I had a giggle when I started writing this because ‘Run Unleashed’ kind of links in with my previous post about taking the dog with me for my short runs. And it was also the tag line for yesterdays Nike She Runs 10km at Centennial Park, a women’s only night run which has 6,000 runners this year (double the amount from 2012).
When I arrived at the grounds it was still light but it was bitterly cold, the breeze had some bite. And as it got darker, it got colder. I was very thankful to have worn long tights and a light jacket, as some girls were just in singlet & shorts. They made me cold just looking at them.
I ran into a few of my run club mates before the race, it was so nice to see everyone & chat about tactics and goal times. There was a real buzz in the air and so nice to see so many female runners in one spot, it was going to be a great race!
So I sat there and realized that it was actually the first time I had ever raced a 10km event. So Laura (my run leader friend who is about the same pace as me) planned to sit on a 5’30” pace and if we felt good at 5km then we would push a bit harder. That was the plan, but nothing ever goes to plan.
The orange group runners set off first and the excitement rose in the arena, it was almost time. We all hugged and wished each other well & mentally prepared for what was to come. Then the pink group was called, so we made our way to the start line and the atmosphere was amazing, everyone was so pumped up and trying to warm-up in the cold night air. The countdown began and we were off and racing.
The start of most races can be hard as there are lots of people and nowhere to go, so if you get stuck behind somebody slow it can be tough to get your rhythm. But Laura and I picked our way through a few groups and kept each other moving at a comfy pace. The start actually felt more like an interval session than a run, but it felt good. I felt strong and we kept moving through the crowd and tried to stay on pace. It’s not surprising that my first k was my slowest, followed by the 2nd km and then we stayed pretty much on track after that. I made some headway up the hills as most people slowed down.
For some strange reason I love hills. I can’t explain it, but I love them and I look for them when i’m out on the road. Maybe it’s because always get a break on the downhill….
So there we were running the night with our matching singlets and flashing bracelets lighting up the park to music and signs and many cheers from the crowds around us. It was such a fun race and so inspiring to see so many female runners having a go, young and old, fast and slow. Sometimes the best goal is to make it to the finish line.
As I hit the 7.5 km mark I started to get my groove, I don’t actually think I warmed up until about that point because of the cold. My knees and ankles had felt a little sore up to that point, but I had to put it out of my mind. So as I slowly sped up I started picking off more and more people, I moved swiftly through the groups and felt like nothing could stop me. At the last corner I decided to make a sprint for the line. I took a deep breath and gave it everything I had, I ran past so many girls in that last half km, it was incredible. I felt unstoppable and I hit a new PB of 53:16.
I was so happy with my results and I ran into my friends who had also hit there targets. It was an amazing experience and everyone was pumped up and smiling. What an awesome event and what great friends. I would definitely be back again next year!!