Yesterday I ran the Asics Canberra Marathon Eve 10 km run. I was really pleased that I managed to make it the whole way around. I ran for 30 mins without stopping, then ran 3 mins and walked 1 min for most of the rest of the way up until the last km, which I managed to run.
I was nervous beforehand. I didn't know if I could make it, and I wasn't sure if I should be running the 5 km event instead of the 10 km event. I kept telling myself that the 10 km was a real challenge, that I could do it, that I'd be disappointed if I downgraded, and that it didn't matter how long it took me to go around as long as I gave it a go.
One of my sisters, Trish, made the trip up from Melbourne this weekend, and she came along to support me. I dragged her along to the venue an hour early, to make sure that I had time to put in my late entry, and to settle down. The 5 km event started just as we arrived, and we watched the runners come past the grandstand. From that stage on, Trish was hooked. She'd been going to watch the start, and then leave and come back. Once she realised that she'd see us all run past a few times, she was determined to stay and cheer.
I managed to meet up with the girls from Fernwood. I hadn't organised to meet them, but I was pretty sure that I'd catch up with them. Sally, Lola, Nicole and Candy were all running, as was our team leader, Krissi. It was great to have fellow team members there. Kellie from Team Black ran the 5 km, as did another friend of mine, Ingrid.
Before the run started, I decided that I'd love to get around in 1 hour 20 mins, and I'd be happy with 1 hour 30 mins. I was worried that I'd struggle to last for 5 kms, and had a secret fear that I'd end up being a "did not finish" statistic. I went to the back of the pack when the run started, so that I wouldn't be tempted to run too fast at the beginning. A friend of mine who's a serious runner warned me that because there was a 5 km and a 10 km run, there wouldn't be too many weak runners in the 10 km event, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't be tripping over a whole lot of walkers by starting near the back. It worked out pretty much the way he said. I only felt the need to get around one couple who were running together, and they went past me about 40 mins later, so I probably could have stayed behind them.
The course consisted of a 1 km loop approx, followed by three loops of 3 km. I thought we were doing two 5 km loops, so when I heard we had to go around a third time I had this panicked reaction of "I can't do that" until I thought it through, looked at the time and the distance marker, and realised that I was running well to plan.
I made it to 5 km in 33:30, which was a little over a minute faster than my previous 5 km. I was really pleased with that. I struggled a little during the next few kms but I managed to stick to the 3 min / 1 min plan. It was also interesting to see the fast runners going by. I was lapped quite a few times. It was a little disconcerting to see how close some of the runners came to me when they went past. I was worried that I'd cause an accident. I eventually figured that it was like driving. They'd only overtake if they thought they had room, and if they got it wrong it would be their fault not mine. Once I'd thought that through I was able to relax.
When I went past the finish line the third time (end of 2nd lap) I was behind a guy who was walking. He overtook me coming up to the line. It was hilarious to think that he could walk faster than I could run. I ended up following him for about half the last lap until he powered away from me. He did run a little when he made his break, so I didn't feel so bad about that.
The marshalls around the course were really encouraging. Towards the end, one of them said to me "Just enjoy yourself". I answered cheerfully, "I am." And I was. The third lap was just fun. I knew I didn't have to do it again, and I just concentrated on enjoying my achievement.
I hadn't expected the crowd to be so supportive either, particularly on the third lap. Many people called out to me, telling me that I was doing great, or to keep it up as there wasn't far to go now. I saw Ingrid cheering me on a few times, and Trish was near the finish line, supporting me enthusiastically. It was great to have all that encouragement.
There were a couple of people I was behind for most of the way, a man in a Brumbies shirt and a woman just ahead of him. I finally passed the guy at the 8 km mark. I expected him to pass me again when I dropped to walking but I think he'd had enough by then. I caught up with the woman at the 9 km mark. She was starting to look like she'd had enough. I realised I could pass her and beat her home, but for me it wasn't about being there before other people. Instead, I decided to encourage her. I ran beside her when I reached her and told her how great we were doing. I said, "We are warrior women. We can run 10 km. Most of the women I know can't do that." It sounds corny now, but it seemed to help her, and we ran the rest of the way together. I was going to drop back to a walk after another few mins, but she told me "You're stronger than me, you can run the rest of the way" so I did. It was a great help to have her encourage me in return.
We chatted and I discovered that Christina had come down from Sydney for the race. It certainly helped, having someone to run with at the end. It took my mind off the effort I was making and it was great to share the final part of the journey with another runner.
When we got to the last bit, I was going to run over to the side and avoid the finishers' lane as I had done the previous three times and then I realised that I was a finisher. It was a great feeling. We could see that we were going to get across before 1 hour and 10 mins, so there was no need for a rushed finish. Instead, I enjoyed the run past the crowd. Trish was cheering madly, as she had every time I ran past.
Christina and I ran over the line together in 1:09:xx. I was so thrilled to make it that I forgot to check the time. Trish was cheering so hard, she isn't sure if it was 11 or 14 seconds. I guess we'll find out when the results are published.
We made our way down the finishers' lane and then we were done. I was so looking forward to having something to drink and to catching up with the other Fernwood girls to see how they were feeling. It was great to hear how they'd done, and we were all on a high after achieving our goal. Trish enjoyed seeing the run, and it was was a huge boost to have her there.
I was really pleased with the run, but I was also delighted with how I pulled up after it. I wasn't exhausted and I was moving really well. I felt as though I could have run further, which is a good way to finish. Today, I'm a little tired, but I'm not in any pain. I'm also amazed that I managed to get around in 70 minutes. I hadn't expected to do that well.
This morning I played tennis with a friend of mine, Nok. We had arranged to play on Saturday months ago, but she kindly changed our game to today when she heard about my run. I'm a squash player, so tennis is a real challenge. I skied a few balls and struggled with serving, but I finally got the hang of it and we played a very one-sided game. I told our cheer squad, Trish and Alex, that Nok was winning by a small margin, which caused them great hilarity. I'm not really sure why. I had a great time and I'll definitely play again, although I can't see myself ever making the switch from squash.
Other than that, I haven't done much exercise. I'll be back at the gym collecting points tomorrow. I've got my personal training tomorrow, so I'll get to finish off my weights program. If I'm up to it, I'll do the pump class as well.
Oh, and I'll definitely be participating in more fun runs. I feel great!