I turned up to the club run on Monday a little nervous I have to admit. There were a couple of reasons for this. The first was that I had gone out for a run at the weekend and set out to do a 10k and I stopped after 5k as my legs were just not working, I felt as if I was running through treacle and even though mentally I was wanting to do it physically my body had other ideas. The second reason was that this was going to be a total of 9 miles and this would be the furthest that I have ever run and although I really wanted to do it I was scared that I might not make it.
As everyone gathered it was clear that the turnout was going to be very good. It was around 30 people in total and so made for a good atmosphere as we headed off into the darkness. It was at this point I was so glad that I had brought my head torch with me, without it I would have struggled more ( if that’s possible). I was going okay up until about the 3 mile mark, after all I was very comfortable at running that distance now. I was suffering the usual nightmare of my glasses steaming up which was magnified 10 fold by the fact I could hardly see anyhow due to the darkness. I know that I had my head torch, but that only does so much and with puddles and boggy mud patches coming thick and fast at me it started to become a real challenge to keep any sort of consistent pace. This is where I started to find myself at the back of the pack. Thankfully and this is what I like so far about the club is that there is a real leave no man behind attitude. It was clear that I was struggling and one of the runners decided to run with me at my pace and help and encourage me to continue. At certain points we would catch the others up as they held up and waited for everyone to regroup. Now this was a nice touch, but I must admit I did find it somewhat embarrassing that I was the guy that was holding them up and that must of started to grate on a few of them. Only natural I guess. No one actually said it, but in my head that was what I was feeling. At around the 5 mile mark I really started to feel every hill and every drop and was amazed at the real lack of depth and perception running in that kind of light gives you. It was so hard to judge at times if I was running up or down a hill. I’ll be honest even when I was on a down gradient it felt like I was running up hill.
I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the club member who essentially sacrificed his own run that night to babysit me around the course. His constant encouragement and direction on how to tackle certain parts of the course was nothing short of inspirational. As the miles passed by it wasn’t getting any easier and I had to find real drive from somewhere deep within to keep going. I was not going to stop now, i didn’t want to let myself down and I certainly didn’t want to let down the club member who had brought me round this far. As we neared the final hill and the sight of the pub came into view from where we started I was thrilled.
It felt great to get my first 9 miler under my belt and I would certainly like to run that course again and maybe try it in the light to really appreciate the surroundings. I know I was the slowest, but I do have to keep reminding myself that it was only 4 months ago that I started running and I could hardly walk up the stairs then. Personally this has been a huge milestone and achievement for me.