On Sunday, I ran my first ever race. A 10k. 6.25 miles. The longest distance I’ve ever run.
I singed up for the Bristol 10k back in February. After a couple months of running pretty regularly and slowly getting more and more comfortable, I decided that I need a challenge to shake up my training. During winter term I diligently ran three times a week and slowly increased my distance. Then I went home for Spring Break hardly ran and began to freak out about finishing the race.
Could I do it? Yes, I decided. I would run for that t-shirt promised to all finishers.
On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early at 6:30 had a small breakfast, did some yoga, debated what to wear and then made my way to the race area. It was chilly, but pleasantly overcast and dry. After freaking out about what to wear, I decided go with my running jacket instead of just a t-shirt. It was a very good decision.
We started lining up in the corrals around 9:15, fifteen minutes before my wave was scheduled to start. Yes, I was racing in wave one. Yes, I felt extraordinarily cool and a bit intimidated, but I knew I was in good company as I looked around. People started lining up along the sides of the road. I crossed the start line only about two minutes after the race began. edit: okay, it was actually around four minutes afterwards, but the last time I looked at the clock it said 2:30.
The first three kilometers were quick and easy. The scenery was novel and the crowd was infectious. Sure, people were passing me, but I was keeping up a good pace. Not too slow, not too fast. I got to kilometer marker three and felt completely confident, though a bit warm.
The elite runners passed us by about fifteen minutes into the race. It gave me such a boost to see them go by so quickly! I kept going along, finding my pace and pack. I finally saw the Clifton Suspension Bridge. There was a lot of greenery.
Then, as we turned around to head back into the centre, things started to get harder. I ran without stopping until the 5k marker and took a bit of a walking break to drink some water. My mind started to get weary not having anything new to look at. It was green. Some good music and a good crowd kept me going. I passed my friend dressed in a gorilla suit.
Finally, we began to reach the more interesting leg of the race that would take us through buildings and have more cheering sections along the side. I started taking more regular walking breaks, though made sure to keep them short. It was all in time to my music, which helped me tremendously.
I don’t really remember much from kilometer six to kilometer eight. I was just pushing along reaching for it and trying to enjoy the atmosphere. As we reached the final two kilometers and the crowds grew tremendously.
I was pushing and as much as I wanted to run the final two kilometers without stopping, I knew I couldn’t. I really wanted to save my energy to make sure I could run to the finish line. We moved around a hill, which I power walked up and then I saw the end. I reached in, and, with the accompaniment of my favorite song that I may have been singing out loud, I ran to the finish line.
I would have cried, if I had enough energy left to do so. It was amazing. I crossed the line with so many people and felt so lucky to be able to take part in this race. The clock read about 1:12:59 just before I passed under it. I don’t know what my final result was, but I’m excited to find out! edit: 1:09:48. quicker than i thought!
We weaved our way through to bag collection, getting bottles of water, foil blankets (I felt so legit wearing mine), medals (!!) and t-shirts. We collected goodie bags. The energy was amazing. I felt so proud to be amongst all of these people who just ran 10 kilometers!
I never stand up to untie my shoes, but I had to stand up to take the timing chip off. I knew that if I sat down I would never get up!
Honestly, I am so proud of myself and proud of my time. One of the biggest things I was worried about was just getting really BORED. While I wasn’t always smiling, the race went by much quicker than I thought it would. It didn’t feel like nearly an hour and a quarter AT ALL.
Bristol 10k, you rocked. I’m so glad I was able to run you. And yes, I’m wearing my t-shirt as I type this. I hope this is the beginning of a long racing future for me. Though I’m not sure I would want to run much longer than a 10k!
Have you ever ran a race? If so, do you remember your first one? If not, would you want to?