The night before something big is usually mayhem. And for someone like me, I’m a bundle of nerves. People often say stay calm, but I really wonder how can one stay calm? Okay, so I was running a 10k, my first 10k can you believe that!
I ran my first 10k a week before the actual RACE day. This was to just check if I could even do a 10k. Well, to my surprise, I could actually. I did my 1st practice run in 1:27minutes. Of course, it was not continuous running I took many 1minute-walking breaks in btw, but the whole goal was to complete the distance. I was riding high on completing my 1st long run and yes I did cry. I hugged the Hubster for a good 5mins and I calmed myself down. I think running has made me emotional and I am not liking that one bit.
A day after, I started experiencing excruciating back pain. It was obvious, after being a couch potato for so many years and being active all of a sudden it would take a toll. I thought to myself two days and I’ll be fine. Over two days and the pain was still there. That was the last thing I needed before my “big day”. Somewhere in between these two days, I received a mail from the race organizers stating in BOLD that the race route would be “CHALLENGING” and “DEMANDING”. Seriously the Universe was playing with my mind just when I was feeling less confident. I started freaking out again. The pain made it even worst.
A day before the race day, I was in doubt, should I even be putting myself through this pain. Wouldn’t it be easy to back out since I had a genuine reason. But deep down I didn’t want to live with the regret of not going. I thought to myself screw the pain, I’ll just have fun. A friend had messaged me wishing me luck and said “you’re already a winner by participating”, that didn’t make any sense at all. I slept, keeping the alarm for 3am. Somewhere around 1.00am I woke up in my sleep and started freaking out that I am late. I looked at my phone and 1 seemed like 4 and I was like “shit”. I switched on the lights only to see I was hyperventilating and I still had 2 more hours to go. I finally went back to sleep again. I woke up at dot 3 and there was a sense of calmness around me. I am not a quiet person by nature, I make a lot of noise, I talk non-stop so for me to be calm was strange. Got ready, left home to pick up my other running friends from the gang. We were running late, but it felt really nice to have familiar people around you, I wouldn’t have been able to go alone in my 1st race.
Reached the venue just 15minutes before our flag off and before I knew it, we were standing at the start line. My friends told me to take it easy, just walk if you have to. In btw, all this the Hubster was standing on the sidewalk and he gave me a wide smile and said go do it. I don’t know, but even in the tensest situations his words of assurance are enough to keep me going. One look at his face and my worries are gone. And like that, the race started, the next 2hrs would be a very challenging and fun ride I thought. Who knew what was ahead in store for me.
My strategy was simple there were 6 aid stations after every 1.5k mark. Run till every station and take a few minutes break there was my plan. I knew there would be some uphills along the route, but little did I know the entire route would have the steepest uphills ever. It was like running over an express flyover.
I started slow, I knew I had to have a decent amount of energy to be able to complete 10k. The goal was simple, complete the distance in less than 2hrs and do not give up at any cost. I was doing pretty good, strangely, I kept looking back to check if I was the last one or not, lol. Well, yeah, that would be so embarrassing for me. Out of nowhere the husband came and said “you’re doing good, stop looking back and you’re not the last so just give it your best shot”. I reached my 1st aid station and the volunteer gave me a big high-five and said “great going”. That high-five was enough energy for me to reach my next station. That’s when the real trouble started.
After around 500metres was an uphill, very steep and I thought to myself I am so screwed. I pulled myself through the uphill and reached the 2nd aid-station. Picked up water and started running again. Somewhere out of the corner, I saw another uphill and I cursed myself for even signing up in the first place. By the time I reached my 3rd aid station I was famished and I just wanted to stop. It’s so strange but I think the Universe, just didn’t want me to STOP. Every time I slowed down or tried to walk I kept getting a “ Keep going, you’re doing great” from fellow runners. Around the 6k mark, I was really tired and I just wanted to sit down. I saw my friend Nancy and she gave me a high-five and said crawl if you have to. I don’t know what was there in that statement, but all of a sudden I was feeling better and I started running again.
Running back and I came across one of the steepest uphill ever. I was out of breath and I couldn’t breathe properly. I thought to myself “I am too young to die, I haven’t even completed half the things on my wish list so I better pull myself up (I tell you, I can be such a drama queen) “. In between all this, one of the half marathoners came up to me and said you’re doing really good, just keep going. That was some reassurance and I slowly picked up from there. As much as I hated the uphills I thoroughly enjoyed the downhills. I just let go of myself and ran as fast as I could downhill. Reached the 4th aid station and I felt good as there were 2 more stations to reach. I thought to myself, I’ve come this far it’s just a matter of time I cross the finish line. To my horror came another uphill and I literally wanted to cry. Damn these uphills, its like they took over my run for the day.
Reached the 5th aid station and then the last stretch was a mud trail. It was uphill and downhill. I actually enjoyed the mud trail, but at the end of the trail I was done. I didn’t have the energy to even walk. Fellow runners passing by said “ don’t stop now you’re almost there”. And just like that I heard a huge cheer “ Go Koko, you’re almost there do not give up”. It was the Hubster. I pulled myself through and started running again. There was another 500metres to the finish line, but I was so tired that I just couldn’t push myself. A runner who had completed his run saw me struggling and said” Just one more minute to go, do not stop now just run” and I did. And like that I crossed the finish line. There were so many photographers at the finish line and the last thing I wanted was an ugly picture of mine to be snapped. I was breathless but I had this huge smile on my face. A smile, which spoke of how proud I was of myself. A smile that told me” never doubt myself again”, a smile that said “ I kicked some ass”. And no I wasn’t crying this time ☺
Now this run wouldn’t have been possible by myself. Firstly the Hubster, you have no idea what I would do if you were not around. You’ve sacrificed your fitness regime to help me with my run. You have always been my biggest support and motivation. All along the entire route you were there cheering me on, making sure I was alright. My first 10k is for you. I can’t thank you enough. My crazy family who’s always pushed me whenever I felt I cannot do something. Thanks a ton. It’s a blessing to have an amazing support system.
I have been training with this amazing group called Protons Sports. If I am even able to run today, it’s because of them. Its 99% their motivation, support and encouragement that I am able to take baby steps and reach this far. So Henna and Ankush thanks a ton, you guys are awesome and superheroes. The other friends in the group, everyone is so inspiring there is so much support always,so much of positive energy,you guys are superkewl. I’ll take a 1% credit for myself ☺ Also, I realized the entire running community are a bunch of amazing people, so much support along the way. I never felt like a newbie for a second.
Lastly, I would like to say we can cross any hurdle, be it pain, fear etc. If you have it in you and want something really bad, you will get it, with pain or without pain. There is an undying spirit in all of us that keeps us going even in the toughest of situations. My 1st 10k was super tough, but there was something that kept me going. There was some amount of stubbornness that didn’t want me to give up. This was a fight to prove to myself that I can do it. This is just the beginning and I have a long way to go.Just remember the beginning is the hardest. But there is no stopping after this. Oh, btw I completed my 10k in 1:46minutes (Apologize for the long post) ☺
My future goals, well I don’t beleive in planning ahead, I usually go with the flow. I just want to keep Running and take it one step at a time 🙂