Sunday, 1 August 2010

A Day At The Races

Last night I dreamt that my running shorts blew away.

After a restless few hours, I jumped out of bed at 6:50am, flickering indecisively between dread and excitement. The past week was incredibly tiring, with not enough sleep and two bad runs in a row, and this didn't forecast the energy and stamina necessary for a 10km race. However, I love running, and races are the best way to enjoy it. Adrenaline is never so high, energy is never so concentrated, and the feeling of finishing is never as proud as when there's a finish line to cross.

We tucked in to overly-humongous bowls of porridge, sleepily hanging over the breakfast table as news stories ticked over the radio. We were still eating in our pyjamas when my parents arrived, and a stressful half hour passed as our nervous energy combined, pulling into lycra and aertex and fastening up our laces, carrying out the famliarly unnerving rituals that come with every long-distance run.

Heading out towards the starting point at York Racecourse, colourful runners walked, jogged and cycled alongside us, and the atmosphere was buzzing excitedly. As predicted, the racecourse was decked out with raceday paraphenalia; running gear tents, energy drink stands, St John's ambulance, banners and whistles and rows upon rows of portaloos, in front of miles of patient runners waiting for their final wee before the horn.

We assembled into a hub before the starting line, where I, a little behind schedule, decided I needed to use a portaloo. No time for that as the warm-up was beginning, so I crossed my fingers that running on a full bladder wouldn't be too harsh on my finishing time.

The horn sounded: we were off! The ardenaline swept from my toes to the top of my head, and I ran, happily, though a little too aware of my bladder. The route was great, if a little crowded; running through the city I love is one of the best feelings, as the Minster chimes above you, the Ouse swims below you, and crowds of runners' heads bob ahead in a colourful pool. Six thousand people all running in a group makes for a fantastic view through the city.

It was over too quickly! Though, if I'm honest, not quickly enough! I beat last year's time by 3 minutes, and since I was training harder then, this just reflects how lazy I really was on my first race. However, I was 6 minutes behind the time I was aiming for; I may be a little bitter about this! (it was the crowds! I couldn't get past the crowds!) The good news is that my bladder held out, at least!

Daniel and my Dad both did well - my Dad finished in an amazing 45 minutes (it was his first 10km; a completely different challenge to a half marathon), and the first thing Daniel said to me on meeting me at the end was 'let's do the New York marathon!'. We'll see, we'll see.

Replenishment in the shape of choclatey freebies!

After a tasty pizza lunch in a restaurant in town, and a day of full-on walking and chatting and laughing, I'm ready for some rest. An unquenchable thirst, aching head and tight chest remind me of the fun I had today, and a vitamin-packed soup is simmering on the stove as I type, ready to replenish my feigning energies and worn-out nerves. Already I can't wait for the next race, whenever that will be!


  1. Running baffles me. I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong I'm constantly astonished by the distance people can run but I don't get it! Give me two wheels anyday :D

  2. You all did incredibly well. Hope you enjoyed those chocolate freebies. New York awaits1
    Lisa x

  3. Hey!!! well done! I've been trying to leave a message on your blog (and other peoples) for a few days now - to wish you good luck - but it kept coming up with error each time. After many tries I gave up! Fingers crossed - I'm hoping that some kind of weekend blip has since been eradicated by Wordpress!

    Great to read about another successful race - well done to you - and to your Dad and Daniel ;-) Any news on the job interview? A x

  4. Yay - took a while to go through then - but it worked!!!

  5. Well, I admire you your stamina. I am not one for exercise, but I can imagine it must be fantastic to get all those internal juices working. You tell the story so well, too. It's a pleasure to run alongside but only in my imagination.