I knew this month would be a mixture of running and weddings, running to weddings. Or, to put it more precisely, running to a hen do from a race to prep before the bride-to-be arrived in my running gear, dropping off the decorations, running to the local gym, changing into my dress for the event and then helping to make the room look fabulous for my soon-to-be sister-in-law. And that pretty motivated me to get round the Women’s Running 10k in double-quick time. I knew I had to be at Clapham by 11:30, so realistically had to finish the race by 10:45 and then jump on the tube as it takes around half an hour to get from Finsbury Park to Clapham. What I didn’t anticipate though, was finishing the Women’s Running magazine 10k race in third place.
As you can tell, I pretty much planned how I was going to make that change from sweaty and smelly to well, a bit more glam. It was the bit beforehand, which I was not so sure about. I had come prepared to run the Women’s Running magazine 10k race as part of the awesome Write This Run’s team. I was also keen to try out my new adidas shorts and wear my new bright pink long-sleeved adidas top (I’m so glad I did as it was ruddy freezing).
So dressed in my new running gear and incredibly comfortable sole socks, I headed to my old running haunt of Finsbury park to meet the rest of the gang. It was a rather overcast morning and after chatting to a few other friendly faces, including Beki, Sian, Jess and Lucy, we handed in our luggage (or in my case a canister of helium, balloons, party decorations, enough make-up to transform me from a red-faced lady to something presentable and my outfit for the hen do) . I’m so glad they had a luggage drop, I’ve been to certain races where girls have had to run around the course in their leather jackets, which is great if you’re on some cutting-edge fashion shoot I’m sure but not when you’re aiming to get round in a reasonable time. It was then the all-important pre-race photo, which you can see above behind the Write This Run sign (from left to right, Becca, Laura, Mercy, myself and Gill), all except Charlie from The Runners Beans, who decided to make this part of her training for the New York Marathon and so ran eight miles to the start before beginning the race (you go girl). Good for her but it meant I didn’t get to wish my Speedy session pal good luck :(.
The warm-up started and you could just feel the enthusiasm and girl power from the crowd. After a few minutes of attempting but failing to follow the warm-up, it was all systems go as the few sub-45 minute runners headed to the starting line. The adrenaline was certainly pumping through my veins at this point. God knows why, but every time I race, I feel a barrel of nerves as if I’m at school Speech Day about to sing a solo in front of the crowd. We were all lined up and ready to go. I signaled to Jess to move up into the sub-45 group as she is definitely faster than she thinks she is. Jess didn’t move but I was pleased to find out later that she came 6th overall. I knew she could do it. After a 20-second countdown, we were off for a 2-lap race around Finsbury Park and it was every girl for themselves (in my group anyway).
The first half
Some women run and chat, others run to knock minutes off their PB, I think I ran this race to get back in time for my bro’s fiancees hen do. No honestly, I held back somewhat for the first 2k but then eased myself into second place for a further 3k.
No matter what anyone tells you or how much training you do, if you’re running at a fast pace, your legs will tell you so. I wasn’t so much tired but I could feel the squat challenge at Lunges & Lycra’s epic summer party on the previous Wednesday and my 15k from the day before kicking in. The route was also undulating, no let’s call it hilly, and a particular incline at the 4k (and 9k) was challenging to say the least. I knew my legs didn’t have it in them to hold onto second place and was passed at the halfway mark just after seeing Liz from Write This Run holding a sign saying “Where Is Everyone?” It was interesting (for me anyway) to see that the girl who took second place actually managed a negative split – did a faster second half of the race than the first. I’d love to know how she trained for this, so if you have any pointers please let me know.
The second half
After passing Laura from Life London Laura and Laura from Lazy Girl Running, who shouted “Go Becs” at me (thanks guys), I set off for the final lap, trying to come to terms with the fact that I may be in third place, but I may not be able to take my place on the podium. Should I slow down and let the person behind me take the glory? Hell no, I may not have my Olympic moment but I would pass the finish line in third place. I now knew what to expect in terms of the hills and was prepared for the final hilly climb to the finish line. It was still tough mind you and I added a minute on the second lap to my first but I managed to cross the finish line in 43:31 minutes (a new PB for me, whoop whoop!). I did feel slightly dazed as I all I’d consumed pre-race was a can of Pepsi Max but I was pretty chuffed nonetheless. I chatted briefly to Liz from Write This Run, gathered my stuff and sped on my merry way to my hen do for more fun and games. Unfortunately, this meant no prosecco, no cake, no tea and no presentation at the Women’s Running 10k. At the same time, I more than made up for it at my bro’s fiancees party and was pleased to be able to contribute in more way than one.
Despite my many commitments of the day, I really enjoyed the Women’s Running 10k race. It was the ideal get together of some of my favourite running blogger friends and was perfect for people of all abilities. Most of all, it felt like a celebration of women who just like to run. Anything that encourages more women to take part in running and builds their confidence to go the distance is brilliant in my book. One moment that stands out particularly in my mind was when I was completing the final kilometer, I passed a women with a silly hat on and she told me to go for it while laughing and generally enjoying the atmosphere. I remember thinking this is pretty much what it’s all about: women running together, supporting each other and having fun.
Did you take part in the Women’s Running 10k? Did you enjoy the day?