Run Melbourne: My first 10 k race! Last Sunday!
(I have some catching up to do with my blog entries, btw.)
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Before the race, I was a bundle of nerves. The night before, I fretted about almost everything that could happen, right down to having ONLY three safety pins to attach my bib to my shirt.
What if the bib flies off, paper cuts another runner, somehow lops off their head, and I am disqualified???? I ruminated.
Surely there is a REASON there are four holes provided for four safety pins. It must have some sort of scientific premise.
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On the morning, after a light breakfast of quinoa porridge, a smattering of linseeds, and a skinny cafe latte, Tim and the kids dropped me off a few streets away from the race, promising to meet me at the finish line (they did). I ambled around, spying other people in running clothes. I decided to ask a good-looking young guy in head-to-toe lycra (including headband) if I was ‘going the right way’ for the event.
He confirmed, yes, I was.
I knew this already (not least because about 40 people were all following signs that said Run Melbourne: THIS WAY).
However, chatting to a random handsome person helped ease my nerves somewhat. That’s just the way I roll!
I had fifteen minutes before the race to while away, and decided to do that by lining up for the toilet along with, oh, at least half of the other 20,000 race participants. Then, with five minutes to spare before the sub 45 race time group started, I headed down to the start line, literally rubbed shoulders with everyone else doing the 10 k run (we were packed in there), and fumbled around with my iPod.
Eventually, my group, the people who expected to finish between 56-60 minutes, were off!
And we firstly shuffled, then walked, and eventually jogged over the start line pad. About 30 or 40 metres out from the start line, I was actually running!
It felt a bit like the last day of primary school Each year, us kids would literally flee the school yard toward the Christmas holidays!
As I began running, I felt a lot more at ease compared to my first ever race (and only other race to date), the 4 km Mother’s Day Classic.
I had been running 10 km for at least 6 weeks, and felt confident that if I listened to my music and focussed on keeping an even pace, I would be able to get through the distance.
Julia had told me to take it easy for the first 2 kilometres, and I found that most people around me were also taking it easy, aside from a few darters. We just seemed to plod along. I was keeping a keen eye on my watch and seemed to be doing around 5.30 per kilometre, my comfortable ‘slow’ pace.
For the first five kilometres on my watch, things felt pretty easy.
After that point, one thing that alarmed me was that the MARKERS for each kilometre along the race route were out of step with my watch distance!
I was hitting each marker anywhere from 100 to 300 metres after my watch had said I’d made that kilometre (meaning: my watch said I’d done 5.6 kms, and the race marker said I had done just 5 km). Of course, I had to go by the race markers, as they defined the race!
It definitely had me perturbed.
It might not have been sensible, but I kept running past all the drink stations, not really needing to drink. I told myself that I didn’t drink during my training (I don’t – but as my distances get longer, I will need to sort this out!), so I would be fine.
By the time I was at 7 kilometres, I decided I had to up the pace a bit and think about how I was going to end it all.
WITH A BANG! was of course my natural reaction.
The problem was, I was feeling a bit TIRED. And also reluctant to go too hard even at this point. I still had 3 km to go!
Once I got to 8 kilometres, I dismissed my idea to sprint the last two kilometres. That really wasn’t going to fly. So I kept running a little faster. At this point, I started a getting crampy uncomfortable stomach, driven by nerves AGAIN, and panicked a bit. I pushed through and focused somewhat cockily on the number of people I was now passing (quite a few!)
As I passed the 9 kilometre marker, some guy barged past me, hitting shoulders!
THIS ANNOYED ME.
Until this point, everyone had been most cordial and made way for one another. As I watched his passing head, I was determined to catch up with him, so I stepped up the pace again to another gear. At this point, my watch was telling me I was about to reach 10 km. I knew this wasn’t the case, so just ignored it (ruing its very existence) and kept a look out for the actual finish line.
Things seemed to be going downhill, literally, and I found myself getting faster. I noticed a sign that said 200 m till finish (or something like that), and I started into my sprint.
Then, I rounded a corner, and there was the finish line!
I launched into a faster no-holds-barred sprint, one where I could feel my arms and legs going all over the place, and passed the guy that barged past me!
Then, I finished the race.
My time was 56.41. For the rest of my stats, click here.
According to my watch, I had run 10.6 kilometres. Something is awry with that watch!!!
My race time was a little slower than I hoped (I was aiming for 54 minutes, as that was a personal best when I was training), but whatever, I did it!
And, best of all, I was given a MEDAL!
(Along with everyone else who participated.)
Here I am, afterwards:
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and even though I chose to try to tune out with my headphones, I did feel strangely bonded to all the people that surrounded me. Like I was part of something bigger than myself, and that was quite a lovely feeling compared to the very solitary pursuit of running up and down Beach Road four times a week!
At around 6 or 7 kilometres, I passed a young man, in his early 20s, being wheeled by a large group of friends a similar age. He was wearing an oxygen mask and looked very ill. I felt quite overwhelmed and teary at this point. Obviously he was very determined to participate. I don’t know what his situation was, but it was lovely that he was able to be part of the race with a group of people who loved him and wanted to make it all happen.
Now that I have a 10 k under my belt, I am looking toward the 14 k City 2 Surf in just 3 weeks’ time.
And damn I am nervous about that BIG HILL.