The anatomy of my first race – Clowance  January 2017

Throughout my running journey to date I have had a lot of what I class as ‘inner chat’ going on in my head.  From what i have read this happens to everyone but I always thought that what others experienced was not as stupid or negative as mine!!  

It would have helped me in the beginning to see what this looked like so that I could have been reassured that I was not the only one going through it.   Also, more importantly, it would have helped me to see this does not mean I cannot be a runner.  

No matter what part of the journey you are on everyone goes through it,  So in the name of honesty and transparency I thought I would share my inner chat from my first ever race.  Hopefully, this will make you feel that you are not going mad and the internal battle is much the same for everyone.


Ready; Set; Go….

‘What am I doing here? they are all ‘proper runners’, serious runners’.

I should not be here I am an imposter, a fraud.

They all look so fit and lean – god I must look like a joke to them, unfit and fat, get me out of here….Now.  No you can’t run away you will look pathetic.

Actually are they looking at me – yes they are.  Hold on a moment that guy is smiling at me.  OMG he just wishes me luck.  Crikey how nice is that?!

This is not so bad afterall!
The Starting line – nervous and excited in equal measure.

Over-riding questions

‘Am I ready for this?’

‘Yes I am,  well I think I am’

‘What If I can’t and I have to stop?’

I can do this

‘I don’t want to be last’

‘Oh god we are starting – s–t what was I thinking????


First Lap…..

Over-riding thoughts:

‘I can’t do this’ ‘yes you can’.

‘My legs are already tired and it’s the first lap,  I am never going to make it round’  ‘Yes you can Lisa’

‘ I don’t want to stop but I know I can’t do this’. ‘Just keep going a little while longer’

‘ Everone else looks like they are finding it easy’ ‘ I wish someone else would stop then I won’t feel so bad when I do’

‘Lisa you can do this’

‘ I can’t believe I was only 3/4’s of the way round when the first runners ran past us on there second lap-god I really should not be here.  I suppose they have been doing it a while.  If I can make it round I would be happy.  It was nice though that a high proportion were encouraging yelling  – doing well; keep going and don’t give up.  Runners are so friendly.
Lap 2

I need to stop,  I am sooooo tired, I need to stop.

I know I am not going to make it – why bother

I may as well stop now,  why punish myself further,  as I am not going to complete without walking some of it.

I just can’t do it, I really can’t do it.

There is Sue my coach – she has finished already – if only I was that good.

What did she just say ‘ Lisa do you want me to run with you’?  ” Yes please I am not going to complete otherwise’

I need all the help I can get.


Lisa your doing great, you have got this.  If you need to slow down that’s not a problem.  In fact slow down a bit it may help.


Ok Sue, but if I slow

I am afraid I am going to stop and I don’t want to stop but I don’t think I can do this.


If you need to stop – stop and walk for a bit.


No I want to keep going


Not far now lisa


I thought I was going this way to the finish line – what do you mean it’s that way.  But that’s on an incline!!   With disabling desperation ‘I CAN’T DO THIS’


Stop and walk before you go round the corner to give you the energy to get up that incline.


OK,  but Sue I don’t think I can do this


Yes you can – let’s go.




Look lisa you can see the finish line

My friend and other coach comes running out and yells Lisa you can do this at the top her lungs.

So end up running in with two out of my three coaches cheering me on.

The Finish Line

I only went and finished it!! I am sooooo relieved that’s over.  Feeling really really overwhelmed – I think I am going to cry.  I am crying why am I crying – I am being ridiculous.  I am such an emotional mess!!

Graduation from Running Club.

What do you mean I get a woolly hat for completing the race?!!  I deserve a flaming medal!!


That’s OK you have completed the 5k so you now get your running club medal, certificate and bottle of fizz to celebrate..


Well, that makes it totally worth it.

What did this Race teach me:

  • You need to run your race and not think about other people’s as it increases your self doubt
  • I have a hell of a lot of negativity going on in my head from before the race starts – I need to learn how to switch it off, drown it out!
  • Always prepare for hills and the unknown like mud!!
  • Don’t walk you always regret it in the end
  • Race’s are addictive!  I am so doing another one!

I now have muddy shoes which shows what I have been through to get this far!  I have made it…..I am a runner 🙂


It is at this point I want to say to Sue/Ivor and  Heidi thank-you guys for all the coaching you have given me.  If it was not for you I would not have got through any run much less writing a blog about it.

Tim, Julie, Andrew and of course Suzie my fellow running clubbers – you are all amazing and I love you all.  Thank-you for letting me be part of your running group and becoming my friends.