Does This Make Me A Runner?

It’s 6.50am, grim outside this morning and still dark, it can’t decide if it’s going to rain or on the brink of snow.   The clock change only gave us a slight reprieve in the morning daylight stakes before work.

It’s day three after the local race I entered into, my muscles still ache to the touch despite the training I put in and in my head I’m saying to myself you deserve a little rest to recover….meanwhile there is voice in my head telling me you need to get back out there, carry on what you started.

….It all started sat in a meeting 8 weeks ago and as I glanced out the window a bus came by, on the side an advertisement for a Mens 10k.  It peeked my interest, one of those meetings where I was probably only needed for a fraction of it and I’m embarrassed to  say I probably put the URL in my phone then and there so I didn’t forget.  That evening I signed up and I’m pretty sure that didn’t make me a runner, no more than buying a copy of Mens Health makes you any fitter.

I needed a training plan and fortunately the guys at BUPA and the Mens10k provided.  I took the easiest route through them (on the mens 10k I was 4 weeks behind!) and the bits that suited my schedule.  In the main though I ran two short runs during the  week and grew out my distance during the weekend.  I even stuck to the regime during my week to Sorrento.

Maybe this made me a runner?  I hadn’t asked myself that question yet….I blatantly was in the space that I hated running, however I’d committed to something so my intention was to stick at it.   I got a little faster during the week and on the weekend amazed myself, despite having to wog as I call it.  A walk and a jog.

Race day came round quickly, the last time I’d ran a race would have been 25 years or so ago – high school, a track with 7 other faces and a task of running around it 4 times to see who was the quickest.  On this occasion, a thousand or so folk all revved up and raring to go, people on the same journey as me and people aiming to beat the personal bests, some good some bad, some old some young.  Was I runner now?  Stuck in amongst all those folk ready to conquer a 6 mile/10k beast on a cold Edinburgh day.

I still really hadn’t thought about that question.  I remember the elation as we set off and a feeling of awe, how many times do you get to run down the Royal Mile and as I turned the corner my family waving me on.  The elation carried for the 1st kilometer and started to turn into thoughts about how cold it was.  I was fairly locked into the 45minute pacer guy in that I could see him in the distance and if I kept that thought I would be doing ok.  Around the 3km mark I was thinking I’m ok I can do this, although the cold wind, and thoughts of needing the toilet crept in.  Turned the bend into Holyrood and the wind really caught me.

At 5km I took a sneaky walk before the possibility of seeing my family again.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder, a gesture of encouragement to get going again.  The 45minute man wasn’t in sight anymore and at some point I was expecting the 50 minute pace guy to come by me.  Water station…..yes I could do with a sip….and then I saw my family cheering me on.  I unintentionally splashed water everywhere but my mouth and handed the bottle to my son.

At the 9km mark there had been more than a few fits and starts but I was in the final phase……50 minute man came by me and for some reason I figured he must be 50 minutes from the time he crossed the start line which was probably 10 mins after I started so I was doing ok by my reckoning and probably on the 1hr mark.  Gregory Porter, Don’t lose your steam started to play on my headphones and the lyrics ‘young man get me to the other-side’ started to resonate…..  I tried to hang onto the flag man.  As we crossed the gates into Murray Field I was horrified to find out we had to run round it!

I made it though and a few seconds after the finish a text came through on my arm with my provisional time.   51.21.  Surely some mistake!  I checked on the fitbit and the time said 10:53.  We started bang on 10am so by the magic of race power, almost like a secret hidden magic carpet I’d been pulled along.  I’d amazed myself.

So am I runner……does 8 weeks count, does a single 10k count?  I did ask myself that question on the bus on the way home, as I hobbled up the steps to the top deck as my limbs started to seize up.  If I was a runner surely I wouldn’t feel like this…..but then again was this what running was all about?

I think if I get up tomorrow in the dark, put my trainers on and put one foot in front of the other then maybe I am!

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