As I splished splashed and sploshed through the muddy puddles, bringing an assortment of twigs, leaves, small stones and the odd discarded Mars Bar wrappers with me, stuck to the mud collection I’d picked up, Noel called out. He had to call out, as usual he was so far ahead I could hardly see him, he’s pretty nippy, you know.
“If I’d said to you seven years ago that you’d consider 10km a short training run, would you have believed me?” The wind carried his question across the field and down the path.
Seven years ago this weekend, I was wondering whether I’d die from the exertion of running a full 10km. For me, the distance seemed impossible. Yes, I’d walked that distance and then some, but running? Proper running? And in a race? What the hell had I got myself into? At MY age?
It was Ruth’s fault, she was getting back into running after having young Joe and suggested I might like to join her for a gentle jog, she’s persuasive like that is our Ruth! Of course I nearly collapsed after 100m, but she persisted, suggesting we go for a ten. A ten? I asked. Ten what? Ten servings of cake? A trifle excessive, but I’m always prepared to make sacrifices where cake is concerned. No, it was nothing to do with cake, it was kilometres. We were going to run the Dewsbury 10km and we did, we actually did! Ruth, Noel, my friend Liz and I, along with 1000 or so other runners. I never thought I would, but I really did, not with any great speed or style, but I did it and enjoyed it, well that’s what I said afterwards anyway. At the time it was hard and the furthest I’d ever run.
I still have the tee-shirt I earned that day, it doesn’t fit, it’s a little loose, I’ve not totted up the kilometres I’ve run in races, or just for fun since then, but it’s a few pairs of shoes worth and I’m not even going to think about the stresses and strains on my sports bras. I’ve progressed from slow plodding to not-as-slow plodding, leaving road running behind wherever possible and heading for the tracks trails, hills and fells, loving the mud, snow, and anything else nature could throw at me. Not so keen on the sheep poo, though. I’ve made so many friends on the way and am building up quite a collection of medals and tee-shirts, though I’ll always treasure the first tee-shirt from a proper run.
This year I’ll be doing a lot more running and racing, wherever possible involving mud. Did I mention I like mud? I won’t win any prizes, not for speed anyway, though I do like to pride myself on my style and artistic interpretation.