It’s safe to say that I’ve been a stereotypical geek where sports are concerned. You know the sort – always picked last for sports at school, and came up with a variety of ways to avoid P.E. lessons wherever possible (helped by a secondary school that let me swap PE classes for additional academic classes).
Last February, a mate suggested that I join him to do the Great South Run – a ten mile run in Portsmouth. My initial reaction was that I could never do that. I’d never run a mile before, let alone ten. And I hadn’t done any running at all since school.
But then… the fact that I’d never done anything like it before also seemed like a good reason to do it. So, I signed up.
Training for the Run
I didn’t have a very scientific training plan – it was basically “go for a run when I can spare time in an evening or lunch break”. My first run was in the last week of February. I managed a couple of miles around Hursley. And that was in total – I had to stop and walk a few times on the way round.
I recorded most of my runs in dailymile – one of the things dailymile can give you is a total number of miles ran each month:
There was a blip in Apr-May – when I went to Cyprus for what was supposed to be a week, and got stuck there for a few weeks when the volcanic ash cloud grounded all flights. And when I did get home, I’d gotten out of the habit of running, so didn’t do anything for another few weeks. All in all, I ended up going six weeks without a run – putting me back almost where I’d started in February.
In the last week in May, I started again – and from there, I kept trying to increase my pace and my distance.
According to dailymile, in total my training consisted of running 152.21 miles which I spent nearly twenty seven hours doing. To be fair, that’s a pretty big investment, time-wise.
The big day
I got ill a couple of days before the Run, so was feeling pretty rough. But I was determined not to miss the Run.
And I’m glad I didn’t. It was an amazing day. The feeling of joining over twenty-three thousand fellow runners, the support you get from thousands of people cheering and clapping you all on, the sense of achievement once you’ve done it… it’s indescribable.
And for me – it was a hell of an achievement. Back in February, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it – to run ten miles, in one go, without stopping. For me – the lazy, non-sporty geek – this was a really big deal. I’ve never done anything like this before.
All entrants get a chip to go on your trainer. The mats on the floor at the start and finish (and a few other locations for split times) record when your chip goes past. This means you get a very accurate personal race time.
They even SMS it to three mobile numbers that you nominate before the run. It’s pretty cool.
My time was 1hr 44mins.
Not my fastest 10 miles, and not quite what I’d hoped for (under 1hr 40mins).
But, considering how weak I’d been feeling, I’m actually pretty pleased with it.
In fact, really pleased. Everyone who finishes gets a medal, and I am seriously proud of that little bit of metal. I earned that!
I’m gonna be doing the Great South Run 2011. And this time, it wont be to see if I can do it. It’ll be because it’s fun.