I am exhausted!
Today it was the big day: the Do It For Charity Santa Run in Greenwich Park. A friend and I were running for Lupus UK.
Yesterday, I went to stay at my friend’s place, so we could drive to the park in the morning. We had so much fun last night… There was a lot of gossip, laughs and swearing! Fun, fun. Today, we woke up at 8am. I was shattered.
I have to admit it was cool sleeping in Ben 10 covers, next to a Darth Vader Lego night lamp! My friend’s kid has all these cool Lego, and if I hadn’t been that tired, I would have stayed up playing with the toys… Ah, I love Lego!
Anyway, so yeah, I was tired this morning. I knew I had to eat something, but you know how it goes… My stomach went into a no food strike and decided that it didn’t want to eat anything, so I just had a coffee, knowing very well that I would feel awful afterwards.
We took the cab and picked another one up, and drove to the park. It was so cold… I was just shaking like an idiot, and thinking: why do I get myself in these things? Why did I decide to organise this thing? Yes, my friends, I decided to organise this run with some company co-workers, after someone in the office suggested it.
We picked up our Santa outfits and as soon as I was wearing mine I felt much better already. I felt warm again. We found other people from the office, and did the warm up together. From my point of view, it was more of a being silly and dance, rather than an actual warm up. There were three green morph suits doing some strange moves to Gangnam Style, Party Rock and other songs… Ah, I missed the English salsa style!
We got ready at the start line, and I saw someone from my team at work, so we started running together, and just chatting, to keep a slow pace. He was doing 5k and I was doing 10k. In some strange moment, possibly a drunken moment, I had decided to run 10k. Now, true I’ve been running all summer… But also true I haven’t taken it very seriously. I had barely managed to run 5k without having to stop for air, or almost collapsing. The longest I had ever run without stopping was 6k once. Yes, just once! Last couple of times I went running, I had to stop at 3k and walk for a bit. And, to top it off, due to unforeseen circumstances, I hadn’t been running in the past two weeks.
You can imagine how sure about doing 10k I was feeling. I had little hopes of achieving my own challenge. None. Zero.
So we were jogging at a nice, slow pace, and chatting away. At some point, my running buddy decided it was enough of a warm up, and wanted to run ahead and finish his 5k at a good pace. I wished him good luck and kept running slowly. I was going to make it!
Greenwich Park is one hell of a hilly park… It was so hard!! I managed to run the 5k without really stopping, just running very, very slow at some places (no, I didn’t even stop to run uphill!) but still running. I was reaching the finishing line, and there it was, the choice: if I turned left, I would be done, 5k without stopping and I could already go rest and have a nice drink of water… or alcohol! If I turned right, I would do another lap around the park. I thought about the hills, and I knew my legs would not be able to take it for long… Do you know what happened then? I saw these two girls running. They were both holding this sort of device, two big rings attached by a small chain (like big handcuffs), and they were running together. I looked closely, and the girl on the right was actually blind, so the one on the left was guiding her. I was approaching the crossroads, and I said: that’s it, you said you would do 10k, now suck it up and do 10-f***ing-k. So I turned right.
This was difficult. I could run for a while, but the first mini hill going up killed me, so I had to walk. I started almost dragging my feet, but decided I needed to do power walking. If before I had been running extremely slowly whenever I was tired, just above walking pace, now I would do the opposite and walk as fast as I could, just below running pace. Wow! That was really hard on my legs, but I managed to go uphill, and started running again. Downhill, yay! Now careful, don’t fall down and just go rolling.
Then, there was The Hill. The one going from the museum towards the observatory (not the really steep one, but the wide one, the road one) and then I couldn’t do it. I had to walk again and I kept thinking about all the reasons I had to do 10k, and realising they were not such good reasons after all. In any case, some random people on the sides see you, and see that you’re tired and want to give up, you’re uncomfortable with the oversized Santa top, and you’re pretty much trying not to lose the big massive red trousers (one size fits all, my arse) and they cheer you on. You don’t know them, but they clap and shout at you to go on. And you go on.
I had to stop, but I ran 10k. First time ever.
I’m really proud of that mighty feat. This is my second challenge in a narrow window of time: 50k words and 10k running. Even if I am exhausted now, I feel good. Even if my right hamstring hurts as hell, I feel good.
I can’t wait to go to sleep now. Unfortunately, Darth Vader won’t be there looking after my dreams.