I headed along to Holyrood Park, in my home city of Edinburgh, to take on the 5km MoRunning race. A fun, light-hearted event, and all to raise money and awareness for men's health and the Movember Foundation. Perfect for my return to running after being out injured for several months.
Nevermind it being my first race in 5 months, it was the first time I was going to run at all in 5 months. I had been doing a lot of cross training (elliptical machine, rowing, step machine, etc), but hadn't yet attempted anything more than a power walk in terms of running. So I was a little bit nervous about how my knee was going to hold up.
The race start was in Holyrood Park, in the shadow of Arthur's Seat. The route was the very scenic Queen's Drive, which snakes up, around, and down Arthur's Seat. A common route for many Edinburgh based races, which is quite understandable due to the amazing views of the city that it offers.
There are two options for each MoRunning race, 5km (1 lap) or 10km (2 laps). I opted for the 5km race, since I didn't know how my knee would react to the running, and didn't anticipate completing it in a particularly quick time.
The event village was small but cosy, and the fun atmosphere quickly alleviated my pre-race nerves. Fortunately it was also a beautifully sunny Edinburgh day, albeit pretty cold if standing in the shade. The race was about 10-15mins late in starting, though this was to accommodate latecomers or those in the toilet queue, so nobody seemed to mind the slight delay.
The start of the race was a refreshingly relaxing affair. No sign of the motivational speeches, air horns, or smoke bombs that you see in other events (particularly obstacle course races). Don't get me wrong, I love the drama and adrenaline fuelled nature of the race starts I normally attend. However, today my first couple hundred metres would be to very gingerly test if my knee worked. So the fun relaxed start was perfect.
Before the race I was half expecting to end up trailing everyone at the back, unable to keep up due to an inability to properly run. I quickly realised that this concern was unfounded, as I comfortably jogged along in the middle of the pack.
There was a huge range in age and ability level of people running. Everything from fast club runners to a family with young kids, pushing a buggy, all dressed as superheroes. All united by the cause of raising money and awareness for men's health and the Movember Foundation.
No Knee Issues :)
I'm pleased to say that my knee was fine the entire way round. At a few points, I even had to consciously restrain myself from going too fast, just to err on the side of caution. My running felt a little awkward, possibly a combination of being out of practice, and subconsciously trying to protect my right knee. However, as the race went on, I felt more comfortable and at ease, and gradually increased my pace a little.
I finished in about 33 mins, which obviously isn't anything to write home about, but I was still pretty pleased with that. Simply the fact that I managed to jog all the way round, with no knee pain, was brilliant.
It's also given me a big confidence boost in my knee, and made me realise that I can, and will, get back to proper running. Just need to keep doing what I'm doing, and I'm sure I'll get back to competing again in the near future.
MoRunning are an awesome organisation, who do a lot of great work for men's health. Their races are fun, relaxed, accommodating of all ages and abilities, and of course all for a good cause. I highly recommend you check them out, sign up for a race, sponsor a friend or relative, and help raise awareness for the Movember Foundation.
As for me, with my new found confidence in my knee, I'm going to get back along to my local Park Run next weekend, and already looking ahead to more races next year.
See you on the start line soon...