Ages ago, I signed up for a 5k night run with some of the girls from my triathlon club. And tonight, dressed in a pink tutu, pink fishnet gloves, pink legwarmers and a healthy dose of UV war paint – we did it!
Thanks to the grim British weather, there had been emails from the organisers saying that the event wasn’t going to have many of the run-through zones that it normally would, and I was unsure as to whether I would even bother going along. After all, I can’t run thanks to (a) a lack of running fitness and (b) two dodgy knees. I strapped the knee up with a knee brace, and wore my Brooks Ariel trainers because I suspected I might be tempted to at least jog a little bit, even though I know I really shouldn’t.
The girls were amazing though and insisted that it was fine to walk/run or dance or walk or jog or whatever our way around, and true to their word, they stuck with me the whole way.
There was a fun warmup in the Start Party area, with a couple of aerobics instructors. Sadly, my husband who was taking pictures of the festivities for us, had his (very expensive) mobile phone knocked out of his hand by a giant beach ball that was part of the game and it is now completely had it.
The course was 2 laps of Kempton Park racecourse and there were some fun zones on the route, including a foam party area, a section where men were squirting paint at you, and a couple of strobe lighting areas. The first lap was slower than the second and I remember thinking that the first km was taking forever. I often think that when a route or course is unknown it seems to take forever!
I did start out jogging, as the pace shows, but I didn’t last for long before I slowed to a fast walk. I put a little spurt on at the end to finish in sub one hour and there were odds and ends of light jogging, but mostly it was power walking. I was pleased that my glutes knew I was doing something anyway! There were more people walking than running anyway and I didn’t really feel bad at all about my walking.
In the end I finished in 58:41 and I can finally say I completed my first official 5k event! Job done.
What is really cool about tonight though is that I really don’t think that running is for me, certainly not right now, and I am absolutely and totally fine with that. Normally I get quite frustrated about things I’m not great at and push hard to succeed, but with running, I’m just not that bothered. I thought a couple of times on the way round the course this evening I would have been much happier on a bike. Give me a barbell and some heavy weights and I will absolutely give my all to lift them. Put me on a bike and I will get my head down and do my absolute best to be faster and better. I will get up at 5am to swim and I’ll spend hours doing lengths of the pool to eke out a couple of extra seconds. But running? Just doesn’t feel right for me right now, and that’s OK. There are so many challenges I see in the future – from bike centuries to rides to Paris to my first pull up to the day I nail box jumps – but a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k or even a more sporting 5k just do not feature. And I don’t feel lesser for that, nor inadequate. Maybe things will change at some point, but for now I will smash the swim and nail the bike, and jog/walk the run on my 2016 triathlons! It’s all good.
What’s also cool about tonight is the fact that two years ago it was just absolutely and completely unthinkable that I would be doing a 5k event dressed in a pink tutu, and smiling whilst doing it! Saturday evenings were for sofas and feet up and chocolate and pop, same as any other evening really. How much has changed that I now think nothing of popping out for a 5k with the girls. I love it!
And tomorrow I’m doing my first social ride with Reading CTC, a 35 mile ride to Henley at a moderate pace of between 10 – 12mph. I’m really pleased that this is a comfortable pace for me and it’ll be a good training ride. What can I say? I’m better on two wheels than two (flat) feet!