I ran the Richmond Riverside 10k on Saturday – one of the girls I raced with was my colleague Stephanie who as a relatively new runner, absolutely smashed her very first 10k! Here’s her experience:
I started running about six months ago and can confidently say that the idea of a race absolutely terrified me (they still kind of do). Having got quite comfortable with running 3 miles, the couple of 5k races I did were challenging – I found the race environment meant I really pushed myself – but fun. It was a distance I enjoyed and I was able to chat with friends and really enjoy the race, plus the medal made it all worth it!
Then I signed up for my first 10k. Although some people may think this isn’t very far, for me it felt very challenging. To keep a good pace for about an hour and not stop is hard, but Beki (Miss Wheezy) really helped by providing me with a training plan to follow in the run up to the race.
I followed this plan religiously and to be honest it’s that dedication and training that made me feel relatively confident at the start line, although when my alarm went off at 5:30am on a Saturday I did have a moment where I thought to myself “why the hell am I doing this again?!” Richmond is very far for an East Londoner like myself but once I arrived and walked out of the station I remembered why. As a group of colleagues/ friends at work we decided to use these races as an opportunity to explore places in London which we don’t visit often or at all, and Richmond is as beautiful as they come.
Full with anticipation the walk to the start line along the river was lovely and I couldn’t help feeling slightly smug that I was heading out to run early in the morning on the weekend, when most of my friends would still be in bed with hangovers.
After the necessary toilet stop (there was a pretty big queue so get there early!), we lined up on on the start line and before long Beki, Lauren and Katie and I set off along the river. I found the distraction of beautiful Richmond helped take my mind off the run and made it so much more enjoyable. It was a place I hadn’t seen before and I found myself taking in the sights, the sun even came out for ten minutes or so!
I wasn’t expecting the slightly rocky terrain however, and still can’t decide whether jumping over puddles and dodging rocks was a good distraction or slightly worrying for my ankles! Nevertheless the first 5k completely flew by, and I kept up a reasonable pace. At about the 5k mark we went onto flat pavement and I felt my speed soar as I really got into my stride – this was fun!
Going past the finish line at 7k to double back on yourself was tough but having a friend (Katie’s boyfriend Oli) cheering us on and taking photos spurred me on as we ran past. Having not reached10k in training and only 8k and 9k once each, the last few kilometres were what worried me, and I won’t pretend it wasn’t challenging. After 8k my legs felt like jelly and I could taste that morning’s porridge (sorry!) but I kept going and even though my pace slowed as I neared the finish line, I crossed it without pausing.
My time was a respectable 58 minutes 40 seconds – not bad for my first 10k if I do say so myself! I felt a real sense of achievement at completing a 10k for the first time and running under an hour. And like childbirth (or so I’ve heard) as soon as I finished I forgot all about the pain and couldn’t wait to do it again! As I received my lovely medal and got my race time printed off I felt unashamedly proud of myself and had a huge silly grin on my face.
The 45 minute walk back to Richmond town centre felt like an eternity with my shaky legs (not to self: must remember to stretch properly after a run) but we were soon to be rewarded with a yummy brunch at Muriel’s Kitchen. Refuelling with an omelette and sweet potato fries I couldn’t contain my excitement about completing my first 10K race. My friend Katie even commented at brunch that it was “the most hyperactive” she had ever seen me. I’m still not sure whether it was the energy chews I had during the race, if someone spiked my decaf coffee with caffeine, or maybe I was just excited! After a great race, and a wonderful day with friends, all I can say is bring on the RunThrough Hyde Park 10K in April!
Thanks Stephanie for sharing, and congrats 🙂
What was your first 10k experience like?