On Saturday May 20th, I raced for the first time in 2 years, 7 months, and 15 days. That's a long time between races, but it does kind of show how much I have been struggling and for how long. My last set of races was back-to-back half-marathon weekends (Ealing and Cardiff) in 2014. I really enjoy racing, so if I was loving running then I would have been racing in that time.
So, as you know, I signed up for the Royal Parks half marathon in October, and I decided I better get in gear for it, and what better way than to start with a race to just make sure I still had it in me! So, I picked the Nice Work London Spring 10km in Regent's Park. I've run this course a few times before - my 10km PB is on this course! It's three-laps around the top of Regent's Park and it's not very interesting (except when you run past the zoo at the end of each lap!).
It was hard. I struggled a lot, and there were times when I just wanted to stop and lay down on the grass and never run again. I've never struggled so much in a 10km race before, and I don't think I've ever had to push myself so hard before to find the joy. I ran with a friend, which I think kept me going a bit. But, I pushed hard the whole way around, and I'm really proud of that.
I have learned that I'm still not really that fit. I'm right at the start, again, and that's so frustrating. But it's also part of the learning curve that I have to go though in order to really recalibrate my expectations for myself, and in order to improve too. In that respect, this was a great experiance. I'm really proud of myself for doing it, for pushing so hard, for not expecting too much of myself in terms of time, but still putting the effort in. I think that's how I have to play training for a while - effort, not time.
And - I did manage a sprint finish!
Chip time (also, amazingly, Garmin time): 1:07:00