In early May I ran 10k with the Lady Garden, a gynaecological charity aiming to raise awareness for gynaecological cancers. They want women to stop being embarrassed about their bodies and start talking to people about any gynaecological concerns they might have.
This is the second year of Lady Garden and while I completely missed out on it last year, I made sure I could run this year. This year they also had two running distances – a 5k and a 10k. I signed up for the 10k. I am now quite comfortably running 5k distances again but 10k? The last time I ran a 10k was for the Winter Run when my goal was to finish and not be in too much pain. Now I wanted to run it in under an hour and to run it without stopping.
The run was taking place in Hyde Park and the weather was perfect ie really cold when not moving and positively balmy when you run. The wonderful, wonderful thing was that I wasn’t running this race alone. I was meeting with Sabrina who writes at Anxiously Active. Thanks to social media she has become a wonderful friend of mine and as someone who doesn’t run often, wanted to challenge herself to run the 10k too. She was so brilliant at recruiting other friends that by the time I met up with her there was a little group of us running this 10k, all with our own goals.
Unlike other races, race packs were to be collected on the day. I suspect this is because it is a small race (with maximum 500 runners). Once we had all collected our race numbers and new shirts (Lululemon ones no less) we waited for the race to begin. There was a group warm up taking place by the bandstand but we were all far too busy taking photos to join in! Oops.
The two races were going to take place in waves, with the 10k runners starting 15 minutes before the 5k runners. Once we started running I found it so easy to get into a running rhythm. I started off slow and as the race progressed started to add some more speed to my running. The course was mostly flat with a few uphill sections and downhills thrown in for good measure. Before I’d known it I’d run 5k and it was time for the second lap.
I usually don’t like races with multiple laps but this one I enjoyed. The route was meandering so still fresh the second time round since I remembered barely anything. Along the way there were Lululemon cheerleaders and I can’t thank them enough. They were amazing and waving the best signs.
I really pushed myself with the second lap. For the Winter Run I faded quickly by the time I reached 6, 7, 8k and had to stop and walk. This time round that didn’t happen and I actually felt strong. My ankle was hurting but not a crazy amount and my knees were absolutely fine (woohoo). I hoped so much I’d finished in an hour!
And drumroll please…… I finished in 56.37 and even more brilliantly, for the first time that I can remember ran negative splits! So my second 5k was faster than my first. And I am so glad the numbers reflected how I felt (strong and in control).
Once we’d all finished (and everyone ran sub-60 minute 10ks – YES) we collected our medals and a goody bag (full of tea and tampons) before heading our separate ways.
It was such a brilliant day and this run has given me some of my confidence back again.