Alright guys, it’s done and over with. I’m back and I’m here to report you guys on how it went. You probably won’t be expecting what I’m about to tell you. So buckel up, click the jump and read on to hear about my adventures and thoughts on the event day!
I didn’t do it.
I didn’t run the half marathon. Instead I opted for the 10K. Now I know what most of you are thinking right now. “Oh what a wuss”. I accept this. On race day, nerves are beyond anything you could imagine. It was like I was a child again, about to enter my final exams for IGCSEs (Yeah I went to a Birt school cause I’m cool like that).
It dawned on me that my training, would leave me no where near close to finishing a half marathon. Although I initially wanted to challenge myself into it. I knew I’d end up injured. Remember, a half marathon is 23.1KM. That’s no easy distance. Considering this is my first race and I’ve only ever run a 10K in training a few times, I thought to myself. Instead of doing the Half Marathon and trying to complete it. Let’s try the 10KM race and try to win it!
Now how did it go?
It was around 29 degrees celcius that morning. I sat outside by the track with my headphones on listening to the latest Above and Beyond podcast. That’s it, I felt the nerves jump even higher. I’m ready to go, I’m pumped.
Then as time grew closer to the start of the race, the more nervous I became. All the pressure, the lack of proper training, and the servicing my body would need after this race started playing around with my mind. Am I really ready to do this? What’s my plan? Do I pace myself the whole race or run slow at first and jolt to the finish the last few miles?
Every possible scenario went through my head and I stretched out a little bit and did up my shoe laces. More people arrived and we set up at the starting line. Looking around me, I thought to myself “wow, I’m not even half as fit as half of these people!”…Before I could take a deep breath and realize that it’s just a race for fun…
That’s it, we all started to run. The other contestants didn’t even seem to break a sweat through the first couple of hundred meters whilst I was sweating profusely. They started to easily glide by whilst I slowly started to fall back towards the back of the line.
I picked up the pace and kept going, towards the end of the first mile I was heading back up towards the front of the pack. I thought to myself, this aint so bad. Maybe I should have gone for the half marathon.
Then, it slapped me right in the face. I hadn’t paced myself and I had begun to reach the front of the pack again. See the people who I was racing against was a mixed breed. Many who race competitively, and many who just do this as a hobby, and a select handful who just wanted to have a go at their first 10KM.
I slowed the pace down at the end of the second mile. I didn’t want to burn out, then little did I know…
SMACK! SWEAT! AND BLOOD!
I tripped on a part of the gravel that had been unevenly paved. I didn’t realize how heavy my legs really were that far into the race. Quickly, I jumped up and kept going. This wasn’t something that I wanted to hinder my race. After a few hundred meters of the incident I raised my hand to wipe my face. Only to realize other people staring at me. I had cut my arm on the fall, and although the cuts were very simple – I was bleeding. The blood covered the whole of my right forearm.
The first water station. I was excited. I quickly ran towards it picking up pace and then chugging down a small cup. I then had a friend who was at the station throw water on my cuts and wipe down my bleeding arm.
The water station was a perfect spot to rejuvenate. Before running off, I took another small plastic cup and went on my merry little way. At this point, I had thrown my hat off to my friend and dowsed the water all over my head. It was hot. The desert heat was not a friendly spectator.
As the race went on I remained towards the front/middle of the pack. I was proud of myself. I kept running, my headphones in and the beats pumping. I felt at this point that I could rule the world. 5KM down, 5 more to go as I passed the halfway mark.
The Power of Friendship:
is really something you can’t underestimate. My friend who is an experienced runner was running the half marathon that started an hour before the 10K runners on the same track. Now the track was looped so the chance of people overlapping and running into the half marathon runners was very high.
My friend, instead of going for a great time decided to slow down and run with me for motivation. She also claimed that she didn’t do enough training and I do believe her (since she had been out of the country for a several weeks visiting family).
This just did it for me. I figured, I can’t back down or slow down now. Even when I wanted to, I’d get that look that just screamed “come on you wuss, only a few more KM to go”.
Now I must admit, I did slow down my pace. I had pushed all my energy through the first 2-3 miles. I had pain all over my body but I couldn’t stop…I didn’t want to stop… Slowly but surely, two to three runners took off ahead of us. I felt guilty but I felt that I physically couldn’t catch up with them.
Towards the end of that last lap. Knowing in my mile that there was only about a mile left in the race. I started to feel healthy again. I started to forget about any pain that I was feeling (I say forget because the pain I felt in the race, is amplified about ten fold right now as I type this out).
But this feeling just took over me. It was the feeling of pressure and that success lay in my sights just after the bend.
A Bat Out of Hell
No joke, this is a quote from my friend who was running with me to help motivate me on my first race. She said something along the lines of “I don’t know what happened, but you just” and then I quote word for word “took off like a bat out of hell”.
Reaching the finish line was such a great feeling. Although I was disappointed in my time, for my first race I achieved a time better than any 10KM run I’ve done out on the gulf road. I did 10KM in 1 hour and 14 minutes and thirty.fourtysomething seconds. Which isn’t bad at all for a first timer. I’m assuming for a half marathon I probably would have finished in 10 days. But enough about that.
I’d like to send out thanks to my friend, who has got me obsessed with running and sacrificed her half marathon time to help me get through my first race. The heat was brutal, the training was minimal, but the end result was a day of great fun with great company. I also met a few nice runners that I thought were pretty awesome.
The run was then followed with refreshments, an award ceremony, and some kick ass music.
Now that I’ve clocked my first official race mileage. It’s time to look for the next race.
Sorry for lack of images, but I didn’t have a camera with me on race day. I have supplied pictures of my number and the aftermath of that cut the day after the race. Hope you guys enjoyed the story of Run Joe, Run. I’ll keep you guys posted via the blog when the next race is going to be booked.