As I cautiously got out of bed this morning I was expecting to feel more Tin-man than human being after the tough running I put my body through this weekend, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. Usually after a weekend like that my joints are stiff, the muscles are sore and i’m exhausted. I Still feel exhausted but the body is holding up really well, perhaps i’m getting stronger than I thought.
So what did I do on the weekend?
On Saturday I entered a 10km race called the SMH SunRun which starts in Dee Why and ends in Manly. My friend Maria and I met at her place for 4.30am and we drove to Dee Why for the start at 6.45am. We arrived just early enough to get free parking and only have to queue a few mins for the toilet, which was a huge bonus because as we walked out the toilet queue had grown to about 50+ people deep. Score!
We headed to the start line and saw some familiar Strider faces and chatted about the course and what goals everyone was setting out for today. My coach and I had chosen a goal of 49 mins as I desperately wanted to go under 50 mins. He had given me some good tips and reminded me to ‘race’ instead of ‘run’ the course like I usually do. I felt very nervous. I hadn’t ‘raced’ and event ever and it had been a long time since I had run a 10km event. I had actually woken with a headache and not feeling great that morning, but I was determined to stay positive and had decided on my mantra when the going got tough…… “Just fucking run”.
Maria and I did a 10 minute warm up to get the legs moving and then edged our way through the crowd. We found some speedy friends near to the front of our (blue) group and we readied ourselves for the start. (That’s me hiding at the back right in the picture below)
The gun went off at 6.45am and the first section was the first hill, great! I tried to make my way through the crowd of runners and sneakily headed up the footpath on the left hand side which meant I could keep my rhythm and no have to weave around the other runners. I felt grateful that I had warmed up as it meant my legs were feeling ready to go and I went up the first hill right on my target pace. I was out of breath but I knew there was a down hill section i could use to get it back and about another 1.5km till the narrow section where I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get stuck behind any slow runners.
I had been speaking to a local runner who works in my office and he has given me some tips about the course, these proved tobe most useful as I could plan out my run and knew when and where to expect things like the narrow path, the never ending hills etc.
We got to the narrow section and I was feeling good. I was breathing heavy but thought it was a pace I could keep up for the remainder of the run. I tried not to get stuck behind people through the narrow section, which was a bit challenging, but I just kept repeating my mantra when the negative comments crept in. It’s funny (and annoying) how lots of males do not like being overtaken by a woman, so they speed up when you try to pass them. I tried not to let it affect my speed, but maybe it made me go faster too, i’m not sure.
We got through the narrow path section and hit the road, a slight incline was coming but it wouldn’t last long so I just kept running as consistently as I could through the undulating sections and kept picking off runners ahead of me to keep me focused.
There was a nice little out/around/back section where you got to see the other runners just ahead and just behind you and this was great as i saw some friends and we all cheered each other on as we headed for the next hill. The hill was at about 7km so I backed off the pace slightly before that hill to get some big breaths in and then muscled my way through it to the top getting out of breath again. I knew it had slowed me down and I remember my coaches words about not slowing at the top but pushing through and over, so i dug deep and overtook some more runners who were struggling after the hill.
Usually what comes after a hill is a downhill, and I was looking forward to using that to gain some time I’d lost, so i powered down passing several more people and I was now on the home stretch, less than 2km to go, running along the beachfront to the main part of Manly.
I picked a female runner in front of me who looked strong and had overtaken me just moments beforehand, and tried to stick with her for the last effort. I kept trying to catch her but only just managed to stay the same pace a few steps behind. It was then I heard a familiar voice, it was Richard from work, the loacl runner who had given me some tips. He cheered me along and i got a burst of energy to sprint for the finish. So I ran my little heart out and overtook the girl who I had been charging down and sprinted over the finish line doing my best ‘Darth Vader’ impersonation.
I looked at my watch – 47:07 and tears welled up in my eyes. I had done it. I had smashed my goal and I could not have been happier. What an achievement. I couldn’t breath and I could hardly stand up, but you could not have wiped the grin off my face!
Slowly I walked around trying to get my breath back and I headed back towards the finish line to look for Maria, i knew she wouldn’t be far behind me. And there she was, blazing over the line in 49:18, she had also cracked the 50 minute target too, wonderful!
We celebrated with some Strider friends we saw at the finish line and collected our race medals to prove our efforts. Another one to add to my collection.
And what better way to recover than i dip in the ocean, how could you not when it was right there! The water was so refreshing and we all laughed and chatted while we swam in our running gear. Then we even got a free coffee from the lovely people at the Virgin Active tent.
What a great way to start a weekend. It truly was a race I won’t forget in a hurry and I can’t wait for the next challenge.
Happy Running 😀