I ran my first 10K this past weekend! What a roller coaster of emotions throughout my journey from start the finish.
For a few months now, I’ve been thinking about signing up for a race. I missed the excitement from competing in competitive sports. So after mulling over it for months, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a 10K race hosted by the city of Taoyuan.
I had two months to train before the big day on August 5th. My training schedule consisted of running 1.61KM to 3KM on Monday’s through Friday’s and running for an hour on the treadmill on Saturday. Sunday was my rest day like it usually is during my normal workout routine.
During my last race, my ankles took a beating because I only trained on the treadmill. I learned my lesson and incorporated a mixture of indoor and outdoor training.
The first few weeks were challenging. I felt like I was starting from the bottom, where I couldn’t run for very long and I was quickly out of breath. I had to be patient, which I’m not the best at, and slowly work my way up to a faster pace and longer distances.
Some days I had to split my workouts into two – strength training before dinner and then running after dinner. This gave me a little break in between so I could recuperate and have more energy to run in the park.
The most challenging part about training was simultaneously re-learning how to run with proper form and learning to pace myself so I could run longer distances without dying. In order to improve my running form, I took a video of myself running on the treadmill to check my posture and where my feet were landing each step. I realized I was landing heel first which I learned was an inefficient way to propel my body forward. It’s so weird completely changing the way I’m used to running. To help with my pacing, I downloaded a metronome app on my phone and set it to 180 bpm so I could get used to running at the same pace.
I’m not going to lie, the week before the race I didn’t run at all. Honestly I wasn’t feeling it at all and I just felt like my body needed a rest. I was nervous this would affect my running during race day but I believed in myself that I could get it done regardless.
On the day before my run I had a carb heavy dinner that included pasta, pizza, and a salad at a restaurant called Toscanini’s. It was delicious! I was full and ready for the big day.
Day of The Run:
4:00AM : Woke up. Snoozed for 20 minutes. It was still dark outside.
4:50AM : Left my house to grab a banana for breakfast at Family Mart. I wasn’t feeling the best, but figured I’d be better by the time I arrived.
I’m totally OK doing things alone, but it definitely would have been nice to have a friend with me. There were many people of all ages at the event – from little kids to grandparents in their 70s. At one point, I felt a tug at my bag, turned around and realized a little boy had grabbed on thinking I was one of his parents. I called out, “Hey!” and he finally looked up and realized he was holding onto the wrong bag.
5:30AM : a fitness trainer went on stage to lead a big group warm up. It reminded me of the morning exercises students in school used to do in Taiwan. Do they still do that? I’m not sure. I never personally experienced it but based on stories I’ve heard and movies I’ve seen, I could imagine what it must have been like.
6:00AM : the gun fires and the race begins! I was probably behind about 100-200 people so I didn’t start running until about 3-4 minutes into the race.
This was my first time running in a race with more than 4000 people so it was crazy to see the swarms of people in front of me. I had a hard time with pacing in the beginning because it felt like a traffic jam and I could only run at the pace the people in front of me were running. Gradually the crowd got smaller and smaller as people began slowing down.
At this point the sun was out in full force. I forgot how brutal the sun can be on my bare skin, especially on my face. I definitely should have worn a hat. For the entire race, I listened to Potterless, a funny podcast about a 25 year old man who reads Harry Potter for the first time. I debated between a podcast and music but ultimately chose podcast because it keep me distracted on something other than how tired I am whereas I can easily tune out music.
6:36AM : I reached the 5KM mark! By now I had passed two water stations because of how many people were lining up. I didn’t want to waste time waiting in line for some water and knowing the limits of my own body, I pushed on until the last water station.
I ended up walking some parts of the course where the sun was beating down on me. I would walk in the little bit of shade offered to me by some bushes and then run when there weren’t any shade. I did this for about a kilometer and eventually I knew the finish line was close.
Sprinting the last few hundred meters felt amazing despite my legs feeling like jelly. I was taught to sprint to the finish line no matter what, so that’s exactly what I did. Stepping over that finish line felt so surreal. I was so happy and proud of myself for finishing that I felt like I was floating. Plus I was dying from the heat so maybe that’s where the lightheadedness came from. As much as I enjoyed crossing that finishing line, it would have been even better if someone I knew was at the finish line waiting for me like my parents or friends used to be after a game or race. But I rejoiced in my accomplishment and tried to stay hydrated.
My official chip time was 1:08:25. With the amount of walking I did, I thought I’d finish somewhere around 1:20 but I guess my calculations were wrong! I’m really happy with my time and how strong I finished the race.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of my post, it was a roller coaster of emotions for me during this entire journey. Excitement as I signed up for a race, regret during training, nervousness before the race, determination during the race, and happiness after the race. I am proud of myself for finishing the race and surpassing my own expectations.
I will not be running during the summer anymore! It’s too hot and humid early in the morning but I want to sign up for another race in the future.
Are you a runner? What are some races you’ve entered in? I’d love to know!