I was really, really nervous about this race.
Because there would be Julia and Shauna and a whole bunch of up&runners (and the desire not to disappoint them, after all the work they have put into making a runner out of me).
Because, in the last few weeks, life has been a little rocky and it was the first time I felt like I wasn’t properly trained before a race.
Because during the bootcamp on friday, my leg started bothering me after about 30 minutes and I really wasn’t sure I would be able to run the whole thing.
Most of all because I offered to pace Tessa for her first 10k and I really REALLY wanted her to have a great run and have fun and enjoy it and have a good memory of it.
group shot before the race!
Tessa had told me she was aiming for a sub-70, but after looking at her during the bootcamp I was pretty sure she could run a little bit faster than that, so my plan was to start at 7 minutes per km (which I needed for myself, to make sure everything was fine with my leg) and then after a couple of warm-up km, I’d try to eat a few seconds each km and run in a slight progression. I had a number in mind, and that was 65 (and I think this was her secret goal too, that one we all have before a race and don’t say aloud because it seems a bit crazy)
Luckily for me, her Garmin wasn’t working, so she wouldn’t be able to check the pace during the whole thing.
To be fair, I think my only contribution to her race was to slow her down at the start and force her to run the first couple of km a bit slower than she would have done by herself.
Then the thought of making sure I was letting her pick her own pace, that she was aware of being awesome and that she was using the slight downhills to recover from the slight uphills (she’s from pancake-flat land, after all, she’s not used to hills…) made me completely forget about my leg and my fears. We exchanged a few sentences here and there and ran for another girl for a while. Tessa made someone’s day by commenting on her calves, I made sure I was keeping an eye for the signs.
We got to see Rhiannon running by us with her shampoo-advertisement-bouncy-ponytail and near the end, right where we were starting to be a little tired, we got to see the group of Up&Runners who were walking the race (I must say at quite a good pace) and this gave us a nice kick of adrenaline.
When we saw the 9km marker I pointed at a girl in front of us and told Tessa that she was running slightly slower than we were, and that if we kept the pace we could chase her down.
She took her hunt pretty seriously and we passed a number of people before the end. In the last stretch, Tessa suddenly bolted and I watched her speedy butt cross the finish line in little more than 1:02 (the official time is 1:03, but my Garmin is my only religion)
Some of the girls who had already finished the race handed us a glass of water (I’m sooooo grateful for that) and Tessa’s face when I showed her my Garmin was priceless.
I needed this. I needed a reminder of how it feels to run with a purpose, and if on thursday I parked my car at the B&B having a little bit of a meltdown, the tears when I turned on the engine on sunday afternoon were completely different.