Did something different before the DocFit 10K. I slept early. For some reason, C was zonked out even before 8pm. I finished some work and hit the sack shortly before 9pm. I was so sleepy, which isn't usual for a night owl like me. Maybe it was because of the Friday run, paced by Coach Jo Ar. I was beat.
Sadly though, a bit past 10 I was wide awake. Pre-race anxiety again. Same things I always worry about the night before a race: not waking up to the alarm and missing the run (and waking up to mid-morning sunlight, sitting up and screaming ala Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone), losing wind during the run or walking some parts of the run (I know there's no shame in walking... I have to tell myself that).
I thought of reading but didn't want to wake C with the reading lamp. Instead, I typed out some things I thought I'd write about in this blog. Mostly memories of grade school, brought about by a recent wave of nostalgia amongst my classmates who are my friends on Facebook.
I don't know what time I finally drifted to sleep but I finally did, only to wake up maybe three more times to check the alarm clock, thinking I had missed hearing it. Grabe ano?
Finally at 4:30am, the alarm sounded and I put it to snooze. Hahahaha! At 4:45 I got out of bed and nudged C.
We took so long in preparing (breakfast, bath, packing change of clothes) and I thought we'd be late for the start. Fortunately we live so near UP. We got there maybe 5:45, with some time left for a really quick warm-up jog and stretching.
Aside from my first 10K (in a long time), DocFit was also my first encounter with the portalet. Hahaha! I don't think I've ever been in one. But I just had to pee because I didn't want to be thinking of holding my pee during the race. And I don't think I could do a Paula Radcliffe.
It was in line at the portalets when I first spotted Ms. Pretty Singer/Actress who turned out to be one of my major motivational points during the run. She was in the line next to mine and she looked all perky and pretty, ready to beat the crap out of me. Just kidding. I have issues to deal with, I know. Hahaha!
When I got into the portalet, it felt like I was in an airplane toilet, only the lights wouldn't go on. I actually felt the wall of the portalet, hoping to find a light switch. Insane, I know. What's even more insane is that I spent a few moments actually looking for the flush lever! It was a strange experience and I hope I don't ever have to go through it again. It was so dark inside that thing, it's a marvel that people figure out where to aim!
So anyway... after getting that out of the way, we jogged a bit and stretched then checked into the starting area.
Then we were off. I was very conscious of my pace and really kept to it, despite the disheartening visual of hundreds of backs slowly gaining distance from me. I was bent on finishing this and not losing wind midway.
I knew I was very slow and felt that C was getting impatient. He'd speed up away from me and then slow down to let me catch up. I felt bad for him. I knew I was holding him back. But I couldn't imagine finishing this first 10K without him there. Having him close by made me feel I could ask for help should I feel too tired to continue. I know he'd push me to run some more if I got to the point of quitting.
The route isn't as difficult as McKinley but it has its share of inclines. On those parts I just took baby steps and patiently endured till the road became flat again.
I took advantage of the water stations. I think I slowed down at three of them. Took small sips just to get my mouth wet.
Since the route is kinda narrow with a lot of u-turns, you could keep track of the race leaders. Ms. P S/A had a very strong start. And she looked like she's been running awhile. I also saw one of the girls from the running clinic. I loved how she started at the back of the pack and slowly inched her way to the front. I yelled a 'go girl' to her twice!
At the last 2K mark, I noticed that Ms. P S/A was losing steam. Felt bad for her but also took it as an opportunity to push myself. My goal changed from finishing the race to finishing ahead of Ms. P S/A. Sorry!!! I'm so mean. I just feel it's not fair that they get to be pretty and talented AND also beat the crap out of us in running. I know... the issues I have to deal with. Humor me for now. :)
At the last 1K marker, I started to speed up, much to the delight of C who had already fallen asleep beside me. I just ran and ran and gave it all I've got, gasping at all the air I could get and hoping my legs wouldn't give.
It was such a surprise when we saw the race timer! I hadn't expected to finish under an hour. I was thinking more like 1:15 or 1:30 even. At some point I stopped caring about the time and just focused on finishing and finishing ahead of Ms. P S/A. So what a bonus it was that we finished at 57:07.
Camaraderie -- We did two laps of the route. The first lap, I was really struggling mentally with keeping to a pace while seeing everyone zoom past me. I was starting to feel disheartened when, at that bend going to University Avenue, I saw one of the guys from the running clinic. He was walking towards the starting line with his wife (he wasn't in running clothes so I knew he was there to just watch) and he saw me and said 'good morning' and 'run well'. That buoyed my spirits. It's always an encouragement to see a 'running comrade' during a race.
Home Court Support -- It was a huge blessing to have C running with me. We didn't really talk during the race as I couldn't, for the life of me, carry on a conversation, but it was a great comfort to know that I could ask him for help in case I felt I couldn't continue. Thanks, C!
Agua Is Our Friend -- In 5K races, I don't stop at water stations because I feel the slow down sets my pace off. But I've been advised by Anon, the resident run adviser in this blog, to take advantage of the water stations and I listened to that advise. Buti nalang. Those water breaks really refreshed and cooled me down.
Vitamin Zzzz -- I need to learn to relax the night before a race. It's important to get a good night's rest. How to do this, I don't know yet. :)
Don't Hate 'Em 'Cause They're Beautiful -- I need to stop competing with the celebs I see in the races! Hahaha! It's good when they take up a sport and excel in it. They set a good example for young folk.
So that's it, pancit. My first 10K. Happy I got through it, and looking forward to Condura 10K!