5th May 2014 – No.77: Run the Keith Chandler 5-Mile Memorial Race

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So, in my last post, I wrote that I had started training, by which I mean I’d been jogging a couple of times. Well, confession time, I went maybe once more after that. Running alone is really boring and I have much more interesting stuff to do. Consequently, I had very low expectations for my goal of running more of this race than the last one and assumed I would end up walking most of it.
For the first part of the race, it seemed my earlier assumption was correct; I started too fast, couldn’t hold my pace, and ended up walking, just like last time. Then, around one and a half miles in, I passed a man accompanying a blind female runner. (Well, she may have been partially sighted, I didn’t ask, but they were each holding one end of a short skipping-rope-like thing and he told her every time we approached uneven paving etc, so, I’m going with blind.)

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, “I’m having trouble keeping pace.”

“You can run with us if you like,” he offered.

I accepted eagerly; and started running again. The pace was good and I found to my surprise that I could actually sustain it. It was nice chatting to my fellow runners as we went. I began to believe I could actually make it to the end. Then we turned into the wind and it got tough. I struggle to breath properly with the wind in my face anyway (it feels so horrible it might as well be drowning) and fighting wind resistance is, I think, what caused the stitch to kick in.

With the finish line just around the corner, I faltered. I nearly stopped. The stitch was bad, I had never run this far consecutively in my life (no, really, the most I ever did in school was the timed mile we were forced into- 8 mins, if you were wondering) and I nearly gave up. Then a hand grabbed mine and a voice said;

“I’m eighty, if I can do it so can you!”

And the lovely man ran with me over the finish line, my octogenarian hero 🙂

My time was 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds. I came in 358th out of 367, which is in the bottom 2.45%. And yet, the medal I got for finishing means so much more to me than the one I got for the half-marathon because although it was a shorter distance, I ran more of it. It was a huge personal achievement for me, although an hour an five minutes isn’t a particularly fast time for five miles. The whole experience of this race was better because other people buoyed me up. The man and woman I ran with, the old guy at the end, I may not know who you are or ever see you again, but thank you, if you are reading this, thank you.

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I decided to go all Olympian for this one 🙂

Oh yes….because somehow I’m determined to keep torturing myself (emotional and mental gains from these races are epic but physically…ow), I am planning to enter a 16k obstacle course with a couple of my fiances cousins in November. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Although I didn’t manage to enter the obstacle course last year, it’s still on the list. However, I have entered this 5 mile race again for 2015, with my friend RJ, who I’ve been regularly training with (yes, you read that right, actually regularly training)! Once we’ve done it I’ll post a photo.

Me and Rachel

Me and RJ

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