Dreams are mixed and confused: in a blur I arrive in the wrong t-shirt, run 10ks before the race starts … and other crazy stuff.
Chris is up before the alarm.
He’s more worried about timelines than me!
4.55 am and we are on the road.
A nervous start, shivering in the cold, drizzling Sunday morning at Killarney.
I check out the other runners.
Am I dressed appropriately?
They are all wearing T-shirts from another event.
Mental note: next race I enter I must wear the T-shirt from this race.
Makes you look like a pro, ha ha.
7:15 am the race begins.
I’m well back in the crowd as we start.
The air is imbibed with energy and hype as the runners surge forward.
The race is on!
I turn up my iPod trying to focus on my own pace.
“Keep control of your breathing,” I tell myself.
Everyone is going so fast!
I tune my mind into the Black Eyed Peas and turn up the volume.
The race now well in progress, more and more people overtake me.
Stricken, am I now the last in the crew?
All my training, hard work and determination for what?
To come last? Nooooooo!
Not that I’d trained to be a serious contender. I’d trained for endurance, to complete the task.
But I’m not prepared to be so outclassed!
I cross the 4K marker before I notice any markers at all.
Great news … I’m nearly half way there feeling no pain … yet.
At last, I manage to overtake two other contenders.
Relief … at least I won’t be LAST.
I slog away along the bitumen exhilarated to reach the 5K marker – half way!
Keep focussed, the real work starts at the 6K marker. That’s where the 10% incline begins.
My mind replays my mental training: “Head down, hold your pace to ensure control of your breathing, don’t look up, listen to the music and just KEEP RUNNING.”
I manage to overtake two more contenders as the ascent steepens!!
Definitely not LAST now. Phew!
I’m in the zone, that great place when running long distance.
It’s hard to describe. My pulse is elevated; my body warm (despite the constant drizzle); I’m focussed; in a rhythm.
Looking forward to the end but feeling good.
7K … 8K … 9K Hooray!
It’s nearly over.
I overtake another, much younger than me. Woo hoo.
Finally, I cross the line.
I look for the camera to snap off my photo.
Oh … the photographer has already left. Boo hoo.
My eyes scan for the clock.
I’ve been running for 85.25 minutes … but I made it!!!!!
I slow down, exhilarated. I achieved my goal.
I approach the car and the waiting Christopher, grinning.
He didn’t think I could do it, but I did!