The big day for my ten km run arrived yesterday and to be perfectly honest, I was a little apprehensive. The last time I ran in a road race was a 5km effort just after Little Lucy Number One was born nearly thirteen years ago.
Thus, I really had no expectations for what time I should run this race in. Firstly, the two training runs I had done were slow. Secondly, I’m now running with an unstable SIJ (thanks kids!). Thirdly, I never train in the evenings and fourthly I was wondering what running with 43 year old joints would feel like opposed to the runs I did in my 20s.
I arrived at the George Clayton park with about half an hour to spare, met up with Emma who was participating with me, and like all runners, decided that it was imperative to visit a loo before competing. Unfortunately the line up was about 2km long as the public facilities had packed it in and luckily for me, a visit to one of the residences yielded me a bathroom visit for which I was extremely grateful.
We pinned our numbers onto our shirts and lined up at the start. I was amazed that timing chips are now embedded into race numbers rather than the rubber discs we used to tie to our shoes and we met a few regulars from the gym which was rather nice. Suddenly we were off and we spent the first two kilometres finding our rhythm and I noticed that there were pace runners with balloons with the times written on them. I have never run with pacers and we sought out the 1.50 pacer (this was the half marathon time – we also had the half marathoners in our race), remembering that I used to run my half marathons at this speed.
The first loop passed rather quickly and we thoroughly enjoyed waving to our respective families as well as contemplating what stories the other competitors had coming into this fun run. We passed a gentleman who seemed to have all the loose change he owned jingling in his pockets and developed a few theories about what he’d spend all that sweaty coin on after the race.
Once we had passed him, we were suddenly around the corner and just about to finish our first loop. I was amazed to see that our split time was a tad over 25 minutes. Could this old dog be running comfortable five minute kilometres?
We both decided that running brings out hidden aspects of other peoples’ personalities in the second lap. We were running along at a fairly consistent pace when at the approximately seven kilometre mark we bumped into a woman who was running in all green. She asked us about what pace we were running.
“5:30 k” said Emma.
Meanwhile I was thinking “what? I feel like I’m killing myself here!”
Green lady looked at us quizzically. Green Lady looked like she was really hurting.
“4.57 minute k” said Emma.
It’s amazing how thinking that I was cracking the five minute kilometre mark can motivate a girl.
We turned at the end of our loop and Green Lady started complaining about the wind. Thinking that we could all be rather convivial, I said that I’d run next to her so she could have a break from the headwind. Instead Green Lady looked at us as if we had hurled her the biggest insult and tried to surge away from us.
However being the competitive nuts we are and feeling a tad aggrieved, we stayed with her and pretended we were drafting off her bottom (once you take up cycling, you never look back). Then we tried to gradually inch our way past her – and every time we picked it up, there she was sprinting off in front of us, then slowing right down. She even drove Miss Emma into the gutter. Neither of us could quite believe it.
By this stage we were at about the eight and a half kilometre mark. Suddenly Green Lady (or “Green Gremlin” as we renamed her) turned to us and said.
“The finish is going to be a fight to the death!”
We both looked at each other. We were thinking the same thing – could this lady seriously be putting out the challenge? I don’t think she had any idea that she was dealing with two fitness fanatics that often absolutely fight to the death in many of our training sessions. Emma, who is a much better runner than me and who has just come off the Gold Coast Marathon, laughed. I told Emma to take off if she felt the need. At this stage, although I knew I could overtake the Green Gremlin, I wasn’t sure how long I could sustain an increased pace.
Suddenly Miss Emma was off and I thought, “to hell with it!” and sprinted off after her. Green Lady tried to come at me, but after one hundred metres, I think she realized that she wasn’t going to catch either of us and died away.
I ran hard and chased and chased. Emma got a little bit closer and so did the finish line. Could I see a forty number in the distance? Holy moly!
Forty nine minutes was a bit out of my reach and I crossed the line in fifty minutes! I was absolutely thrilled with my run and with my time – which was fairly close to the times I used to run twenty or so years ago.
Today I’m still on cloud nine. Let’s say, I’m feeling pretty fit and fine for an ‘old dog’!