So, in my last post, I wrote that I had started training, by which I mean I’d been jogging a couple of times. Well, confession time, I went maybe once more after that. Running alone is really boring and I have much more interesting stuff to do. Consequently, I had very low expectations for my goal of running more of this race than the last one and assumed I would end up walking most of it.
For the first part of the race, it seemed my earlier assumption was correct; I started too fast, couldn’t hold my pace, and ended up walking, just like last time. Then, around one and a half miles in, I passed a man accompanying a blind female runner. (Well, she may have been partially sighted, I didn’t ask, but they were each holding one end of a short skipping-rope-like thing and he told her every time we approached uneven paving etc, so, I’m going with blind.)
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“No,” I replied, “I’m having trouble keeping pace.”
“You can run with us if you like,” he offered.
I accepted eagerly; and started running again. The pace was good and I found to my surprise that I could actually sustain it. It was nice chatting to my fellow runners as we went. I began to believe I could actually make it to the end. Then we turned into the wind and it got tough. I struggle to breath properly with the wind in my face anyway (it feels so horrible it might as well be drowning) and fighting wind resistance is, I think, what caused the stitch to kick in.
With the finish line just around the corner, I faltered. I nearly stopped. The stitch was bad, I had never run this far consecutively in my life (no, really, the most I ever did in school was the timed mile we were forced into- 8 mins, if you were wondering) and I nearly gave up. Then a hand grabbed mine and a voice said;
“I’m eighty, if I can do it so can you!”
And the lovely man ran with me over the finish line, my octogenarian hero 🙂
My time was 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds. I came in 358th out of 367, which is in the bottom 2.45%. And yet, the medal I got for finishing means so much more to me than the one I got for the half-marathon because although it was a shorter distance, I ran more of it. It was a huge personal achievement for me, although an hour an five minutes isn’t a particularly fast time for five miles. The whole experience of this race was better because other people buoyed me up. The man and woman I ran with, the old guy at the end, I may not know who you are or ever see you again, but thank you, if you are reading this, thank you.
Oh yes….because somehow I’m determined to keep torturing myself (emotional and mental gains from these races are epic but physically…ow),
I am planning to enter a 16k obstacle course with a couple of my fiances cousins in November. Wish me luck!
UPDATE: Although I didn’t manage to enter the obstacle course last year, it’s still on the list. However, I have entered this 5 mile race again for 2015, with my friend RJ, who I’ve been regularly training with (yes, you read that right, actually regularly training)! Once we’ve done it I’ll post a photo.