Seems that now I'm training, and thus writing and talking about running for 5k, people's imagination is limited to other running I can do. This time: Parkrun Banbury. 'It's fun, it's social and you get coffee', she said. I'm running for coffee now...
A friend had asked what I was doing this Saturday. I told him I was doing a running race. "I don't wish to be rude, but I can't help myself: you don't look like a professional athlete," he said as he laughed himself into a coughing fit. He has a point. Not unless cake eating is a sport.
All I wanted, I suppose was two things. Actually three. Not to finish last. Not to fall over and to get a personal best - that being pre-race, a dismal 48 mins. Earlier in the week, my nominator had sent me the times for the previous race results and it was looking very likely that I'd be needed a genie if I was going to avoid my three things.
"Those times are the marshalls'" she said pointing to the slowest times.
At my current ability, I would be marshalling the marshalls.
In true athletic style, I prepared fully for the race. I did not train the day before, unless one considers mowing the grass exercise. I adhered to the sex ban often imposed on top athletes pre-tournament. I ate as many carbs as I could (yay!) and I went to bed. Very late.
So it was a bit of a shock when the alarm went off, and I had to jump on Fierce Fanny before I'd even had a morning coffee (I daren't in case it came back to haunt me in the race). It was, thankfully, a gloriously sunny day - which is a very rare thing this June. I'd hoped it would be rained off, but sadly not.
And once I'd found the race, there were several hundred people all milling around, and as many shades of psychedelic lycra as I've never wished to see. Others had dogs, some had pushchairs and some of them would fail the height restrictions on an Alton Towers ride. I was to be beaten by children for sure! I edged towards the back of the throng and then we were off.
My running companion for the day has legs significantly longer than mine. Much, much longer. She is also considerably fitter and more experienced at this running malarky. Poor thing had to walk backwards, hop and skip in order to maintain my pace, all whilst giving me directions 'only two more loops to go' and 'we're just off down this way twice'. We'd not really got very far when the race leaders swooshed past us. Some of them were breathing in a slightly elevated manner. I was, of course, hyperventilating.
"800 metres to go" the marshalls yelled. Only, those words weren't directed at me as we ducked off to do the second loop of the second loop.
"Sprint to the finish" she yelled. So I did, only to find that it was a group of marshalls congregating and the finish line was still several hundred metres away. Mind you, it was the fastest I moved all day and helped me get my personal best: 45 minutes!
15th from last. And I didn't theatrically fall over the finish line.