Five is the magic number

This blog has a lot to answer for.

A week ago I was keen on running, plodding along in my own little bubble, vaguely aware that there were others out there doing the same thing. That was all fine. I was happy. Then I got a message of encouragement from a colleague. A colleague who I should point out is a proper runner, and much less likely than I to hide in a cupboard at the very mention of the word “fartlek”.

“Well done and keep it up. Good run in May called Shuttleworth 5. Looks good and sounds right up your street”.

Right up my street? I didn’t think he’d ever seen me run before, but if he had he must surely have been referring to Sesame Street. I suppose from a distance my running style could be mistaken for Mr Snuffleupagus trying to navigate a freshly polished floor while wearing clogs. Maybe that’s what he meant. But I’d only just started this blog, and my confidence was bolstered by some of the encouraging comments I’d received, so I thought “what the hell” and before I knew it, I had signed up for the race.

In hindsight, I feel that it’s important to read about a race before committing to it. The Shuttleworth 5 had a bit of an Enid Blyton ring to it. Maybe they only accepted five entrants, and I had been chosen from thousands of hopefuls due to some as-yet-unknown quality that was on the verge of shining through. Just five of us, gambolling through leafy lanes, stopping for ginger beer. Afterwards, we could go bowling, maybe all get matching tattoos – it would be great!

Hmmm… no, much more likely that the “5” refers to the route itself. Could be a fun “see how far you can get in five minutes” type of thing (about 100ft in case you were wondering). At that point I decided to stop being stupid, and start preparing for my first ever 5km race. First thing to do was to have a proper look at the website…

Um… hang on a sec…

Now I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m pretty sure that km isn’t spelt “M-I-L-E-S”. Last time I checked, it had a “k” in it. And not quite so many “iles”. Oh shit, I’ve signed up for a 5 mile race.

As I said at the beginning , this blog has a lot to answer for. One of the reasons I started it was to keep myself motivated, and that’s certainly how it’s panning out. A week or so ago I would never have considered entering a race or any other kind of organized event. I was a closet runner, and if I stopped or failed nobody would ever know. I’m now at the stage where five miles isn’t a daunting prospect in itself, but to do it for real with other people, other runners, around – that’s a whole new ball game.

Predictably, I’m not taking the “race” aspect of it terribly seriously and will be happy just to wander round a picturesque route in my own sweet time with the added bonus of a free T-shirt at the end of it. I may even stop to pick wildflowers along the way and befriend some woodland creatures. One thing’s for sure, I’m certainly not at a stage yet where you’ll catch terms like “personal Best” or “tempo run” coming out of my mouth. You may however hear “If I lie down here, do you promise not to tread on my face when you lap me?” accompanied with a series of wheezing noises.

But despite all my feeble protests, I’m really looking forward to it. As well as the aforementioned T-shirt, I’m potentially getting a lot of good stuff to blog about and a great goal to work towards.

And chafing, let’s not forget the chafing.

*I should point out that while I would be hiding in aforementioned cupboard from the prospect of farlek training, I would still be giggling maniacally at the word itself. In fact, I’m doing it now. Fartlek fartlek fartlek! Oh, those crazy Swedes. 


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