I ran in my first fun run today - the ActewAGL Women and Girls' 5k Fun Run/Walk in Canberra. It was great fun. I wasn't really sure what to expect. There were over 1000 women and girls participating, which was great. We started from Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park. Never having run in an event, or attended one, I didn't know what to do with my stuff. I decided to take a chance on bringing my backpack, thinking that the event organisers must have some way of handling all the paraphenalia that we women cannot survive without. There was an amazingly trusting way of handling it - people just left their bags on the stage. You've got to like that.
I met with the Team Black girls. We had a couple of extra people along too. I didn't feel as nervous with the others there. Just before the start, Krissi, our team leader, took a couple of us on a warm up run. Most of the others had already done this. I'd not been sure of my legs, so was minimising actual effort, but I weakened. I'm glad I did. We ran up the start of the course, which was a hill, and so I knew I could do it when the fun run actually started.
Krissi had competed in a 12 hour race the day before, so she wasn't running today (that was the plan) but she was taking us out for the first km so that we didn't go too fast. She assured us that we'd pass the people who took off too fast. Needless to say, once Krissi had run the first km she ended up running the rest of the way, and further as she came back to encourage the rest of us.
There were so many people at the start. It took some effort not to run into them. It didn't seem to occur to walkers to start near the back, and there were kids running along hand in hand, playing games. I hadn't expected it to be so chaotic. After navigating my way through the crowd and up the first hill I discovered that there were a few more hills. I didn't remember them from the time I'd run around the lake but we'd run in the other direction so we would have been running down them. I managed to stay with the group for the first eight minutes of the run, and then I felt like I had to walk, so I employed a similar tactic as I did yesterday. I walked for a minute and then ran for three. I did this, thinking that I'd be a lot slower than yesterday, but I didn't care as long as I made it around.
Because I was watching the clock to make sure that I didn't walk for more than a minute, I realised I was at the 3 km mark at 21 mins. That was 7 min/km pace. I was amazed, particularly as I'd walked 4 mins at that stage. I checked again at the 4 km mark. I got there in 27:45. Krissi met me during my next minute and encouraged me to run the last km with her. We caught up with another Team Black member, Lola, who had been passing me while I walked and falling behind when I ran. Krissi encouraged us both up one of the hills, and then sent us up the last hill while she went back for another one of our team mates, Kate.
Towards the end, Lola suggested I go on ahead of her, but I stayed back with her as running with the team had been really encouraging for me. I'd already done better than I expected, so I had nothing to prove. I was more than happy to finish the run with another team member. We saw the time up on the finish line and I couldn't help myself - we were on track to finish the 5 km in less than 35 mins so I suggested we give it a go. We both took off and sprinted the last little bit. The announcer laughingly commented on our sprint to the finish line, nearly 20 mins after the race winner (not that he said that) and we crossed over in 34:40.
After the run, we headed off to the pancake parlour for a well deserved breakfast, and then I dropped in at the gym to walk on the treadmill for my 25 points. I covered 2 km at 6 km/h and then headed off home. I'm certainly going to sleep well tonight.
Oh, and I've decided - I'm going to do the 10 km fun run on Canberra Marathon Eve in two weeks time.