Sunday, 28 March 2010

Relay for Life 2010

I decided yesterday, while running around the AIS track at this year's Relay for Life, to update my blog for the first time in ages.

Running round and round the track, I realised some amazing things.

Number 1 - I've been running all year since last Relay for Life. While I might have only made it out once a week at times, I've been out there consistently. Funnily enough, I haven't been blogging about it. I think that's because, when I first started running, writing about it was one of my motivators. Now I don't need the writing to inspire me to run.

Number 2 - I'm definitely a runner. I was wondering was I a runner or a jogger recently. At Relay for Life I realised that it doesn't matter how slowly I go, I'm running not jogging.

Number 3 - I am running so much better now than I did in the past. Last year I did a "run a few, walk a few" combination, that had nothing to do with how fit I was and everything to do with the mental challenge of running round and round in circles. This weekend, I struggled with the first few laps, then relaxed into it and started to enjoy myself. I was scoping out the crowds, listening to conversations as I passed groups of spectators, enjoying the colour and movement and having a great time.

Number 4 - I achieved my goal, set a few years ago, of running the whole of my relay stint. Woohoo! I'm glad I realised it while I was achieving it, because I was able to enjoy it.

I totally stuffed up my plans for the day, by managing to double book myself. I was supposed to run for an hour, then walk with my injured running buddy, Lola. Fortunately, my hairdresser sends a text to remind you about the appointment you made weeks earlier. Yep, it was right when my relay shift ended. Because I run with an old work group, I have to rely on email to organise my times. Unfortunately, that's not as efficient as wandering down to the organiser's office. I ended up with a split shift - half an hour before my hair appt and half an hour immediately afterwards.

I decided I'd run for an hour beforehand, so I headed off early. Roadworks killed that idea. Who builds a bridge on a weekend? Oh, of course it's a good time, but why the one on my direct route to the AIS track? I ended up getting to the track late, so I only managed a 45 minute run before my hair appt.

A quick wash before heading off to the hairdressers (Emma didn't need to be inhaling eau de relay all morning), no product or fancy blow wave (why bother?) and a dash back to the arena (what were they thinking, blocking off all the parking areas near the track?) to do my second shift. I wasn't at all sure that I'd run the second one, because of cooling down. When I started, I told myself that all I had to do was get through the first two laps (they'd been hard the first time) and then I'd be ok. It worked.

The first shift passed in a happy blur of taking in everything that surrounded me. There was an awkward moment where two girls (well built ladies like me, only twenty years younger) from another team passed me ├Ąt a fast shuffle. I was a little embarrassed to be left standing by two semi-runners but I passed them a mere 100 m later as they had exhausted themselves. They were in a team that was relaying properly (one runner would do a lap, then the two of them, then the other runner, etc). I saw them a couple of times during my shift. When they were leaving the track, I was running past them. I tapped them both on the shoulder and told them that they'd done a great job. The smiles on their faces were fantastic. Mind you, a tall leggy runner had told me "you're doing a great job" as she powered past me earlier. I love that running camaraderie that you experience in events.

On my second shift, one of the people from the team the two ladies were from called out to me "great job, how many laps?" My reply "no idea". I was letting my team mates do the counting, with my Garmin as a trusty backup. Three laps later, as I was about to finish, the same lady offered to count my laps for me. Again, that sense of camaraderie was really special.

I'm already looking forward to next year's event.