Wednesday 17 August 2016

The Norwich 10K Run #RN16

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It started as a suggestion. My son's football manager said he was entering a road race. I mentioned it, off the cuff, to the wife and she seemed interested in trying it out too.

'It would be a good way to get fit and lose some weight,' throwing the hint my way. I agreed and before I had a chance to back out she was on the internet, and checking out some details.

'Shall we do it together?' She asked and I replied with a silent smile.

'How long is it?' I then replied, and I swear to this day she told me it was only five kilometers.

That distance seemed achievable so in a fit of unity I agreed, and with that, she duly filled out the online application form for both of us. Later on, I put a posting on Facebook tagging Jim proudly announcing we would both be running the Norwich 5K. My wife replied, rather cheekily, that it was acutely the Norwich 10K run, over six miles!

Then it hit me like a slap across the face. 10K is a proper run, not just a walk around the block and because I had made it public on my personal Facebook page, there was no way of getting out of it without losing face. We were some of the last to register which meant I only had four months to get fit, and try and lose some weight as well. Every Monday would come along and every Monday I would say to myself that this is the week I will start training. Then I got an email from the event organisers to say I had to sign a fitness disclaimer and then I looked at the #RN16 race date. There were only ten weeks to go, and I had not run a single mile!

Boy o boy what a shock to my system that was. Next day I went out and started to pound the streets every day, for seven days a week I kept on running further, and faster, with the fear of failure always pushing me on. When the wife picked up the race pack on the Friday before the event I was just able to complete 10K.

The Norwich 10K was on the Sunday with a start time of 9.30 and that weekend was a sobering experience. Not a drop of beer, or any other alcohol, had passed my lips for the previous seven days as my nerves took a pounding. Family and friends were going to be watching on the day, and with my public announcement on Facebook, so were hundreds of other people taking an interest in what I was attempting to do. We were up at 6.30 am on Sunday morning and by 8.30 am we were in the city centre at The Forum waiting for the toilets (along with many others) as last minute nerves kicked in for both the wife and me.

Thousands of race goers were milling about outside City Hall and around The Guild Hall to the bottom of Norwich Market There were thousands of spectators lining the route. I kissed the children good bye and we made our way to our starting position. Various friends I had spoken to that have run road races told me the first one is always the most nervous one, and as the runners moved along to the start line as the race began I was not sure if the adrenaline rushing through my vanes was nerves or just plain old excitement. Whatever it was I was soon running with my head down as the large crowds cheered everyone on.

The first two kilometers were the hardest for me because everyone seemed to be over taking me, but I had made my mind up to keep to my own  pace. I had three goals to reach. The first was to finish, the second was not to be the last person over the line, and the third was not to be the last man running. As we were one of the last to register, and put down it was our first race, we were placed near to the back of the running pack as the faster runners were placed in the front.

By the four-kilometer mark I started to over take my first runners who had shot off in front of me earlier and now the pace was starting to hit them. By the halfway mark with 3 miles behind us, it was a long slog up Rose Lane, and we started to over take people who had to walk up it, and others who were in need of medical first aid. It was a hot sunny morning and by 10.30 am the heat was quite intense. I was determined to run the whole way, and not take the easy option of taking a walking rest before rejoining in the run.

With just one kilometer to go there were some runners who looked a lot slimmer than me, and who I presumed must also be a lot fitter, who were in a serious way and needing medical attention as the ambulance sirens could be herd in the distance heading towards the city centre. I kept to my plan and as the crowds got bigger, the wife and I ran across the finishing line hand in hand as our family stood there cheering us on.

As we collected our medals I must admit a tear of joy mingled with the sweat that was dripping down my face. We were given a goody bag and I could not resist taking a selfie of the triumphant couple. Once we had cooled down and rejoined the family we all headed to Chapel Field Gardens to the runner's village for a well-earned rest, and refreshments.

The buzz that I felt as thousands of people cheered me through the final last steps is something I will treasure for a log time. Both Daniel Jones Frenzy and Daniel Jones Doom have won awards so I have tasted success before, but I' hoping, just like with my first book in the Daniel Jones series, this is just the beginning.

Because next year I would like to add another medal to my collection, and that's the Norwich half marathon. And now I've made my attention public with my readers here on Always-hanging-around I better get my training shoes on again, and make sure I start preparing a  lot earlier because I have a feeling I will need more than ten weeks practice to get over that finishing line.



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