Yep, it´s official. I´ve run my first ever race. Actually a while back, I competed in a 10k race. It was so fun and I beat my own record by so many minutes. I don´t know what kept me from writing this. But nevertheless I´ve gotten around to doing it, so here it is. My first run as a little story of my thoughts and feelings. A little recap…
I´ve been training specifically for this race for six weeks. I did a lot of sprint training, long runs and everything in between. Yoga and a lot of strength training were also part of my plan.
Running is still hard for me and I guess it´s supposed to be like that.. but I´ve really felt a change in my running since I started training for this race. I can sprint longer and faster, run farther and I start sweating later than when I´d begun my training. If you want to read my very beginnings, then go ahead and read this post!
I decided to go for a 10k race first, since I didn´t want to push my body into doing anything it wasn´t ready to do, like a half marathon. Instead I knew I was totally capable of running 10k easily, so I trained for time. I wanted to finish my race in one hour. So I trained hard always with the race as my goal in the back of my head. (A post on how I trained will be up soon, as well!)
Before the race I told myself that it´s okay if I didn´t make it under one hour. I just told myself to do my best, push my limits and most importantly: have fun and enjoy it!
There were about 250 people running 10k and a few more hundred running 5k, which was half the route I was going to run.
The weather was wonderful. Blue sky, sunny, pretty hot.
The atmosphere was pretty fun. I was running by myself and around me there were pretty large groups chatting and laughing. I felt kind of excited, kind of anxious, kind of a mixture of all feelings… Then we started counting backwards…..10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…the pistol shot.
I started walking, the first row started running and soon I was jogging too.
There were so many people running past me in speeds I thought were insane at that time. The first minute was crazy. So many people around me, running past me, I was running past a lot of others. I was running way to fast for a warm-up. At minute three I thought, just screw it and run.
So I did, I started picking up my pace even more. Now I was the one outrunning people.
My music was my pace, I was breathing deep, smiling to myself.
People around me were so busy with running, nobody looked at each other. I decided to focus on my music and enjoy the scenery.
We were running alongside trees and little houses here and there. It was quite beautiful.
Kilometer 2. Wow, that was fast, I thought as I passed the sign. I still had to focus on people not overrunning me and me not overrunning them. It was still very, very crowded.
I started running faster and faster, as I felt myself starting to sweat. “C´mon, you´ve already got one fifth of the race, give it your all, run, run, run…” Music in my ears and those thoughts in my head I ran faster, breathing deeper. There were fewer people passing by me, I was the one overtaking people.
I´m not going to lie. It did feel good. But what felt even better, was the face that I felt such strength in my legs, body and mind.
I felt so much power and strength in my body. It was such a new feeling. These past weeks, my body had been feeling tired or heavy when I hit specific kilometers. My mind wasn´t always on my side. Now was different. I felt like I could actually finish this under one hour.
Then I knew, I was going to finish this in under an hour.
I took a look at my watch, we were at kilometer 4 and only 21 minutes had passed since the start. That gave me the extra kick to go even faster.
Some of you might be thinking that in the hot weather and me always going faster and faster I was putting too much stress on my body. Maybe, although I don´t think so, since the only thing I felt was my legs telling me they are strong enough and my mind telling me that I can do it in under one hour.
I ran on. Passing by people, smiling when I heard a song I loved and watching the beautiful scenery turn into mowed lawns with a small river running alongside it.
Kilometer 5. Ready for round two. Let´s do the whole thing over again.
All those running 5k were now taking the turn to the finish line. I went the other way.
There were people standing there giving us glasses of water. I didn´t want to slow down, I was in my pace. But I still wanted some water. So I took some, said thanks while running and attempted my very best to get the water into my mouth. That was pretty hard actually, The water just didn´t want to stay in the glass and it refused to go into my mouth as well. I think in the end half the water ended up on my shirt and in my face and the other half actually in my mouth.
On we went. Now there were so little people running. Up to 10 meters of nobody. But that kept me going, I stuck to my pace mostly, going faster sometimes and then adjusting that new speed to be my pace.
Kilometers started passing by slower. I started wondering how many people there were in front of me that I couldn´t see.
Kilometer 7. It´s starting to get hard. The sun is shining, my pace is super fast and my head dripping of sweat. Where is the finish line?! There are hardly people around me.
A guy just stopped and started walking a few meters away from me. As I overtake him, I call for him to not give up. “Don´t stop now! You can do it! Go, go, go!!!”
He looks at me, astonished, with a head as red as a tomato. Then he goes back to jogging. I smile as someone behind me cheers on him as well.
Kilometer 8. Only two to go. “Now give it all you got.” I tell myself as I pick up speed once more. I´d gotten slower a bit over the past kilometer.
Go, go, go. Give it everything. I go faster. My legs are still strong, but also telling me that it´s not going to be long until they can´t hold the speed.
Mind over matter. It´s all in my head. My head wants to do this. I´m going to do this.
This is where I started. Now I´m going strong. Gooo…
I pass by a woman of maybe 26, she looks at me thunderstruck and pretty angry. I remember her overtaking me at the first kilometer with such a pace…
I didn´t think too much about it. I just kept on going. Concentrating on the music and my mind telling my legs to stick to the pace.
Where is Kilometer 9?! This is taking forever…
Ahh…the turn. Only half a kilometer to go.. Now, really give it everything, every cell in my brain screams. The rest of the cells are too busy working to scream anything back.
There´s a photographer. Oh god, I must look pretty disheveled. Try to smile. Okay…never mind…my face muscles are not working.
This is almost the end. Gooooo!!
A guy in probably his end 20s, runs in the opposite direction of me, cheering for somebody behind me. Then that girl who looked angry at me at kilometer 8, passed by him with her probably boyfriend running beside her, also giving me a pretty dark look.
What was wrong with them?! I didn´t do anything!
There it was! The finish line. I could see it.
The girl could see it as well as she looked pretty done, but also triumphant, still that angry look in her face. We´re all in this together. We´re running together. This is not war or anything. It´s friendly race. Like in kindergarten years, only that instead of 10m we´re running 10 km.
You know what, I´m not mad at you, but you´re really not going to cross that line before me.
Yep. That´s was my new goal. So what did I do?
I did what I do after every run. Every single run I ran for this race:
I sprint the last couple of meters.
I felt the last of my energy and the endorphins working for me as I went into a darn fast sprint. I didn´t see their faces as I passed by them, but my imagination pictured them pretty well.
I´d made it. I´d just run 10k in under one hour.
After catching my breath, stretching, drinking water and eating a banana, I went to check how fast I actually was.
“Wait…where am I?!” – “How fast did you run?” oops, did I say that out loud? I guess so..
“Errm…I don´t know..” I scanned the table searching for my name. I´m not on there..
Oh wait…that´s me! What am I doing on place 15?! “OMG!!” I ran my first 10k in 53 minutes. Seven minutes faster than my goal! YAYY! And I came in 15th place… what a feeling! My training, all those sprints and long runs…they really paid off!
To the person answering me… we´re going to run a 21k together this year. I found my. a little too far away, but nevertheless, running buddy.
The story continues…I still run. I´m going to complete my first 21k this year. It´s my goal. I can do it. All I gotta do is: train, train, train. This is only the beginning of a hopefully very long running story.
Have you ever run a race? How was it? What were your experiences? I´d love to know.