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I was going to call this post “How NOT to run a 10K” but on reflection the running bit was reasonably easy…well for me at least. I mean I must have run thirty or forty of them over the years.

In November last year I published my first ebook 10K a simple 10 week training guide to get you ready to run your first ever 10K, a number of ladies from our Facebook Community downloaded the book and signed up to “Fattys 10K Challenge” to help support each other through the process.

This is us after Amys 1st parkrun

This is us after Amys 1st parkrun

Inspired by this my youngest sister Amy sign up for a 10K too, the BHF 10K in Regents Park, the same spring race that some of my #Fattys10K challenge girls had chosen as their first race. Now Amy is by no means FAT, she is 5’11 and a size 10/12 but she is quite unfit for someone about to turn 30, but with a sedentary job that sees her sitting on her backside for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week and a busy social life involving alcohol and eating out its easy to see how this is the case. So she saw this as the perfect opportunity to get fit. She bought some new kit, came along to parkrun and started going out for runs by herself every weekend, she also started a fundraising campaign to keep her accountable.

I was quite looking forward to running the 10K together and helping her achieve this goal.

We arranged to meet at the tube station at 8.30am to make our way to Regents Park, giving us plenty of time to get organised for the race which started at 10am.

Error #1 – “Have you had breakfast?” “yeah one weetabix and some strawberries” oh I thought having had a huge bowl of bran flakes and a banana myself.

Error #2 – “Whats with the bag sis?” I said spotting a small GAP plastic bag, “Oh its got some stuff for me to change into after” a pair of jeans, a top, pair of converse and perfume in fact.

So we arrived at Regents Park tube and now it was my time to make a huge mistake. Following the crowd, chatting and not watching where I was going I stepped on an uneven bit of pavement and felt my ankle go, my full weight falling on my lopsided ankle. Arrrrgggghh. My first thought BRIGHTON as in the marathon which I am doing in less than 3 weeks now. We will call this Error #3

Amy started laughing in a “oh no you can not be serious” kind of way, but I hobbled across the crossing towards the park trying to evaluate the damage. It didn’t hurt  to walk on, so I figured it would be ok.

The park was quite empty as we arrived, and we picked up our race T-shirt, donned our timing chip and pinned on our race number in the cold morning air. I put my tshirt on over my race vest and windbreaker as I knew I would strip off before the race. Amy wasn’t so sure and ummed and ahhhhed about which layer to pin her race number to. Our other sister Lindsey was coming to spectate, but was making her way from South London on public transport with a pushchair so we knew it would be tight as to whether she would make it in time for the start.

Error #4 and this was the defining error. Amy had figured that Lindsey (our other sister) could hold her bag, and my extra layers I suppose, rather than queue to leave our bag at baggage drop. At about 9.30 Amy started to get a bit nervous and began calling Lindsey who’s phone was playing up, she was in the vicinity and had entered the park, but not from the entrance we had.

“Do they start on time?” Of course they bloody start on time!!

We gave Lindsey a few minutes to make her way to the start area, but she didn’t appear so then with just 2 minutes to go I was like “What you gonna do with your bag?” and that is where the panic started to set in. All the runners were making their way to the start as Amy was running towards baggage to leave her bag (luckily the queue was gone now). As she made her way back the starting horn sounded and we moved towards the start line. It was at this point Amy realised Error #5 she still had her BHF tshirt and her windbreaker on. She then started panicking and trying to set her iPhone to play music. She was red in the face before we even started.

But we had started, ready or not we were on the move. I knew because we had started right at the back we would be dodging walkers…and so we were which was quite draining. The paths around the park were quite narrow, maybe wide enough for 5 people, so it was quite challenging trying to run in a straight line and at a constant pace. Amy yelled “you’re going too fast” but looking at my Garmin I knew it was a similar pace to what we had both run at a recent parkrun. I think she was just struggling because of all of the adrenaline caused by the stressful start.

My start had been stressful but only because of Amy’s shenanigans, I have done enough races to know the deal. The only thing I hand;t really given enough thought too was my music selection pushing shuffle rather than choosing a playlist. Error #6 so I ran with a selection that included songs from the Les Miserable soundtrack, 80’s pop and a bit of George Micheal…not what I would have chosen if truth be known.

About a kilometer in we spotted our sister Lindsey, with baby Jorge looking all serene in the sunshine, little did she know the stress we had been under a few minutes before. We waved heartedly as she took pictures and then kept on going. Just past 3k or so Amy said she was getting a stitch, so I told her to slow down and breath, it seemed to help a bit but it also meant we were separated for a bit. I looked behind and saw she was walking, so figured we would just both just run our own race from this point, something we had discussed before.

A little later, just past the camel enclosure of nearby London Zoo we turned a corner into a section which was slightly uphill and I heard “I’m back” but it didn’t last long as a few seconds later it was “Oh no I feel sick”

Error #7 Now if I was a good sister I would have stopped to make sure she was OK, but hey its only running…how sick could she feel? A bit of walking and I am sure she would feel better, she had run more than this in training so I figured it was just nerves etc.

As I crossed the start point to begin my second lap, there were already people finishing and for a split second I wondered if Amy would call it a day at 5K. She wouldn’t do that would she? Not after raising £200 for charity from her friends and work colleagues. But then I came across Lindsey who said that Amy had text to say she had finished.


