If you had told me eight years ago this weekend that I would be sitting here updating my blog after a ten-mile training run in preparation for my latest muddy, hilly, windswept half marathon, I’d have laughed so hard my wobbly belly would have split the industrial zip on my size 14 trousers.
Sunday February 3, 2008, the Dewsbury 10km. My first ever 10km, my first ever competitive race, the first time I’ve ever pinned a number to a tee-shirt, and at my age too. I wore the wrong clothes and too many of them, I was too hot, I had ill-fitting trainers and I hadn’t been to the toilet enough times (I now know pre-race toilet visits run into double figures).
I thought that would be it, a run past my old stomping ground, where I’d worked happily and another place where I was unhappy, where I had been treated very shabbily. I’d half a mind to drop my shorts and show them a full moon as I ran past, but the logistics were beyond me, plus it was rather parky that day, you can’t risk frostbite.
But I kind of enjoyed that overheated run, I still have the tee-shirt and it still fits. Noel enjoyed it, at least he told me he did. So that was it, then, we’d do a bit more of this running malarky. As it turned out, we have done quite a lot over the past eight years. I remember thinking I would never ever be able to run 5km, let alone 10km. Now my week isn’t complete without a parkrun and a training run of 10km is just that bit too short.
I’ve a collection of medals so big that I can hardly open the cellar door where they are hanging over the handle. Well, it’s as good a place as any and they do make a glorious clanking noise. I also have more technical tee-shirts than I can fit in my kit cupboard and I’m not going to reveal how many pairs of running shoes I have. Needless to say that they are all essential. And I seem to have lost weight and dropped a dress size. Result!
I don’t keep a tally of the races I run, or mark them off on a list, and definitely don’t expect to win. I take each race as it comes and enjoy it to a greater or lesser extent, depending how muddy I get. But I now know what makes a workable running wardrobe, and I know where all the toilets are.
I haven’t run the Dewsbury 10km since, maybe I will in 2018 to mark a decade of running. In the meantime I’ve a few half marathons to train for this year and maybe, just maybe, think about not a marathon, but an ultra. Sounds daft, but an ultra seems like it will be more fun. Mmmm, I’m beginning to wonder whether all this running has affected my sanity.