Yesterday was my first 10k race, it surpassed all my expectations, in every possible way, from the number of people that were racing, the hype, my performance in the race, everything was better than I had expected, it was GREAT!
I decided to make 2 posts about the race, one with The Results and this one, describing how it was to race for the first time:
The race was at 7:30am, so I woke up at 6, I had eaten really well the day before so I decided not to have anything for breakfast (my stomach isn’t good at accepting solids early in the morning anyways…). I had a glass of water and took a long shower to wake up. After that I made a playlist for the race. I usually run while listening to music and it helps me keep the pace, so I thought this would help me not to start too fast and gain speed as the songs progressed. I got my running clothes on, including a huge cotton shirt that they gave me when I signed up for the race, and that I thought was mandatory to use (but I found out later that it wasn’t). I went to pick my cousin next door and we went to the race.
I was amazed when i got there, there was sooooo many people on the street!! There were over 6 thousand people participating (my cousin was #6045 and I was #5542). We had to run to get our timing chips because we were short on time and then run to were everyone was waiting to start the race.
This much running served me as a warm up, so when we found a good place I just stretched for about 30 seconds and the race started!!! or so they were saying… Because I was in the middle of the group it took about 2 minutes for the people around me to start walking and about 30 more seconds to go over the starting line. This was taking forever! I WANTED TO START RUNNING!!
I had planned to follow Chris advice and go at my pace and not to start too fast!! But at this time I could only think about one thing: RUN!!! And that’s what I did. I didn’t go all out, but I went faster than I had planned. I started passing people and kept going until I found my self surrounded by a group of runners that were at my pace, where it didn’t feel too crowded, so I slowed down a bit and stayed with them.
Caracas is on a Valley, so there are a lot of hills, and this particular race had plenty of them. I found that I get along with hills, I don’t slow down on them or get too tired when going up (my long runs on sunday include some hills), so I usually started to pass people whenever we started to go uphill.
Race was going really well, I did the first 3k in 14:47 (according to my own stopwatch, there are no official split times), so I was a lot faster than my expected 6:10 mins/km pace. After that I didn’t see the distance signs for a while. I kept going at my pace and everything was going well, until I saw the 6k mark. By that time I thought I was farther than that, so I decided to slow down for 2k and start going hard at the 8k mark again. The moment I slowed I got SIDE STITCHES!!!! first time I get them while running, but thankfully I had been reading about them on Rachel’s blog last week, so I knew what to do: slow down, deep breaths, ‘push down on my liver underneath my rib cage’…
By the time I got to the 7k mark the side stitches were gone and I was starting to speed up again. I had my biggest Newbie Racer moment here: I see on the distance a Gatorade Tent, I get close to it and grab a glass of Gatorade, but I don’t slow down, and when I take the glass up to try and drink some, I spill it all over myself!! MY EYES OMG!! lol, nothing bad happened really, I used the extremely big (and now heavy) cotton shirt they gave me to dry my face and kept going without stopping, or drinking Gatorade . I actually had a couple of newbie moments, all related with the hydration tents. Each time I grabbed one of the plastic little bags filled with with water that you have to bite to open, I seemed to somehow swallow a part of the bag and choke on it!!!
Ok, enough of my newbieness and back to the race… I kept gaining speed and got to the 8k mark and after that I just started to go faster, it didn’t matter if I was going uphill or downhill, I knew I was going to do a good time and that I was going a lot faster than planned. I was tired, but It didn’t matter at that time. The 9k mark, keep going, faster, passing people, every step I was giving I saw less and less people around me. I kept going until I saw the finish line and sprinted with all I had left in me, I heard the voice of my aunt saying something about me passing by them, but I couldn’t turn around, my eyes, all my strength, all that I had left was fixed on the finish line, so I kept on running….
In the end, I completely ignored the pace that I had planned, I didn’t stretch or warm up properly, had side stitches and made a couple of newbie mistakes. But I had a great day. I did so much better than I was expecting and loved how it felt to race. It was a great experience to have before my big race in 2 weeks. And well…There’s nothing like crossing that finish line after giving it all you had, I can’t wait to do it again
Thanks for reading and for your support!