On my blog, I recently discussed how I’ve had a change in my running mindset which has encouraged me to run further and for longer during the last few months and for healthier reasons than the one that originally drove me. This positive step resulted in my entering of the Cardiff 10K on September 3, so I wanted to share my experience and the impact this race had on my fitness goals.
Why I started
I initially started to run because everything seems so busy on a daily basis, I needed a way of switching off and I particularly needed to move away from screens and devices. I wanted to feel healthy and active again and this desire encouraged me to run longer distances, starting at running an average of one mile per run and moving way past this following numerous runs spanning over a couple of weeks.
Why I decided to enter
After just a couple of weeks, I managed to run 5K for the first time in over a year and a half. For me, this was an incredible achievement but I realise it would seem small to some. However, after this, I started to believe in myself and thought that if I could run 5K in just a few weeks of training, then I could certainly manage to run a 10K. So I decided to enter the Cardiff 10K which was only five weeks away at this point. Although I was a little terrified, it was an incredibly exciting prospect, especially as one of my goals for 2017 was to enter a race of some kind so I was feeling very positive about it.
I will hold my hands up and admit that training was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. 10K would be the longest I’ve ever run and I find it so hard to increase my cardiovascular fitness. I decided that I only wanted to run three times a week with the aim of increasing my distance one mile per week. Although this doesn’t sound too difficult, the whole process required a lot of motivation, running in the rain and running even when I felt very busy and as though I didn’t have enough time. The race forced me to train and take some time out for my own wellbeing three times a week and after every run, I felt the exercise high and couldn’t help but feel very proud of my progress. However, at some points, the progress did stall and I started to worry whether I could actually complete the 10K at all. I only managed to run 10K for the first time on the week of the race which was a little scary – the ultimate definition of cutting it fine.
When race day arrived, I was very nervous and I think everyone around me knew it. The weather was quite rainy and bleak and I never usually run in the mornings so this was quite a change for me. We arrived early and the anticipation before the race was very high – I just wanted to get started and waiting around was making me feel worse. I was running with my best friend, Rhodri, and fellow blogger, Abi Street so when the race was ready to start, we all queued up to warm up and get in the right mindset.
I will admit I was happier when the gun sounded and we were able to start running. I was a little bit gutted that I wasn’t able to run with headphones but when we started, much of energy was used to concentrate very hard on sticking to my pace and finding my stride – the first mile of a run is always the hardest for me.
As we were running along, I couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of relief every time we passed a sign notifying us that we had completed another kilometer. But I was surprised that I was able to cope with the distance without feeling too out of breath or weak in the legs! For the last bit of the race, I wanted to pick up the pace and ended up sprinting across the finish line to help cut down my finishing time. I managed to complete it in one hour seven minutes without stopping or walking at any points – I was gushing with pride.
For the 10K, I was raising money for Kidney Wales. Kidney Wales organised this 10K and it’s a great cause to raise money for, so I was thrilled to back this charity. Overall, I raised £172, smashing my target of £100. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support that I received from friends, family and even strangers cheering us on during the race which helped keep us going, especially at points of incline. My fitness levels have increased tremendously during my training and I now will comfortably run at least 5K on the majority of my runs, which is such a significant improvement for me and I’m completely surprised that I’ve reached this point. I would love to enter another race and for anyone thinking about entering one at some point, I would highly recommend just signing up and doing it!