November 24th 2008
Yesterday I competed in the 10k Grasse run with 1800 other like minded lunatics on what felt like the coldest day of the year so far. Today I can't bend my knees or negotiate stairs. The race started in the centre of Grasse and looped up to Magagnosc and back down again, so uphill for 5k (horrid) and downhill for the last 5 (expecting easier but still horrid).
Now I knew I wasn't going to win (the fastest time was under 30 minutes) but anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a teeny weeny bit competitive. I try and beat myself on training runs, comparing times with my previous run, working out kilometres run to the nearest centimetre, resetting the milometer and doing the entire route by car so I know exactly how far I have run (I used to work for The Sun so I always add on half a k for good measure) and if I run in 35 mins and 55 seconds, I'll always round that down to 35 mins. You get the picture.
So why, in amongst a crowd of almost 2,000 runners was I pushing myself to overtake every other runner I could see, knowing full well that at 42, just finishing the course without having a seizure was a major achievement?
My friend Lucy is a very good runner and we made the mistake of talking strategy in the car on the way there. Other people are asking, what time are you trying for, so I am thinking, everyone else is really fast here, I'd better run like the wind and damn the consequences.
The highlights were the bands playing jazz, bongo drums and Maroon 5 along the course and seeing Issy and Livvy on the balcony of their friend Lily's house cheering me on. Even if I came last they wouldn't care. And of course, the finish line.
Lucy came in at just under 50 minutes and my time was 51.59m, so a result, even if I was confined to the sofa for the next 8 hours with throbbing calves the size of melons. I suggested stopping off for a late lunch after the race to save me cooking, to which Issy said: 'In your running gear? I don't think so.'