HOPE – Hold On..Pain Ends!

I’m sitting in my back garden letting the sun dry me off after a very hot bath which hopefully will have eased my aching muscles a wee bit. ‘And why do you have aching muscles?’ I hear you all cry … Well, I have just completed my first ever Park Run, a 5km run around Hove Park. This is quite a major thing for me because after babies my back was weak and pathetic and prone to give out at the mere sight of running shoes. Consequently, after a few half hearted attempts to run the half a mile down to the beach and back, I swore I would never run again.

But 10 weeks ago my friend Linda persuaded me to join the beginner’s course at The Brighton  & Hove Women’s Running Club. After my new found love of body strengthening yoga and masses of walking I thought it may be time to push myself a little more. I also wanted to do something I could do with Millie (mother/daughter bonding and all that), so I signed us both up.

Millie lasted 2 weeks!

I, on the other hand, embraced the manky feet, sore joints, sweat and personal challenges and kept going. Our goal was to enter and complete the Hove Park Run so every week we were encouraged, pushed, encouraged some more by the lovely ladies at the club. We did hill training (ouch and grrr), sprinting, longer and longer runs and time/distance challenges (ouch and hooray).

As the weeks went by my body seemed to remember that I used to be quite a good runner. I was the school’s star distance runner and even though I didn’t take it further I did make it to borough level; cross country in the winter and 800 & 1500m in the summer. I hated the cross country. I loved the 1500m. Then I went to sixth form college, discovered pubs and boys and I stopped running.

Then decades ago (literally) while living in Australia, I ran Sydney’s City to Surf for two consecutive years. Looking back it seems like the 8kms was a walk in the park! But I do remember Heartbreak Hill!! (The clue is in the name….Double ouch!!) I was young, much fitter, had James, my even fitter older brother, to train with ….. and there was beer and beach waiting for me at the end!

So today, 22 years after that last ‘proper’ organised run, I did another.

I set myself three challenges before I ran:

1) complete the 5km

2) do it without having to stop and walk

3) do it in under 30 mins

I managed one of these challenges but I’m not going to beat myself up about the other two. Yes, I walked for a minute or two, and I didn’t quite make the time challenge, but 32.10 minutes isn’t too shabby for a first timer. It hurt…a lot, but I feel so good and so proud of myself. A huge thank you to Linda who ran the last km with me and to all the gorgeous running club volunteers who cheered and clapped us on. The endorphins that surged through my body once I could breathe again gave me a real high! I can see why it’s addictive!

Maybe next week I will break the 30 minutes. Oh Dios Mio! I’ve become a stats/running bore already. Someone stop me before I sign up for next years marathon…..please!!!

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