If you turn on the TV this week you are likely to see Royal Ascot racing on various channels. It very much reminds me of the Docklands 5k race, where from the get- go, the incessant pace to the finish which you think is near (but is actually far away) and lots of noisy breathing is not dissimilar to a crowd of horses galloping to get over the line.  It’s like the minute you start it you just want it to finish! Before I left the house I had two puffs of my inhaler which I rarely take.  I had an inkling  it was going to be fast.

This was my first proper 5k race aside from park run , where there is not that level of galloping on display! I decided to do it just for something different and I hadn’t done such a short race before. Having got a lift into town, I jumped out of the car during that almighty downpour and had to take shelter under a shop door. I then walked down to The Ferryman where I got talking to fellow Sportsworlders  and I met Olive who gave me my number and  minded my bag while I raced (yes I bought her a drink after!).

A very quick change and warm up and I met more of the girls from the club. It was nice to see familiar faces; particularly the group I run with at training.  Ann and I made our way up to the start line and tried to position ourselves ahead of the 25 minute pacers.  Ann was delighted when she eventually found Breda as she  values  Breda’s pacing abilities!!  A few others around us were Siobhán, Rosie , Ray , Gemma, Carmel ,Maria and Bronwyn  and probably more I can’t remember!

The gun went and zoom – Ray was gone like the clappers!! It was the fastest start I had ever experienced ( besides a cross country) . There’s no time for “ slow down you’re going too fast!” . It was the galloping effect! Wild horses!!  The faster people were around you the faster you went even though you knew it way too fast for you.

Anyway, all ok for the first 3 ks . I knew I definitely was going  faster than I had gone before . I was starting to doubt myself whether I could keep going . (Imagining the post mortem- …where did it all go wrong?!) I kept looking for the bridge that we had to cross. It just seemed so far away. I despaired when we passed the Beckett Bridge.  Then eventually I could see little ants running over the next bridge. Psychologically when you cross that bridge, you feel you can make it home.  

Soon after that we came to the 4k mark. Then 800m – seemed very long until 600m to go.Then I visualised the pitch in Bushy   but it still seemed more. That last stretch was the worst. I just felt if the line didn’t come soon I couldn’t keep going!! It was a relief to finish and I was delighted with a PB .  Lots of Sportsworlders were finishing around me too.

I met Olive then and some of the lads and we made our way down to Capitol Dock where there was a BBQ and free beer –yes alcoholic! Some non-runners even managed to avail of the offerings with runners’ numbers-  won’t mention any names! They deserved it for cheering us on during the race.  Thanks to all the people from the club who supported.

Then on to The  Ferryman –cans of beers in hands (classy) and in good spirits. Lots of chats about the race. It was really enjoyable to talk to many people I hadn’t met before at Sportsworld (new and old members)  and there were lots of laughs. It was much later night than I had planned and I ended up getting the last bus home.  Sign of good night!! Well done to everyone who completed the race. We got to the end!