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I love the 10K distance.

It’s worth getting out of bed and making a train journey for, but not too far that it wrecks you for the next week.

But there are some 10K events, that I wouldn’t miss for the world, and Cancer Research’s Winter Run in Central London is one of them.

image2I first took part in this event in 2015 the first year it took place not really knowing what it would be like, all I heard was there would be polar bears giving out hugs at the end which sounded a little scary if truth be known.

I had such a blast that I came back the following year with a Too Fat to Run Team.

This year I was on a mission to try and get a course PB..

2015 = 1.12.52

2016 = 1.18.43

Could I get close to 1.10??? My all time 10K PB is 1.06 but that was way before I had my daughter and was in a race which was perfect for a speedy time.

I have been focusing on speed recently as research for my latest book Scream if you want to run Faster, whereby I knocked almost 10 minutes of my 5K time in the pilot phase. My goal at the moment is to go sub 30 for my 5K…so watch this space.

I arrived in Charring Cross at 8.45 to meet my Clubhouse Ladies, we had a team of about 20 ladies taking part which was awesome, and I was really excited about having us all out on the course. We might be a virtual running club but these ladies are like family, so its always lovely to see them in the flesh…many of them for the first time.

It was a cold morning, so we soon made our way through to bag drop and the loos, so well organised and soooooo many loos!!!

There was a fabulous moment here, which I think was the highlight of my day.

16427241_10154152419716078_3478764647855913340_nWe were all standing around waiting for one more lady to come out of the toilets and someone in the group asked the question “what kind of knickers do we all wear to run” to which I responded “I don’t wear knickers” just as some lady taps me on the shoulder and says “Are you Julie?” she had been waiting to speak to me.

Such comedy timing.

And how embarrassing???

The atmosphere at the start was great, and it wasn’t long before we were off. The first few kilometers was a bit tricky with people dodging and weaving in an out of each other, its mixed ability starting waves…which is great because it means the slower runners don’t end up right at the back, but its probably a little frustrating for the faster ones…but it didn’t seem to bother anyone and I think adds to the friendly atmosphere.

I ran strong the first 4k, and then felt a strange pain in my hamstring/thigh…I think it was a delayed pain from Fridays CrossFit session. My legs didn’t feel as fresh as I would have hoped.

16473283_10154979986670477_5699517985271947060_nI still managed to get to 5K in under 34 minutes which I am happy with, but after that I started taking walking breaks. At around 6K Liza from The Clubhouse run alongside me, I told her I was struggling and she said just keep going, we are making good time, and she was right.

Liza is marathon training at the moment and smashing through her training plan.

It was great having her as a marker. I have a little more speed in my legs but she is more consistent, so kept catching me while I was walking…if it wasn’t for her though, I may well have walked more.

At 8K I spotted a lady called Adele in one of my Speed is Relative t-shirts, I couldn’t for the life of me remember her name though, so I just shouted and waved until she noticed me…it put a massive smile on her face though.

I was struggling now. Legs were hurting. I was feeling fatigue. I couldn’t work out if I was hot or cold, so kept fiddling with the sleeves of my top.

Then at about 9K a lady in a yellow tshirt started running with me and giving me encouragement, at first I was a bit like “urrghh” as I wanted to walk, but then I realised she was there with a team from SKINS and her job was to help people in the final kilometer…she certainly helped me.

Her name was Angela and she wouldn’t let me walk…she kept reminding me that a PB was at stake. As I approached Trafalgar Square my watch told me it was 1.10…but could I still make this my fastest Winter Run.

I picked up the pace remembering my mantra from the book

I am fast I am strong

And I powered towards the finish line.

16427632_10154979986785477_5633198684874782989_nI crossed the line thinking I might possibly puke (my face says it all) and my watch told me I had done it in 1 hour 12 minutes and 11 seconds, more than 6 minutes faster than last year and 41 seconds faster than the year before.

I was chuffed.

Especially seeing as I had taken some walking breaks, had hugged a penguin (my volunteering friend Pearl) and high fived some wolves…both new additions to the animal volunteer crew I think.

Didn’t manage a hug with a polar bear this year…but did get some FREE chocolate!!!

Jo managed two at once

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I love this race, and I love that I managed to PB yesterday…but the thing I loved most was seeing all the picture from my Clubhouse Ladies, who all did such amazing jobs!!!

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If you would like to join our online running club, and take part in race meet ups, training days and socials then check out this link. We have 250 members from all over the world and are growing each week. Sometimes we need someone to cheer us on, to share in our moments of glory and to support us during hard times…sometimes we just need a reminder that we are runners.

A massive thank you to Cancer Research and all the volunteers, this is a very special race event. See you next year? Can I put a request in for actual snow…that would be awesome, and maybe some Reindeer…or am I pushing it now?

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