Race day come and gone
7:57 AM |

Most of yesterday felt like childhood birthday party preparations. It was a beautiful sunny day, and those days just beckon me to garden, wash the car, take a long walk: anything that has the sun hit my face and inject me with the feel-good vitamin D. However, I have no garden living in a concrete metropolis, and my mum's car didn't need washing at home. I did not want to go out for a long walk or bike ride because it was race day, and I needed to conserve energy in case I got to kilometer #4 and collapsed having expended it all earlier in the day. So, that left me with little to do but lounge around just waiting for it to be race hour. I watched people pass by my window. I drank some tea. I made myself a large olive oil, parmesan cheese and spaghetti lunch at a strategic 4 hours before race time, to allow for proper digestion and minimal run side cramps. I checked the wall clock, my wristwatch and cell phone clock tirelessly waiting for it to be race time. I called my boyfriend too early, and multiple times, to make sure he was still coming to watch. I remembered the days when I would sit on my couch in my party dress, just waiting to press "play" on my stereo, hear Sesame Street music, and allow my carefully selected guests to arrive for my party. Until they came. which was inevitably always later than the card invitation specified, albeit by one or two minutes usually, I had to sit in pure agony waiting for the highlight of the previous week to finally arrive and begin.
When my entourage and I finally got ourselves ready (mum, sister, boyfriend, best fried/masseus), we walked over to the park whee the race was to begin and end. I had wet my hair and put it up to help combat the incredible and surprising heat, so water dripped down my top half. I felt silly, but the coolness was welcome. Best friend performed some funny massage techniques to warm my muscles, the involved jiggling my fatty bits and chopping down my legs with her hands. I'm sure that helped me look professional. With five minutes to start I joined the mass crowd of runners (6,000 in my race) and scanned the spectators for my own fan club, without success. I didn't have much time because soon we were off. I was quickly overwhelmed by the wonder of it all. This was the highlight of all my previous training. It was here, I was running, and I was confidant I could do it, which is what this was really all about. We rounded the city streets, passing thousands of smiling, cheering spectators. There were even water and Gatorade stations along the way, and I simply could not pass up the chance to run by, grab a cup and splash water down my head. Oh yes, I was truly a professional runner.
I did not make my goal time, but about halfway through the run, I came to terms with this. I was only slightly over, anyway. When I saw the finish line about 200 meters away, I turned on "Bombs Over Baghdad" on my trusty iPod, and booted it full speed towards the finish. That moment, that final burst of everything I'd been working for, chest heaving, legs widely spread sprinting to cross that finish line, was a feeling I couldn't have imagined. I'm not sure I could adequately describe how proud and satisfied and joyful I felt, so I will only say I highly recommend it. I have run my first race and finished proud. I am not disappointed because I couldn't have done better. I'm not sure I've ever truly felt that before.