RACE: Nike We Own The Night
DESCRIPTION: A women only 10k at night
LOCATION: Victoria Park, East London
DATE: 18th May 2013
Although injured, I'd been 'training' for my very first 10k race for two months. But the fact that I'd only managed to get one proper run in (a very casual 7k) before hand was making me nervous. I knew I'd be able to finish but I definitely didn't want to have to crawl over the finish line!
The race day butterflies kicked in around 4.30am! I was excited and scared, and just couldn't sleep. I managed one more hour before giving up and finishing my race day nails - the brightest orange I could find with some purple sparkles to match our luminous orange shirts.
Nails done, I still had the whole day to potter around and get even more jittery about the night race. Of course, number one on my list was taking a photo of my first ever race kit laid out. I baked some energy laden flapjacks. Then watched the clock.
Finally, time to travel in. And as we got closer and closer, each orange-shirted person that climbed aboard made me smile. This was a women only race that actively encouraged first time runners, we were in team colours (wearing the orange shirt was compulsory) and were all in it together.
The atmosphere was bursting at the seams with energy and soon enough it was time to put it to good use. First the warm up, then we were hearded into our waves. I went into the second wave, hoping to complete in under an hour. Unfortunately the great mass of wave-twoers was a mixed bag. We filed in way behind the 65 minute pacer so found ourselves weaving in and out of slower runners, onto grass embankments and around cones to get to our right pace.
I decided to run with my friend Vicky who had run plenty of races before and wasn't too worried about gaining a PB. Around 3k my brain started to try and psych me out, Vicky had set a much faster pace than I would have chosen and I wasn't sure I could maintain it. But I managed to silence that little negative voice and carried on. Then around the 7k mark, I really started to tire. I did a body scan and tried to motivate the parts of me that needed encouragement but that little voice came in again - how was my ankle doing? should I slow down? should I let my still energetic pacer carry on without me?
DJ stages pumping out music and groups of noisy well wishers were dotted around the course, which really helped to push us round the last few kilometres. But the biggest motivation came from Vicky. Still able to talk and joke, she shouted back the perfect balance of encouragement, updates of our progress and promises of letting me punch her!
A great big encouraging smile from Vicky saw me over the finish line in under an hour! My official time was 52.59, making me 584th out of 3386! After not being able to train conventionally, I'm pretty proud of that. I shall wear my finishers friendship bracelet (no medal for my trophy cabinet yet) with pride!
Nike know how to throw a party. The post race celebrations were full of proseco*** and DJ sets to match the adrenaline. Coupled with our radio controlled flashing LED wristbands, we were ready to rave away until our tired legs gave out!