Every 3 months, the office running club organizes a Cooper Test. The idea is to run as hard as you can for 12 minutes, and then measure the distance that you managed to cover. I’ve intended to take part in one for quite a while, but only today did I manage to actually do it for the first time.
Having checked the previous results, I knew that I would most likely be the slowest person on the day, especially since the last time they ran the test, there weren’t even any other women taking part. After checking the archives to see all the previous results, I realized that I would actually be very lucky not to be the slowest person ever on record… Somewhat daunted, I went regardless.
In the changing room, I saw quite a few girls that I recognized from a couple years ago when I used to go out with the Run 4 Fun group. That’s good, I thought, at least I won’t be the only girl. Wrong. All the others were going out for a normal run, not doing the test.
Waiting at the meeting point, it became quickly evident that I truly was the only girl doing it this time round. Ah well, makes coming in last slightly less embarrassing. And there was very little doubt in my mind that I was going to be the last.
The organized showed me the route on a printout, and then reassured me that someone would be out on a bike to point out the turning point, and would accompany the last person. Company then!
The whistle blew, and we set off. In very little time the main pack had rounded the corner and were out of sight, leaving only a couple people ahead of me. I did overtake one guy who started walking, but I’m still not sure if he was actually with us or not. If he was, I guess he gave up, because I never saw him again. I like the idea that I wasn’t technically the absolute last, but I suspect that he was just some random person that happened to be running where we were!
By the first turn-off I had to pull back my pace a bit. Without my watch I had no idea of how long I’d been running or how long I still had to go. I tried to put that out of my mind and just kept plodding away, although I could feel that I was struggling to keep my pace up.
Reassuringly, I was always aware of the cyclist behind me, and when we came to turn points he shouted out which way I should go. Just as I thought I couldn’t go much longer, he called out ‘one minute to go’. I gasped out a thanks, and tried to keep my pace. I wanted to kick it up a bit, but figured I probably crash out if I did that too soon. Nearly… nearly… nearly… then ’10 seconds! keep going, you’re almost at 2,000!’ Pant, gasp, gasp, PHWEEEEEEET!
I stopped… just shy of 2000m, with a result of 1995m and average speed of 9.975km/h. So near and yet so far from that mythical target of 10km/h.
I walked back slowly with some of the other runners, all of whom were very encouraging. I was surprised just how many people I knew – from language classes, from work, from the BHV, and from the running club.
Later in the afternoon, the official results came in – I am not the all time slowest person! I am in fact the all time second-slowest person. But with a recorded, rounded-up speed of 10km/h, I was still overjoyed with what I achieved. A 30 min 5K might not quite yet be in my grasp, but it’s closer than I thought.
My result left me all fired up both for the 6K Patent Run in a fortnight, but also for the next test, sometime in September.