I got a confession to make: I ran a race last Sunday. My first race of the year, actually, and more precisely, my first 10k ever.
A few weeks ago, while my coach was planning the first three weeks of my marathon training, I mentioned the 10k in my area. I wasn’t sure if I should run it, because I am going to run my second half marathon this Sunday (when did that happen?), however, coach Susi said it would be a fabulous idea to run a 10k the week before the half.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I didn’t feel well. I didn’t know if I could run faster than an hour. Running faster than an hour was my top goal. My secret goal was to run under 55 minutes, but I had never ran that fast and figured that this goal should better be kept secret.
My mother and I arrived at the start/finish (which was at the swimming pool I go to). We did the usual pre-race ritual. At 9.15am, the gun went of for the first time for the 5k runners. Five minutes later, the gun went of a second time for the walkers, which included my Mom. She did the 5k walking race for the second year, and while I was just there to cheer for her last year, I got mentally ready for my first race of the season.
Around 45 minutes later, my mother crossed the finish line, and I changed my clothes and got ready for my own race.
It was 10.30am when the last group of runners started. As soon as I crossed the start line, I noticed that I was way to fast. Smart as I am, I thought I should slow down, but- wait- that 5:03 min/km didn’t feel impossible to run for 10 kilometers.
I just ran. For the first time, I felt like I am actually racing.
Around km 3, another triathlete from my club ran next to me. “What’s your goal?” I said. “To cross the finish line in under 50 minutes,” was the answer. “How about you?”
This was a moment when I made the decision. “To run under 55 minutes!”. She said I was alot faster than that, which I new. However, there were still 7 km left to run.
The time flew by, and I had the time of my (running) life. I felt like a “real runner” for the very first time. I have always thought about myself as a runner, but there is a difference between “running” and “running after you have really raced a race”
Around kilometer 8, my stomach started to bug me. I couldn’t see “my pacer” anymore and tried to stay as positive as I could. “If only I can run a bit faster than the last 8 km, I will be done in just ten minutes. You can do anything for ten minutes.”
I could. As I turned around a corner and saw the finish line, I started sprinting. I even passed the triathlete I was following for the past 4 km.
I finished in 51 minutes and 1 second. I finished 9 minutes faster than I thought I would be able to.
23rd out of 108 women.
6th out of 13 in my age group.
My mother and I were two happy runners. Perfect Sunday!