I just wanted to just share with you my reflections of today as I ran in the Stockbridge 10k - the places in the New Forest one had all gone by the time I went to book (note to self, get in there early!), and conscious I should have clocked up 14miles this week on the GSR training plan, I needed to take some serious action and book my place yesterday so that I couldn’t change my mind this morning!
There were a few moments where RV wasn’t far from my mind…..
RV thought 1 - As I glanced at the clock this morning noting it was 7.30am I gave a little thought to all of the RV runners piling into car shares at The Solent Hotel. Some nervous, some excited but all doing something worthwhile that early on a Sunday morning.
RV thought 2 - On approaching the school in Stockbridge to register, I noticed how quiet it was - no sign of runners from various clubs warming up and chatting, very unlike an RV day out, so I found a space in the playground and did all the RV warm up moves, including the high leg skips and fast feet!
Clearly it was going to be a small event which in some way was rather nice - it certainly meant no queues for the toilets which was definitely a plus given the amount of times I went in there for a nervous wee, but very evident was the lack of girlie banter at the hand dryers which you’d most definitely get if other RVers were there!
The smaller number of runners taking part did mean that those of us that were aiming to just be alive by the end of it were going to clearly stand out amongst a sea of very fit and fast runners. But then as I looked around the crowd (105 in total), a familiar colour scheme and logo on someone’s back came into view; yes it was another fellow RV runner. Suddenly things were looking up and all was well again! I made a vow to try and find this fellow RV-er as we ran along for the next 10kms to say ‘Hi’.
This was the first race I had run without someone I knew running alongside me, so armed with an Ipod full of tunes including Eye of the Tiger to really get me running like a pro,(I just didn't have the hooded jumper on, it wasn’t raining to show true grit and I clearly wasn’t Rocky), I set off along a lovely scenic 10k route with a mix of quiet rural lanes and wooded paths. My mind would often drift to wonder how Mike and Martin, Lisa and Petra etc etc would all be getting on at their races, and you spurring them on, and I thought if they were with me now I wouldn’t even think about stopping.
RV thought 3 - The first 2-3km took me a while to find my flow, but in my head I could hear the little RV voice reminding to ‘keep a steady pace’, ‘not to set off too quickly’ and ‘that a 10k is difficult to run at your 5k pace so slow it down’. My mind would often drift to wonder how Mike and Martin, Lisa, Karen and Petra would all be getting on at their races, and you spurring them on as you ran amongst them all, and I thought if they were with me now I wouldn’t even think about stopping, so I continued to run along to the beat of the tunes.
As the paths gave way to a killer of a hill I once again heard that voice telling me to ‘use my arms’, ‘keep them going (pocket to socket)’, ‘close to the body’ and ‘I’d feel I was going faster even if my legs weren’t.’ Clearly in the flow by now, I somehow managed to get past a few people in front of me even though we had all slowed down.
As we approached the 5k mark I could see the familiar purple top of the RV runner ahead of me being supported to keep going by her friend that was with her. As I gradually caught up with her, I said Hi fellow RV-er and we introduced ourselves (Emma was her name), we shared a similar brief summary of our running story with RV and then continued with her friend as a well paced threesome for the next few KMs.
As the 8km mark came into sight we each said ‘we can do this’ in a true RV confidence inspiring way; stopped the chat for a short while to concentrate and upped our game.
RV thought 4 - Approaching the 9km mark I once again heard the RV voice tell me to ‘really find that extra burst of energy to finish fast’ (proving the importance of pacing from the outset), and off I went. As the finish line came into view the usual emotions and pride came to the fore and I sprinted the last bit and over the line, frantically looking for the Cub Scout with the big responsibility of supplying the water.
Scanning the crowd though, I suddenly realised there was no RV contingent there to clap me in, shout motivational thoughts to me or offer the now traditional cake. I did know though that my RV friend was just behind me so walked to the line and said well done to her and her friend - we had all doneit and were still alive, always a bonus.
So whilst you may be wondering why I’ve taken the time to write all this, I wanted to share with you that whilst its true that RV certainly helps to build confidence in running - enough to feel ok about turning up to race on my own, it also demonstrates that you don't know what you’ve got until its not there - and that was the massive support from the rest of the group; that feeling that we’re all in it together and wanting just as much for our fellow runners as we do ourselves, and actually, I really wouldn’t have minded if the queues for the toilets were busy afterall, if it had been RVers waiting for their nervous wee alongside me!!
Thank you for making this the best, rewarding thing I’ve done in many years!
As I put in the RV Survey - “thank you for realising your dream and ambition so that we can achieve ours.”
Oh, and lastly, I guess I must also share that my run time was 01.10.23, a full 5mins off my last one! (Maybe running on my own with less chat really does work afterall…..nah, boring!)