I ran the 8 km in 52 minutes. I am really pleased with that time. In the 10 km, I ran 7 min k's, so 6.5 min k's is a definite improvement. Mind you, I didn't set out with a particular time in mind. My goal for the run was to get to the end. That's about all the thought I put into it. Occasionally, when the race crossed my mind, I thought, "it would be nice if I could manage 7 min k's" or "it would be nice if I could run the whole way" but I never actually committed to a definite goal. I knew that I could run the 8 km, because I'd run 10 km, but I didn't think much past that.
This morning I was talking to Lola, one of the Team Black Women (TBW), before the race and she said she'd like to do sub 56 mins. I realised that maybe I should have set myself a goal for today's run. I must do that next time.
We watched another of the TBW finish the 4 km run in 26:45, which was a great improvement for her, and I felt inspired to see if I could do better than 56 mins. There were six TBW in the 8 km run, and we all started from roughly the same spot towards the back of the group. A couple of the girls have been doing a lot of running, so I figured that I wouldn't try to keep up with them, but I thought that if I stayed in touch with Lola I could make the sub 56 mins.
To my surprise, because I felt like I had been running slowly, we ran the 1st km in 6:30. We were travelling at about the same pace at the end of the 2nd km, and I missed the 3rd km sign, probably because I was looking at the time and thinking it will be coming up soon. At that stage I was running slightly ahead of 6:30 pace. I made it to the turnaround in 25:22 and picked up speed a little. I think that was a mistake, as I had to drop to a walk at the 28 minute mark to catch my breath. I walked for a minute and then started to run again. I told myself I'd walk again at the 5 km mark. I wish I could remember the time for this, but the numbers have fallen out of my head. It was around the 32 minute mark. I got to the sign, and set myself another mini-goal, and then another. Each time I reached the next "it's ok to walk from here" point, I found myself managing to keep on running.
There were water stops at the 2k, 4k and 6k marks. I had some water at the 2k and 4k but didn't want any at the 6k point. I had worked out by then that I was well on track to get around in under 56 mins, and thought I might make it in 52 mins. I was so close to the end that I didn't want to stop for a drink. 52 mins became my race goal. I may not have set it early, but I did eventually set it.
At around the 7 k mark, what I thought was disaster struck. My shoelace came undone. I thought it would take me a while to do it back up but I managed to get it done quickly, only losing ten metres or so on the people I'd been running with. I made it back to that group, which Lola was leading, and then we came to a couple of hills. I decided to work hard up the hills to catch up with Lola and then I found out what disaster really was. At the top of the steeper hill I found myself throwing up. I guess I had worked too hard up the hill. It was just water, and I was fine, but it was a little disconcerting.
One of the volunteers who was riding a bike up and down the course came over to me with some water, and a couple of walkers stopped and told me I could walk with them if I liked. They were all very kind and I really appreciated their thoughtfulness, but I wanted to keep running. As soon as I'd recomposed myself and had sip of water, I was off running again. I realised that I'd probably lost my 52 min goal, but I still had my 56 min goal to beat. Once upon a time I would have given up then and there, but I'm made of sterner stuff nowadays.
I ran along thinking, "now I understand why people set themselves two goals for runs". Having the soft target of 56 mins gave me the incentive to keep on running, even though the hard target of 52 mins looked unachievable. I picked up the pace a little, thinking I'd finish as close to 52 mins as I could. When I came into sight of the finish line, I could see that I had 30 secs to get across the line in 52 mins so I motored on down the straight. I could hear the commentator making remarks to people as they went past but I didn't look at him. His comment for me was "No 116 is in a world of her own". I wasn't in my own world, but I was getting across that line before the 52 min mark. I made it with just seconds to spare. How many, I'm not sure, but I did it. The four TBW who had finished were all there to congratulate me, and the last one home came in not long after me, so we had that lovely sense of camaraderie that comes from sharing an experience with friends.
I was absolutely delighted with myself. I'd made the 8 km, I'd run faster than before, and I'd only walked for 1 minute. I'd persevered after throwing up. I'd discovered a new part of Canberra. I'd shared another achievement with my new TBW friends. I'd ridden to the event. I'd run for a good cause. All in all, it was an incredibly positive experience.
The bike ride was fun too. I had been reading about bike safety in 'Australian Cyclist' and I decided to ride to the venue a slightly longer but safer way. I think it was about 8 km there all up. It took me a little over half an hour to get there, which makes me laugh, as Calorie King doesn't have a calorie burn for cycling until you're riding at 17 kph. I'm not quite up to that yet. Not that it matters, as I have my trusty HRM when I remember to turn it on.
Because the run didn't start until 8:45 am, I was riding much later than I had the day before. There were a lot more people about. So many people in Canberra seem to exercise. I believe it has the most active population in Australia. When you're out at 7:30 on a Sunday morning and you see all the people walking, riding and biking, you definitely believe that it has.
On the way around the lake, there were km signs. The first one I saw was 15 km, and I passed a couple more. I wondered if they were for another run or for a bike ride. It seemed an awfully long way to run. On my return journey I discovered that the signs were there for the Canberra Half Marathon.
The ride home was a little more strenuous. For one thing, my legs were tired. I'm sure they were saying "Kathy, you're crazy, Kathy, you're crazy" all the way home. I told myself that riding home was an excellent cool down. I even believed myself. The only real hiccup on the way home was the Canberra Half Marathon. They took over the bike path for part of their race. I didn't think it would be polite to keep riding on the path, so I rode on the gravel down by the lake.
Not a huge inconvenience you would think, but I'm pretty much a beginning rider. The gravel was hard work for me. I was also a lot closer to the water's edge. I was concerned about falling off my bike. Worse still, I was worried about ending up in the lake. There were more people about by this time and you never know what they are going to do. I was nervous about crashing into someone and falling in. I was scared that I would overcompensate for sharing the space and end up riding into the lake. I was petrified that I would have to swerve to avoid someone and find myself tumbling in. Frankly, it amazes me that I get out on the bike!
At a couple of stages, I was riding alongside the runners in the half marathon. To my mild embarrassment, they were running faster than I was riding. Well, some of them were. I had to negotiate a bridge they were using at one stage, and I managed to find a break in the stream of runners, so I didn't inconvenience anyone. Once past the half marathon, I took the shorter, less safe route across town home. My legs really didn't care that the other way was safer and more scenic.
I got home feeling incredibly proud of myself.