Tonight I did something that at the start of the year I wouldn't have even contemplated - I went running with a running club! I joined the ladies at Boutique Sport for a 'gentle' 4K run through Central London.
Things didn't start too well to be honest, when I arrived at the gym studio that they use as their base for the runs I was handed a T-shirt to run in - they wanted everyone to be kitted out in the same gear so that we were identifiable on the run. Fair enough I guess. However, their choice of running tops really could have been more forgiving - tight fitting white tops are not my usual running gear of choice!
I was one of the first to arrive and as others joined the group it soon became clear to me that I was one of the oldest, and the only person in the group who wasn't a size 10. I started to feel a bit nervous about what I'd let myself in for.
We set off through Covent Garden, towards Waterloo Bridge at a reasonable pace - the biggest challenge was dodging through the crowds and watching for traffic. When we got to the other side of Waterloo Bridge and made our way down onto the Southbank the pace started to increase. I found myself at the back of the pack, really struggling to keep up with everyone.
We ran along the Southbank and along by the London Eye before crossing back over the river via Westminster Bridge. By this time the group were a good minute or so ahead of me. The pace was much faster than I'm used to running. To her credit the group leader ran with me, chatting along the way and offering a lot of encouragement. It still didn't stop me from feeling a bit rubbish to be honest.
After we'd turned right back along the Embankment we took a left turn along the side of The Savoy hotel. This road is pretty steep - perfect for a hill sprint, so the group leader decided. I increased my speed as much as I could but the others were at the top and around the corner before I'd got halfway up!
Thankfully, before long we were nearly back in Covent Garden where we started and I was once again encouraged to sprint the last 100m. After some cooling down and stretching the group leader took the time to check that I'd enjoyed it and gave me some more words of encouragement that I really appreciated.
So, I was definitely the tortoise of the group, but unlike the fable, I never actually overtook the hares. I could be really demotivated by the experience, but I'm choosing not to be. I did it - I've been out running with a group of people who were much faster than me and I didn't give up. I pushed myself, completed the run and when I go back next week hopefully I won't be quite so far behind them!