Today was my first ever race, the Mother’s Day Classic 4 km. Official results aren’t in till tomorrow, but I think I did it a touch over 23 minutes.
THE END BIT, FIRST
As I dashed toward the finish line, legs shifting into a gallop, I had my eye piercing the clock like a dart. Then a roar came up from the crowd.
IS IT FOR MEEEEEEEEE? I thought, gazing around in wonderment.
They were hooting and clamouring for the 10-year-old girl in a fuchsia-pink tutu.
Before I could complete the thought “Oh, look, a charming child” — the little squirt slid in beside me and pipped me at the post!
I was hoping to do the 4 km in 24 minutes, so getting under that has me very pleased indeed.
GETTING TO THE RACE
We all got up at 6 am, and hopped in the car at 6.30 to get to Alexandra Gardens, with the children still in their pyjamas and drinking their wake-up milk en route. After sleepily grizzling for half the journey, Jasper suddenly perked up and shouted:
“MUMMY’S GOING IN A BIG RACE TODAY! YEAH!”
“And I’m going to run it in under 24 minutes!” I promised he and Saffron.
The law of the land was laid DOWN.
BEFORE THE RACE
After waving goodbye to my family and vowing to meet them at the finish line, I picked up my race number. 1991. When I’m nervous about something, I go all Numerical Nostradamus and look for meaning in numbers.
Most fortuitously, 1991 is one of my favourite years, ever, for music, fashion, and the fact I was 15 in 1991 and had very little to worry about in life. What’s more, 1 + 9 = 10, so 1991 was giving me 10/10.
Obviously, with 1991 on my side, this race was gonna be RAD!
AT THE START LINE
I did a bit of warming up, but probably should have done more. Why wasn’t anyone else warming up? I started to feel a bit stupid for warming up, and then decided it was incredibly stupid to feel stupid.
I stood there, listening to the race organizers tell us the rules, while trying to work out my iPod. I smiled at a few people around me, and then heard something about a big hill being in the race.
I vaguely remembered this from the time I walked the Mothers’ Day Classic back in 2002.
I don’t remember the sound of the starting horn, mostly as I had the White Stripes ‘Icky Thump’ blaring in my ears, but I started to run when everyone else did. About 300 metres into the race, the crowd began to space out. Here, I started to feel like I was going BACKWARDS.
Why was everyone passing me?
I was tempted to break into a trot, but stuck with my pace. And tried to tune everyone else out.
That bit wasn’t that hard, as suddenly I had cramps in my stomach.
OH MY GOD, WILL I HAVE TO STOP AND USE THE TOILET? OR INFINITELY WORSE, NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET, AND NOT HAVE A TOILET TO GO TO????
I battled waves of stomach cramps throughout the first half of the race. I began to feel paranoid: did I eat something with gluten in it yesterday? I think it was nothing other than nerves, but it was certainly a horrible feeling.
THE REST OF THE RACE
At around the 2 km mark (where I grabbed water at a drink station), the music became annoying, so I tore the earphones out and held onto them. I was surprised at the sound of everyone’s feet thudding away! And I could hear lots of breathing. My own didn’t sound so bad, then!
In the final kilometre, some people started to drop off, but this was where I felt like I hit my stride. Knowing that it was only a kilometre, and then, at about 500 metres when I could see the finish line, I was able to run much faster. All the other anxieties completely faded away. It was at this point that I really began to enjoy it.
FINAL THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS
I feel chuffed that I ran my first ever race, in less time than I thought I would. I now know a little more of what I should expect in future races. I want to do the Mothers Day Classic every year, but probably in the 8 km group.
And, as an aside, I’m proud of myself running with a small injury: last night I tripped over a kitchen stool and badly bruised my little toe. I thought our house was on fire and ran toward the kids’ bedrooms in a panic, tackling the stool on my way. Thankfully our house was NOT on fire … it was just smoke from the neighbours’s chimney wafting in under the door.
Winter has most definitely arrived in Melbourne!