After running my first 10km race in October, I was on the look-out for my next event. Ideally something not too far in the distance – not only am I super impatient, but anything too far away and I lose interest. Perhaps I’m spending too much time with my three year old…. Anyhow, I may have previously mentioned that I’m a marketing person’s dream, and this race entry was no exception. Scrolling through Instagram, the London Winter Run popped up offering a penguin party, polar bear hugs and really fancy medal. Sold!
Whilst I was looking forward to running through London, there was something niggling away at me. I’ve already done a 10km, which means I have a time to beat. I was silently piling the pressure on - I hadn’t paid much attention to my watch when I last raced, I was just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, and mentally breaking the race down into manageable chunks.
Clearly the only way to get rid of the pressure was to do something new, so I emailed the organisers and I asked if I could run with the buggy. Obviously. Putting this down on paper is making me realise that I sound a tad unhinged, but I guess maybe that’s what three years of no sleep does to you?! The response came back positive, as long as I start at the back. Even less pressure, hurrah!
As race day approached, nerves began to take hold. The logistics of getting from Hertfordshire to Trafalgar Square on a Sunday morning, keeping little one warm, fed and happy for the journey, never mind the race… It was all beginning to feel a bit overwhelming. I turned to The Original Buggy Runners Facebook group for some words of wisdom, snacks and layers being the key messages, and I was ready to go. Next drama, Austin (1 year old) falls ill. Bugger, will have to take Jake (3 years old and significantly heavier). More drama - on Thursday I come down with an ear infection. ARGH! Spend Friday in bed pouring drops into my ear and popping pain killers. Saturday comes and feeling a bit perkier, I mention the race, husband goes bonkers…decide to shelve the conversation until later. By the end of the day, we’ve agreed that I will see how I feel in the morning….
Ok, so I wasn’t feeling my best, but I woke up determined. The run was in aid of Cancer Research and the worst I had was a blocked ear – I was definitely going to run!
As we waited on the station platform, two things became apparent. 1) I was so glad to have Jake rather than Austin as I can actually reason with (bribe) him. 2) I had packed an abundance of layers for Jake and definitely not enough for myself! Bloody freezing. One train, a few sets of stairs – thanks to the members of the public who helped me out, two tubes and a gazillion lifts later, we had arrived. A major perk of running with the buggy meant we avoided a visit to the bag drop so I was able to keep wearing the one extra layer I’d brought for myself. As far as we were concerned we had a good half an hour until our start time,so we stopped for a biscuit. The next thing, the announcer is calling all colours to the start line (cue mild panic!), we followed the masses and before I knew it we were off!
At first, I was frustrated at how slowly we were moving. Everyone was so tightly packed in and there was very little room to weave around people. Part of the problem I guess with not being allowed to start at your chosen race time. I soon forgot about this – we weren’t chasing a PB, we were there to have fun! I was looking forward to pointing out all of the London sights to Jake, and enjoying spotting the different costumes. Less than 1km in and Jake asks ‘are we winning mum?’ – ‘not yet’ I reply. Next thing I know he’s shut his eyes and slept until we were at the finish line!!! I was slightly worried he might wet himself as he never naps and is fairly new to pants, but at least I didn’t have to think about snacks/questions/demands for speeding up – not sure which is preferable?!
I must admit, I barely saw any of the London sights myself as I was too worried about crashing into anyone to look around. Maybe this gets easier with practise? I’m pretty sure I will do another one so I’ll let you know… Concentrating so hard on weaving around people did mean that I had less time to focus on how tired I was – every cloud and all that! Much of the run passed me by in a blur, blame the adrenaline or the blocked ear, and before I knew it I could see the end. I picked up the pace, Jake opened his eyes and we crossed the finish line! We were particularly delighted to both receive medals and went in search of some post-race fuel.
I have to give a massive shout out to the running community. I was blown away by all of the kind words of support and encouragement I received. One lady even helped me push for a bit! It was really tough pushing Jake but there was no way I was going to stop with all the cheerleading. Thank you all so much, you really spurred me on!!
Overall, a superb experience that left me with a runner’s high for a good week afterwards! If you’re thinking of entering a big race with your buggy, go for it! Jake is super proud of his medal and tells everyone about how he had a great time running with mummy!
Love Mel x