We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Dunbar 10K - Small is Beautiful

This year's running plan includes a number of races of different lengths. No personal bests, no big goals, I just want a bit of structure and more race experience.  Races are good discipline - they make me run harder and faster than I do if left to my own devices and I usually feel pretty good afterwards. Plus they make me sociable and remind me that being a runner is more than just running.

Yesterday I ran my first Dunbar 10k. I really enjoyed it, the whole event captured so much of what I like best about running in races.  Small, local, human sized with plenty of space to run my race my way. There were probably about 300 folk signed up (going by the vest numbers). Lots of people seemed to come from running clubs and there was a very healthy looking mix of ages, shapes and sizes. I was one of many older women which was great as well as being a good kick up the bum for thinking that age needs to slow you down!

I drove over and got there in good time to catch the end of the preceding 3k and junior races. It's great to see young runners and believe me some of them were very young. They had by far the best medals I've ever seen and environmentally friendly too. Sadly these were only for the younger runners!

I hadn't expected to know anyone at the race, but it was great to bump into Claire, Stuart and Neil from North Berwick and there was a lovely friendly feel about the whole thing. I hovered round waiting for people to gather at the starting line just in case I missed it or somehow got lost (yes I know it's not rational, but I get nervous). I had a long wait - this is what the start looked like 10 minutes before the start.

Things looked a bit different looking the other way as multi-hued runners milled about.

A few minutes later we were all huddled round the start and we set off bang on time. I was at the back which is where I stayed all the way through only moving up the pack marginally. I set my pace and stuck with it; 180 bpm, focussed on glutes and posture.

The race was pretty flat to start off with, running through a housing estate and then under the A1 onto quiet roads and farm tracks. I could see the bright tops of the front runners in the distance. A longish incline took us up to the 3.5k point. I thought of Jon Burdon on the autumn Chi Training course and did my lean, shortened my steps and got my arms going. Little steps, big breaths and a lot of sweatiness and I reached the top just before my lungs packed in. The view was worth it. From the flat bit at the top of the run you can see right across the Forth to the Bass Rock and beyond, it would have been criminal not to take that view in. Look at those ploughed fields - I do admire great ploughing!

After a flat km along the top it was downhill back towards the A1 and then back under the road. A short loop round was probably the worse bit of the race as I couldn't see the turnaround point until I was quite close to it and it felt like it went on forever, but then we headed back along a quiet road and path towards the sports centre. The last bit was through a nice bit of woodland.  As I ran towards the finish line I felt I was running quite well considering I was knackered. My form was not too bad, nothing hurt and I managed a sprint at the end.

A goodie bag with something for everyone - snack bar, water, crisps and a small beer (!) followed by tea and sarnies in the hall. You can tell Belhaven Brewery is just up the road!

I finished in 1.04 hours - 10 minutes longer than my previous pb. I was 203 out of about 212, 70th in my gender and 9th in my age/gender category which feels quite good - but I suspect 9th out of 9! However, none of this matters a jot as long as I can do it.

It was the first time I'd run this far since last year's marathon. I was delighted that nothing hurt at all, despite me pushing things a bit and no aches or pains the next day. However, I do need to build capacity and stamina.

Despite being right at the end, I got a really friendly welcome from the marshals and helpers at the finish line - special thanks to Claire and Stuart for your smiley friendly faces. I hope I didn't worry Neil too much with my end of race red face and gasping, I remember at primary school I got stopped from running in events because I do go a worrying shade of purple when I push it.

The Dunbar 10k is a delightful, friendly and well organised race. Every bit of it worked like clockwork, the marshals were great, so encouraging and smiley which is just wonderful when you're slogging at the back of the pack like me.  It's definitely one I want to do again.

Now I have to decide what race to do next. I quite fancy the Haddington half in August, despite tales that the  hill at about mile 10 is a killer. My experience so far is that in smaller races I'm definitely one of the slowest finishers so that might mean that if I do the Haddington one and walk a bit up the hill I get home after they've all packed up. I don't mind being last but I do worry about keeping marshals etc out too long.  I need to think a bit about my plans.

The next event is the Chi Running Camp in May which I'm really looking forward to.

Hope you're running is going well

Take care


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