OMG. I can now officially say I have completed a 10K something which I never would have thought I would be able to do but I am so so proud of myself. I can’t believe around 3 years ago I was in the middle of having drugs pumped into me through a central line in my chest because my cancer had come back, I didn’t know how I would react to the drugs but they ultimately saved my life.
While I was lying in hospital I dreamt about running a 10k to give something back to one of the charities that helped me through my treatment and continue to do so today. Running the Great Birmingham 10K was by far one of my biggest challenges I have ever done but it’s also the most rewarding.
Before the 10K
I wrote a post about why I decided to sign up to run a 10K but if you want the short answer it’s basically because I wanted to raise money for Blood Cancer UK, a charity very close to my heart and challenge myself. Before the day and a few weeks before the nerves really started to kick and some self-doubt as to whether I could actually run a 10k.
I’ve never ran further than a 5k but that was with a lot of walking too so I was worried with how my body was going to handle to shock of me trying to run so far. I had set myself a goal time of 1 hour and 10 minutes but it was honestly only for motivation, I hadn’t planned to get round in a certain time because I literally just wanted to get round but with setting myself a time I pushed myself further than I would so I’m kind of glad I had a goal to aim for.
The week before I tried to go on as many training runs as possible and by the end of those weeks my calf and hamstring muscles were screaming at me to stop, I hadn’t run that much in my life and my body hated me for it.
The day before I felt so sick and incredibly nervous, more nervous than when I had to get results from any test that I have ever had and that’s saying something. I felt like crying my eyes out because I didn’t know whether I had done enough training. I didn’t know whether I was ready to run that far and how my body was gong to handle the distance. Although I was nervous I obviously had to carb load the day before so all I did was relax and eat pasta all day..
On the day
I woke up still feeling incredibly nervous, tired as I hadn’t got much sleep but a little excited although when I looked at the weather forecast I freaked out a bit, 21 degrees. It was going to be warm and I had never trained in that heat before. Typical, we had to have a heat wave on the day when I was running a 10K.
For breakfast I just had a cup of tea and then a banana about an hour after. I was running with my auntie, we had been training together so we knew at what pace we needed to run at to make it to our goal time. We got into Birmingham a little early but we had chance to take in the atmosphere and get ready. Around 8,000 people were taking on the course so of course there was massive queues for the toilet but after that we were ready so we made out way to the green wave start point. There were 7 waves of different music genres and we were in the 90’s green wave. I just want to say here though that the organisation of the event was amazing.
The green wave was due to set off at 11:15, we saw the waves before us all set off while we were having a warm up then it was our turn, we all started shuffling down then the gun went off and we started and at that moment it hit me, I had tears in my eyes thinking about when I was lying in hospital being sick because of all the harsh treatments and dreaming of this moment but there wasn’t time for tears I had a 10K to run!
I didn’t properly start running until I crossed the start line as everyone was too bunched up but then everyone started to split up and as we passed the Bullring the crowds were unreal and so supportive. I had a huge smile on my face but knew it was going to be hard work as the sun was beaming down, It felt like 30 degrees not 21.
Around the course there were flags to let you know once you had reached a certain kilometre. Now this isn’t an exaggeration but running to the first 1k felt never-ending. During the first few kilometres we had to pass runners coming the other way and I just wanted to shout I wish I was you haha. Getting to around 3k I was feeling okay but very hot and it didn’t help that my water bottle wouldn’t open so I could drink some water (I did manage to drink some though). The atmosphere had gone a bit quiet at this point as we were running by some industrial units but it wasn’t long until we reached the 5k mark. Officially halfway!
As we reached the 5K mark I was struggling, some doubts were creeping in and I didn’t feel well, I felt dizzy so this wasn’t going how I planned. I grabbed some water from the water station and walked a little. I just couldn’t catch my breath and my breathing technique was all over the place. Around 6k we had reached a big tent with showers in which I couldn’t have been happier to see. We were now running in between a lot of houses so the support was coming back and I was so thankful, I needed it. People were amazing handing out juice and water. Some people had even got out their hose pipes to splash us with water haha. At this point a lot of people were struggling including me with running so walking was inevitable.
Reaching the 7k mark I felt much better and in good spirits, I don’t know what happened between 6 & 7k but my body and mind just clicked. I felt a sense of achievement reaching 7k as I hadn’t run that far before and that definitely helped me with motivation to reach the finish.
I had passed 8k and was now on the road to the finish, we passed the 9k mark and threw our water bottles away as we didn’t need them anymore and I suddenly found a burst of energy unfortunately the course to the finish included hills, not massive ones but when you’ve already ran 8k it’s something you really don’t want to see. At this point I had to walk up the hills as I wanted to leave some energy for the last run to the finish but as soon as we had passed the hills the support was incredible. A lady noticed my name on my vest and shouted “go on Samantha you’re nearly there” As we approached the finish line I knew my family were waiting for us but as the crowds were large I was struggling to notice them, fortunately I noticed them just before the finish line as my sister shouted “Go Sam” and held up a poster.
As me and my auntie neared the line we held hands and put them up in the air. I had FINISHED and COMPLETED the Great Birmingham 10K. I am so proud to say I finished with a time of 1:15:17. Okay, I didn’t hit my target time of 1 hour and 10 minutes but it honestly wasn’t about the time and in 21 degree heat I am honestly so happy. On the way back home I couldn’t stop looking at my medal, I just couldn’t believe it.
Would I do it again? Um, YES. Even though it was one of the toughest things I have ever done, I actually really enjoyed it and the atmosphere was incredible. I genuinely believe I have made a massive step physically and mentally, I now know that whatever I put my mind to, I can do it and there isn’t a limit. London Marathon.. I’m coming for you!
I have now got the running bug and have already looked at races to sign up to this year, I wouldn’t have ever thought I would have said this because I’m not the type of person to enjoy exercise but I have kind of fell in love with running these past few months even though it’s been hard and at some points I had my days when I didn’t want to go out for a run because I was super tired and just wanted to curl up in bed I didn’t I got out there and pushed myself to go for a run. I have so many plans to do a lot more to raise money for different Charites who helped my during my cancer treatment including Clic Sargent & Teenage Cancer Trust.
I’ll be back in Birmingham next year to run the Great Birmingham 10K again and I can’t wait. Hopefully not in 21 degree heat though!