoy about all of this is the camaraderie between runners; I think that most people appreciate that everyone else is trying their best, and the pace, finishing time or position really doesn't matter that much.
When I started running, 10k seemed like an impossibly far distance to complete, but now I can do it. I'm even enjoying it a little bit. As it's my birthday tomorrow, last night's run marked my last event as a senior lady; I officially become a veteran at midnight, which is all a bit much to take in. However, looking on the bright side, I am far fitter than I have been during the last ten years and I am doing things that I never thought I could.
Thank you for reading.