This past Sunday I ran my first 10K race. Everything started with a simple encouragement by my work's boss, at only 4 days for the race. Thanks God I had several months of running under my belt, and I normally run five/six times a week distances of 5,6 or 7Km runs, depending of the mood I'm in that day. I stood and think about it for a minute. I could do the run, without any problems. I only needed a new pair of shoes, because mine were at the end of their service life. But in everything else I was ready. The next day (Friday) I did a 7km run to test different paces and train some hills runs, by far my main difficulty after a few km. My body performed great, only with a slight shoulder and upper back discomfort; mainly because of my shoe’s poor condition. That was gonna be a problem, but I could endure the pain until the end of the run.
When I got home after the test run, I carefully inspected my old loyal running shoes. Man, I liked those shoes. I began to run with them almost 11 month ago, and are almost falling apart. And touching the soles I realize that my poor shoes were doomed. Good bye old trainers, you were from the begging of my running experiments, when I had almost 20 pounds of overweight. I'm a little stupid with material things, and it made me a bit sad saying goodbye to that shoes. Well, such is life.
Now the main task was to find a new pair of shoes... and in this time of the year I'm sooooo broke, so a new pair of decent trainers will be impossible. And I couldn’t ask to my stepdad or brother for a pair of theirs, because they are a couple of sizes bigger than mine. So, I was pretty much screw. Then Saturday came with the good news of a pair of shoes! A friend of mine was going to live in Japan, and he gave me his shoes. Luckily for me we were the same size, and the shoes were almost new. I felt so relieved and happy… Now I can finally hit the asphalt on Sunday.
The day of the race I woke up at 4:30 am, because the race started at 7:00 am and the starting place was a little far of my house. I arrive there with 40 minutes to spare. I did a thorough warm up, stretch like hell, urinated like a horse, and did a couple of warming jogs around the starting place. About 10 minutes before the race started I meet a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. He was accompanying another guy who was going to make the 10K run too, so I join them. 5 minutes after the race started I entered in the running group… well, to say better, mass. There were almost 1300 runners gathered in that place, all pushed up against each other, all eager to hear the starting shot. We placed ourselves in the front part of that compact group and stood waiting. Besides the local runners, there were a lot of Swedish, Norwegians, Germans and Japanese runners too. With only 3 minutes to go, the crowd began to jump and bounce of excitement. You could feel the low constant beating of hundreds of feet, impatient to eat miles of pavement. The gun was raised, all the heads pointed at the hand that held it, and my heart pounded with an ultimate exhilaration.
The shot sounded… The race has started.
Now, imagine a solid mass of people at your back, trying to break free from each other. A genuine force that pushes you, drives you forward, and moves you from side to side. I felt that I weighted nothing. I felt an urge to run like the wind. I felt a sensation of been flying, of been weightless… I was in an unknown state of happiness. I felt happy. I felt really happy, like I haven’t felt in a long time. I remember that in the begging of the race, when I was taking speed to reach my usual rhythm, I was also smiling with sincere joy. That was a feeling I will treasure for the rest of my life.
The race was on. The weather was nice: cool, cloudy, and a little windy. But when I reached the Malecón I realized something I didn’t think of. The sea was choppy, so the air was salty, and it felt like I was breathing sand paper… Beside that, the race conditions were phenomenal. The 5 km mark even took me completely by surprise. The worst part of the tour was a moderate climb of almost 1Km in the very end of the race. When I reached the 10K mark I was tired, but not exhausted. My nose airways hurt like hell, but neither my shoulders nor back hurt. Not even discomfort. I had some minor blisters on the side of each feet due to the fact when I run I tend to over-pronate, and was my first time with that shoes (btw it performed great).
I was the 96th runner to arrive out of 1300. Not bad since it’s my first time running that distance. That number took me by surprise, because I wasn’t running for a position; just for the sake of the run. Maybe next year I could be in the first 50… or even 30. Well, I don’t even care about it. I did my first 10K race. I felt like I haven’t felt in years. And I did it alone. It was something I had and needed to do by myself. The final feeling of accomplishment…? Priceless.