Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I did it!
It turns out that there are only 3 6 Km'ers from the Faculty, everyone else is doing 12 Km. Also, it's a bracing 8 degrees, so I can pass the time till the start by counting goosebumps. But the sky is cloudless and the gentle breeze will be behind us. Perfect conditions.
The race marshals get us to line up next to signs which represent the times we think we will run. I go stand around the 42 minute mark (being somewhat optimistic).
Applause bursts out, the wheelchair racers zoom past, then the first of the 12Km runners. The marshals get us ready to go. A group of runners dressed as smurfs go past, then the 6 Km runners are OFF!
We shuffle out the gate and start getting up to speed. Well, other people do. I continue shuffling. The sun is warm on me, and people pass me by... and pass me by... and pass me by..
The landmarks are familiar from last year, when I did the 6 Km as a walk, the 1 Km marker drifts past. By now I should be getting into a rhythm, warming up and getting a bit of pace. But no, I'm still slogging along, not exactly shuffling any more, but not gliding effortlessly.
Despite not firing on all cylinders, I seem to be doing better than when I walked last year. Maybe because walking takes longer, the fact that last years landmarks appear to be zooming by may be making me feel better.
At the first water spot there is a lot of congestion, and I have to stop running to get water, losing time. I slog up to speed again, a band plays Dixieland jazz, not the sort of thing you need to get a good running groove on.
I try to play Ramones songs in my head to get into a speed frame of mind, but all that comes up is Pink Floyds "Wish You Were Here". This is not a song to help you run at speed.
I should warm up soon, surely ....
The next distance marker should be soon ...
Where is that blinking distance marker!!!!
It finally materializes. People applaud us and call encouragement was we go by. People pass me. A Zebra passes me. Oh wait, I'm not hallucinating, it's someone dressed as a Zebra.
Will this never end? I see the final turn ahead. I try speeding up a bit, but my lungs are making sounds like a blocked drain, and my legs refuse to go any faster. People keep passing me. But now I am passing other people. The finish line looms, can I keep it up? Yes! Under the banner and crash to a halt as we line up to have our times electronically recorded.
The Dean passes me in the line and asks how I went. I say "wurgle wugrle glump". Hmm, promotion seems further away after that brilliant piece of repartee.
Collecting a bright blue drink that tastes like sugared sweat, and a free newspaper, I go collapse on the grass. According to me I did the run in 41 minutes 3 seconds, not bad considering I was running around 45 minutes per 6 Km in training. Later the official results will say I ran 6Km in 40 minutes 13 seconds. Mobile phones make lousy stop watches.
Surprisingly, my legs don't hurt. My lungs feel like sponges soaked in glue, but my legs are okay. And I raised some money for charity too! (Many thanks to all the donors, you know who you are) Woot! 12 Km next year!
We look forward to your blog after next year's run - most entertaining!
Hopefully your legs will have recovered before then.
The Team at the Brain Foundation
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