Last night, in a few seconds shy of 80 minutes, I ran 10k. For me, that was a truly massive achievement.
I can't take running 30 minutes or running 5k away from what I've achieved over the past 4 months, but while I was doing C25K, I always felt like a bit of an imposter. So many of the people on the programme have either never ran, or haven't done so for many years, and they were getting out and going for it.
Me? Well, as a referee, I've been running for many years. Yes, it's only been short dashes of up to 100m, but it means I have a certain amount of experience of running in my legs, and an "above the couch" level of fitness.
Does that detract from what I achieved in completing the programme? No, it doesn't. But for those of you who truly did start from the couch and are progressing through the plan or have graduated or are now building up and moving on from graduation; you are truly inspirational. I know how tough I found it with my "advantages", so to start out from scratch, I cannot articulate my admiration.
But I always felt a bit like I was in the wrong place. This was somewhere for beginners, this was somewhere for people for whom running was totally alien; what on earth was I doing here in the company of of people who thought I was just another novice like them?
I know that's not the case. I know my achievement is as valid as anyone's, but I still felt like I was "cheating" slightly.
Last night has dispelled any remaining doubts about what I have achieved since I first laced up my running shoes back at the start of March. Bridging from 5k to 10k was a kind of validation of the work I put in over those 9 weeks. I couldn't have run 10k without first having got to 30 minutes and then progressing to 5k and then stretching that distance out steadily over the intervening weeks to the 10k I ran last night.
I'm not sure I could go as far as to say this programme has changed my life, but it has certainly changed my perceptions of what I can do, what I can achieve.
If you are currently bridging to 10k (using ju-ju-'s plan or some other approach), good luck in your endeavours. I'll be here cheering you on your way. If you have graduated and are consolidating, well done; be proud of that achievement. If you are progressing through the programme, know that you are amazing just for having started it, and you can go on and complete it and more. If you are thinking about taking the plunge and starting out, go for it; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain and you absolutely can do it.
It's been an amazing journey for me over the last 4 months and I have shared the highs and lows with a lot of fabulous people on this forum; both the graduates and administrators sharing their wisdom and experience, and my fellow "students" geeing each other on, sharing their successes and practices.
If anyone is interested, the total distance run so far is 201k. I'm sure there will be plenty more to follow...