I'm sitting here with a cup of tea, some chocolate and my pjs on, having just got home from the Grasse 10k run. It's a great race which I did last year for the first time in 51 mins 59 secs (sadly obsessed that I remember, I know.)
Anyway, after some serious training sessions and a run of the course last week in 51 minutes (this was after a very late wine-fuelled night with Karen and JP) I had high hopes of beating my time this year. I have made a pact with myself that when my times start getting slower, I will have to stop competing as what is the point in doing worse rather than better?
Kicking the partying the night before might help but I have always had a healthy respect for runners who like to party til the small hours before getting up for a run. My old friend Shane Starling, who worked for Men's Health, is the perfect example of a hardcore party animal who'd stay out all night on our London Marathon warm weather training trips in Spain and Lanzarote while all the serious runners would be in bed by 9pm after a plate of pasta. Then he'd get up, frequently after an hour or two of sleep on a sunbed by the pool, and knock everyone else into a cocked hat on a 15k volcano run fuelled on vodka and adrenaline. Shane, I salute you.
It was with Shane in mind that I went out for dinner last night to Sara and Adrian's, which I couldn't resist even though I should've had an early wine-free night before the race. Sara cooked an amazing Thai meal and two and a half bottles of Chablis later (the boys were on red) I was beginning to think the race might not be such a good idea.
Awoke this morning to torrential rain, the first for almost two months, and it was so tempting to roll over in bed and go back to sleep but we dragged ourselves up and out to the centre of Grasse old town, where hundreds of runners were arriving. It might have been damp and miserable but spirits were high. They were playing Jump by Van Halen as everyone gathered at the start and call me a sap if you like but I can't help getting emotional at the start of a race....I always cry at the beginning of the London Marathon, whether I'm running it or watching it on TV. All non-runners/couch potaties can skip the next bit as it won't interest you one jot.
The gun went off at 10.34am and everyone took off. I decided on a new strategy. Have been quite stressed of late so I emptied my mind of everything and ran as fast as I could to catch the 50 minute pacer. Once I had overtaken her at 7k, I concentrated on maintaining my speed and went for it in the last kilometre. My mum, a fantastic county runner in her day, always told me to never look back (a good mantra for life too) and I was so obsessed with crossing the line that I forgot to look at the stopclock at the finish line so I am completely in the dark about my time, except I THINK I did it in under 50 mins. 49 something will do nicely.
I know you are as excited as me about finding out my time (!!!!) so I will be back later to put everyone out of their misery.........
omg 47 mins 07 secs