Sunday, March 04, 2007

HK Standard Charter 10K

Lining up in the waiting zone.

A few shots of the runners...

there's just a few to compete with.

Posing in front of the line...

taking my place in line.

2 minute countdown

10,9,8...... 3,2, RUN!!!!

My attempt to get to bed early last night was unsuccessful. Not because I didn't try but because I couldn't sleep. I was so nervous, excited, fearful... and of course I dreamt that I was late, forgot my number cloth, etc.... which woke me up probably every hour. So when the 4:45 alarm went off my first words were.... 'You've got to be kidding me.' LOL

I got ready, then Mike got up and got ready and we were out the door by 5:10. We took a cab, who informed us that he really couldn't get us that far but that was okay. We just wanted to be a bit closer than Hung Hom. We got to East TST and the cabbie dropped us off in the middle of the highway! It was crazy but thankfully there really weren't many cars out and there were tons of people on the streets. We made our way to the waiting zone and tons of people were already lined up. I was convinced that I would be at the end... a place I REALLY didn't want to start at but I managed to squeeze in about half-way through the pack. I was able to be at the edge so I could be with Mike until the race started. He was so great to get up with me and see me start. It was raining at the beginning so I sent him home instead of trying to meet me at the end. I figured he'd be soaked and I didn't think he'd actually get to see me cross the finish line so there was really no need for him to make his way over there.

So I got in line and at about 5 minutes before hand they let us move a little closer and then again at 2 minutes they moved us up to the starting line. Unfortunately there wasn't a lot of English spoken by the announcers (at least I didn't hear any) but everyone started cheering and then I could understand the count down and new the race was beginning. It was so exhilarating to cross the starting line. I was still pretty much walking at that point (with my 9000 friends) but it was fun nonetheless.

We started to spread out a tiny bit and I found a comfortable pace but I learned quickly that it's impossible to keep a steady pace with that many people. I dodged and weaved, got pushed, almost tripped and on occasion found some empty space to pick up speed. I was amazed at the people participating in this. There were definitely some seasoned runners and quite a few first timers. There were children and elderly. It was amazing to be a part of that. There were quite a few people who walked a large majority of the race as well. This was encouraging to me because I wasn't so embarrassed when becoming overheated and my knee acting up caused me to walk for a little.

So as I said, I started well... kept a comfortable pace and was feeling great through the first 5K. By that point though we were in the tunnel and breathing became difficult for me. The tunnel was very warm (imagine that being underwater with no ventilation and 9000 people and I found myself becoming very overheated. And then I started to see people on the sides with oxygen masks or passed out... this made me a bit nervous and I think I panicked a bit. I decided it would be best to walk half way up the hill at the end of the tunnel for fear if I didn't I would too pass out. I was so glad to get out of there! The fresh (as fresh as it gets in HK) air and breeze felt absolutely wonderful! And then there was the 2nd and 3rd hill that no one told me about. lol There aren't many hills where I run (to run up) so I was not prepared for this... especially at the end.. but I pushed through. Unfortunately, my knee began to bother me a kilometer 6 and I had to on occasion walk for a few seconds to give it a rest. I was so TOTALLY bummed to have to walk but I knew it was best for my life for the next week. (I refer to the first time I decided to train in which I pushed and pushed and then couldn't walk for the next 3 days!) It was so wonderful to see the sign that said, '500 left', and to cross the finish line! I felt relieved, energized, and simply exhausted. I really should never have given myself the break that I did while I was at home. It really affected my running abilities but alas... I did. I was really bummed at my time. It read 1:27:?? (didn't pay close enough attention to that). My goal had been 1hr but it felt great to look back and see thousands of people still behind me! LOL After the race, I collected all my goodies (water, sports drinks, chocolate, fruit) and caught the ferry back to Hung Hom. It was so surreal to be done. All the training, preparation, excitement of this race... over. It left me craving for another chance, an opportunity to beat my time, and a nap. 4:45 was awfully early. :)

While I was bummed about my time, I am so proud of myself. I'm so proud that I went through with this, that I pushed myself, that I was dedicated to something, that I learned to enjoy another sport. I had a BLAST and would do it again in a heartbeat. I felt like I accomplished something big but that there was more out there to reach for. I felt strong and powerful.

It was absolutely a GREAT experience and I look forward to the next chance I have to race. I'm seriously considering either the Singapore 1/2 marathon or the Macau 1/2 marathon both on December 2 of this year however, I'm also considering re-running the 10K to both beat my time and prepare for next year's HK 1/2 Marathon. I for-sure want to run the 1/2 marathon here in HK next year and maybe the following year to complete my first marathon. I guess I'll have to put off that second child for at least one more year. lol We'll see though... a lot could happen in that time.

A couple of things I learned:

1. It's very difficult to keep a steady pace when you are amongst so many people. I tried to stick with a few people to help me stay within a comfortable pace but with the need to dodge and weave so often... it was hard to stay steady and not trip over someone.

2. Take a watch or my iPod with me next time. I had no way to judge my time or pace. I feel as though if I had one of these, I would have pushed myself a bit harder.

3. Wear a tank-top. I always exercise in one so why didn't I race in one? I'm going to be hot and sweaty no matter what the temp is. LOL

4. Do not give up on your training the weeks before your race. It really killed my endurance and knee.

I know there is more that learned... I was making mental lists on my ferry ride home but of course I can't remember them now. Maybe in the days to come.. they'll pop into my head.

So if you've made it this far... you deserve a medal! :) Thanks for the support and encouragement throughout this process.


Jenn T. said...

Congratulations to you! You did an awesome job!

Margie said...

Wow-how exciting that you were in the race and finished!! All your hard work and training paid off!! I also think it will be neat to hear later on the spiritual parallels you learned-in training, endurance, etc. Congratulations Melissa!!!

Sarah LuAnne Anderson said...

YEAH MELISSA! i actually started running again, 2-3 miles every other day.. WOOP! ur right. it feels so good. Why wouldn't u want to do it? haha well congrats on finishing! thats totally wicked awesome! God Bless yoU! im praying for ya like always.