Race for life 10K – Portsmouth

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Yesterday, Sunday the 20th July 2014 saw me take my poorly foot, against the doctors orders and take part in the Portsmouth Race for life 10K event in aid of Cancer Research UK, on the beautiful Southsea seafront!

I got all my kit  ready the night before so the morning could run as smoothly as possible as the day started very early at 6.30am on a SUNDAY! Ergh, it was tough, still dark outside lol. Got dressed, got my race number on and was out the door forgetting to take Ibuprofen for my torn ligament, fail!  Got down to the sea front and it was really bloody cold, no jacket with me as I hate carrying it so just had to deal with being a bit chilly for an hour whilst we listening to the DJ’s from Heart FM talking all about the cause we were there to support.

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It was an emotional day for me as I was running in memory of my daughter Laken’s nanny who sadly passed away 6 years ago in August. I stood and listened to a young girls personal experience of Cancer and there was a real sense of sadness in the air as we looked around and read each others memorials on the back of our T-shirts. I didn’t have any supporters with me as I went it alone but met a really nice fellow runner who was also on her own and began chatting. We soon realised we were in the minority of “Serious” style runners as we glanced around and saw a sea of tutus and crazy costumes and laughed about how they would regret their outfit choices half way round when their tutu’s started chaffing lol. I became glad that we barely knew each other as we both had to take part in a rather embarrassing dance-style warm-up, which everyone else was really enjoying but probably would have been more enjoyable after 1 or 2 cocktails lol

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We were then split in to groups of runners, joggers and walkers and were sent to the front of the line. I was happy to be in the runners group, it made me feel really good about how far I have come so far. I stood in the line waiting for the race to start, shuffled my music player and was greeted by “Eye of the tiger” as we began the race, it amused me greatly!

We then began the just over 6 mile race, the first lap was tough as everyone was finding their pace, people were running in the way, over-taking, slowing down, but I managed to keep a steady pace of 9.54 throughout the first half. If you ever get the opportunity to run in Southsea I would definitely recommend it, the sea views and cooling breeze was amazing, a really lovely place to run. The first half we were a little short on support from the side-lines as the race began at 9am and I can only assume everyone was either in bed nursing hangovers or just having a much deserved lie-in.

As we approached the first lap mark I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread that we had to do that whole length all over again because who was I kidding, I certainly hadn’t found the first 5K easy after having 6 weeks of foot pain and very few proper runs. I decided to just carry on running despite a progressive worsening of pain in my foot through-out the race. I had the idea that as soon as I stopped the adrenaline would stop and it would hurt more.  A few people dropped off and walked in the second lap, I couldn’t blame them, as I myself wanted to stop on many occasions but I guess my pride got the better of me and I refused to give up. I just remembered what my fiancé said to me when we first started running, “If you feel like you are getting too tired, just slow down, never stop” so I slowed down, I thought I did anyway but my mile paces only varied by a few seconds each mile so I managed to stay pretty much the same through-out the race despite the pain. The crowd was a lot bigger this time, the sun had come out and it had began to be almost unbearable to run in, I poured my water all over me about 4-5 times during the race to try to cool down. It was hot, I just kept thinking it’ll be over soon and I will feel amazing. It’s crazy how much mental strength it takes to finish a race when every part of you is telling you to give up, but you just don’t, that is will-power at its best!

Having just lapped the walkers, reaching the 500 metres to the finish mark was one of the best feelings ever, I couldn’t believe we were nearly at the finish line. The final stretch was rammed with well-wishers cheering everyone on, they might not have been there for me but it felt like it. I sprinted the last stretch, greeted by a few lovely people who gave me my medal, a bottle of water, a chocolate brioche and a Pink Lady apple! I managed to cross the finish line in 57 minutes and 59 seconds 🙂 I was happy with that, although my Nike running app said the whole course was only 5.89 miles which is a bit of a bummer. I kept up a pace of on average 9.55 per mile which is 15 seconds slower than my very best 10k at the peak of my fitness before I hurt my foot but hey ho, I have a torn ligament so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I slumped onto the ground and had five minutes rest before being given a home-made lemonade from a Kenwood rep, then I set off back to my car. I had a real sense of achievement as I walked through the crowds of women ready to do their 5K’s after our race.

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I did it! My First 10K and I could not be happier, although my foot probably could be….
4 weeks of R&R and I should be back on my feet.

Until next time…

N x

PS if you want to sponsor me there is still time, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/nikkismithbaby

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