Today, 13th of May 2018, I ran my very first 10 k race and I feel absolutely wonderful! For me it’s a bit of a milestone, more so than the 5k race. I managed to get from 5k to 10k. That means that I can equally get from 10 k to a half marathon if I simply keep going!
It’s now exactly 6.5 months since I started running from zero and I did not believe back then that I would get to this point. Of course I’m far from the top 3, but that doesn’t bother me at all. My goal was to top my so-far fastest 10k time of 1:16 hrs and I did. I ran in 1:12 hrs. In a race you are always faster. And yet, I was not overly exhausted afterwards.
It’s easy not to let the group pressure get to you, because there are so many runners on the course, some run 5 k, some run a half marathon and you never really know whether somebody overtaking you is actually faster or only on his first round. The cheering crowd is only at the start/finish line, in most of the other 9 k, fewer people wait around to cheer each single passer-by. For beginners that is comforting I think.
It’s so important to listen to your own body if you want to reach the finish line and a race tempts you so much to run faster than you should. I was immensly thankful today to have my Garmin Forerunner on my wrist, holding me back from over-excerting myself too soon. I have it vibrating an alarm when my pulse goes into the anaerobic zone and in a race, the atmosphere alone pushes up the adrenaline level – before you’ve even started to run.
I also carried a waist band with a bottle with me. It was hot and sunny and I wouldn’t have made it without drinking. I drink an isotonic drink usually, it’s simply water with this sugar-free powder dissolved in it. It tastes nice and gives the body back some of what its using during the run. I know there are drinking stations where they give you water.
Today I tried drinking out of a cup while running. It’s not working for me! So I simply sloshed it over my head. That was very refreshing and the slight breeze made the hot midday sun so much easier to tolerate. From then on I took a liking to it and kept pouring the water cups over my head. I saw lots of other runners with a face as red as tomatoes – but I was perfectly fine.
Before the race I drank and ate normally until 1 hour before, then all I consumed was an energy gel. It just gives you a little extra energy and endurance but today I actually wouldn’t have needed it. You never know though and apart from the not so wonderful taste it can’t hurt. And of course some extra magnesium is mandatory today. After all I don’t want to have sore muscles tomorrow and I never have when I take some magnesium.
During the first 5 k I really had to hold myself back constantly not to run too fast. I run 6 k almost every morning now, but if I would run with that pace, I wouldn’t be able to finish the 10 k without walk intervals.
I’ve seen many runners who ran too fast and then had to walk because of exhaustion. They finished with or after me, but they were in a much worse shape than me. It’s way better to pace slowly but keep up the constant running. And it’s the only way to go on to the next distance goal.
I had my Trekz Titanium earpieces on, as most runs only forbid you to put in earplugs. I was listening to my usual running playlist for 10 k runs which helps a lot to calm me down and get into my groove so to say. I also like the constant announcements of pace and heart rate zone. I also carried some tissues, but didn’t really need them, I have to admit that sometimes my wrist sweat bands are enough. I wouldn’t go without them, they can serve many purposes.
Of course I had a cap on, with thin breathable mesh, but I needed the sun protection badly. Running with sunglasses is not my thing, plus they don’t shade your head and you can get a sunburn on your head. I put on sun screen and had 3/4 running trousers and the race shirt they make you wear. I’m not a fan of those, but this one was actually of a good quality.
I listen to the rule not to try out any new gear at a race, but go with what you know works for you. A golden rule really. The atmosphere was great, the run went straight through the city center of the tiny city Fuerth, past several bars and café’s with people sitting there, drinking their cappuchino and cheering.
There were even some bands along the track playing Samba music. It felt wonderful to run along the closed-off streets where usually lots of cars make their way…
And now I ran there, the whole street for myself. It is definetly an experience worth having and it’s not about winning the race or being among the top 3. There are always some professional runners on those races that you have no chance of beating as a hobby runner, but that’s ok. For us competitive people, that takes the need out to ace somebody else. It’s really about simply doing it and reaching your own goal.
I wanted to do a new best time for 10 k and I did. Stat. That’s it, that and running through the finish line, cheered by quite a few people and getting that picture (thanks to my very kind hubby). It’s a success, your success and nobody can take that away from you.
That is also the reason that I grin like a loony on that picture, that was not for the shot, I had been grinning like that for the last few kilometers. Runner’s high is a real thing, I’ll say it again!