That is a look of concern not pain on my face

This played heavy on my mind as I wondered if she had really been taken ill, so I upped my speed and focussed on getting around the rest of the course as quickly as I could. With about a kilometre to go I spotted her poised and ready to take photos of me as I approached “are you OK?” and thats when it all came out “I only did one lap, and now I feel terrible” she started running long side with me explaining that she had sprinted to try and catch up with me before the hill and that had caused her to believe she was going to vomit, so she stepped to the side and walked the rest of the first lap. She had made a snap decision Error #8 at the 5k point and called it a day. If I had been there I would never have let her…so I felt pretty bad not sticking by her.

The funny thing was, what with all the walking to come and find me on route, running alongside me and then walking towards the finish line she must have covered 10k easily. she should have just collected her thoughts, got her breath back and power walked the 2nd lap.

When the #fattys10Kchallenge started back in Novemeber I set myself the goal of trying to get as close to an hour for my 10k as possible. This race was not the right conditions for  PB. It was a charity race, in a busy park, on a hot summers day. I had started right at the back with the walkers, I was running with a first timer…so hey the PB was not important. But guess what? With about 600 meters to go, I realised I wasn’t that far passed my PB time so I picked it up and tried to get under 1 hour 10, the time that I had told Amy I was going for earlier on. I finished in 1 hour 7 and 14 seconds in the end and was absolutely chuffed, especiallyseeing as I had run it with a twisted ankle!!

What a morning!!!!


We both ended up with the same medal

I reckon she should sign up to another 10K as soon as possible so she can just put this race down to experience.

As we milled around the finishing area I bumped into one of my #fattys10kchallenge ladies the very gorgeous Katie, who I had spotted earlier on the route. She was there with her family and was happy with how her run had gone.

So what is the moral of this story?

Well, we are all on our own journeys with our running. PBs are not everything. Sisters should really look out for each other more than what I did at this race. And most importantly a lot of our successes in life are down to good preparation and a strong mentalattitude. Amy could have finished that 10k no problem. But the stress at the start had thrown us both, and the stitch she got and the sprint to catch me up added to the fact she hadn’t had a substantial enough breakfast all played a part in a disappointing first race.

As we said our goodbyes at Stratford Tube on the way home I asked if she wanted to see this post before it went out and she smiled and said “Write what you like, I don’t mind”. Error #9 Now everyone will know the truth Its taken me a day to process it all and write this. I hope that she is feeling a little better about it all. She can hold her head up and say she tried and I bet you she learnt a hell of a lot about herself in the process.

Well done sis!!!


P.s Error #10 was an almost error on my behalf. Seeing as the weather forecast was so good (hottest day of the year so far) at 11.55pm on Friday night I wondered if it would be the perfect opportunity to try out my new short shorts or running skirt. I tried them on ignoring my pasty legs and bounced around in front of the mirror to see if they moved much. In the end I lost mtg bottle and ran in leggings instead which on reflection was a size choice because A. I would have been freezing first thing in the morning and B. I ran behind a lady in a running skirt for most of the way and all she seemed to do was tug at it…so there you have it!!!

P.p.s My ankle is still sore. In fact after the race it started to really throb. But I RICEd it once I got home, Rested it, Iced it, Compressed it and Elevated it and it feels much better. It does’t hurt to walk but I am still going to take it easy this week. Phew!! Fingers crossed for Brighton!!!

  1. It’s great to do a race with your sister but even better, you did your race and she did hers. Last time I ran with my sister, I walked when she wanted to walk instead of running my race for me- I knew she thought that if she raced with me, she thought I wasn’t going to be prepared or running quickly. It is awesome to get the support from your sisters and to support Amy too.

  2. March 17, 2014

    Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. Hope your ankle is ok before Brighton. Commando has crocked his knee and is getting quite worried about his own marathon in three weeks. Hopefully RICE will fix it though.

  3. March 16, 2014

    Your story had me in tears laughing. Something about a comedy of errors that ended up all is well with a wonderful moral to boot. You are amazing, your sister is great! Enjoy the run, enjoy family. At our half, my sister started two corrals behind me a little past mile 12 she caught up with me. Wonderful sis that she was, she was trying to encourage me and slowed down. I told her to finish her race….I’m so glad she did!

  4. March 16, 2014

    You look great!! 🙂

  5. March 16, 2014

    You’ve explained this far better than I have so far, perhaps because I’m still a bit gutted. However, I’ve learned a few things from my first 10k. #1 running is actually quite relaxing and with my busy job and social life it’s a great way to unwind, plug those earphones in and forget the world. #2 being thin does not equal being fit! Although, my fitness has certainly improved. #3 perhaps I should start listening to bigger sis, ie have a good breakfast and bring the bare essentials with you #4 don’t give up. I could have done this race had I have ran slower and walked to catch my breath. I’d put so much pressure on myself to run the whole race, god knows why. I’m quite stubborn and tend to do things the way I think they should be done, had Julie not been there, I would have walked from the 2k point! It was my first race and my goal should have been to complete it, regardless of the time. Not all is lost, I raised money for a great charity and at least my next race will purely be about finishing, so less pressure-there will be another race.

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  1. […] my last 10k race in Regents Park I was about 700 meters away from the finish line when some little kid said “cor look at that […]

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