As my keen runner daughter was visiting, I’d registered us onto three 10K races on the island. It was just the boost I needed; I’d resisted running more than 5K races and just kept avoiding making the jump. So I hadn’t run an official 10K before and-to be honest-wasn’t sure that I could run the whole thing without a few walking breaks. I’d also just had a cardio check and my blood pressure was really high. Now, I do suffer from white coat syndrome whereby my blood pressure has always been too high when measured in a clinical setting but is absolutely fine whenever I’m asked to monitor it twice a day at home for a week. With the race coming up my doc was concerned but after a few more tests and me again measuring my blood pressure at home he gave me the go ahead to run.
The first 10K was in Larnaca and with an early race start I’d booked us into accommodation for the night before. I only had a vague idea of the race start point but the next morning I was woken to blaring loudspeakers and a band and opening the shutters I looked down to see the arch of the start/finish line right there. We could hardly have been any closer.
We watched the marathon set off whilst munching on bananas from the comfort of our balcony.
Then it was our turn. I always get nervous at this point; my stomach was churning and I could feel my heart thumping in my neck as we headed for the start line. I distracted myself with a few selfies.
I waved my daughter off and she disappeared into the mass of runners ahead. Not for the first time I wished I’d taken up running when I was younger; just to experience a bit more stamina and speed. Just for once. I know the important thing is that I’m doing it at all and I do see runners my age and older achieving faster times than me but I have this weird feeling that it’s not possible for me. I know what it’s like to shave even a minute off your usual race time and it’s so hard.
But maybe I’m wrong? Perhaps next year with a super structured plan I could actually nudge up my speed a little? I’ll have a think…
We headed for Larnaca’s salt lakes where I hoped to distract myself by looking at the flamingos who are regular visitors there. I couldn’t see any and learned later that I was a week or two early.
Of course the blood pressure was on my mind and I was super vigilant to any headache starting or any unusual aches and pains at all, in fact. Well, it beat focusing on leaden legs for once!
I was so thirsty during the race I accepted some bright blue hydration drink from one of the stations. Twice. I’d never had it before and my tum definitely didn’t like it. It felt like a washing machine in there and I could never adequately describe to you just how loud the gurgling was. Luckily, I didn’t feel any cramps til after the race was over and I was too euphoric by then to care 🙂
I started to hate the run by 6km. It was all just taking so long. I have the utmost respect for people who run marathons. Today was one of those mainly there and back runs and by now the leaders were on their way back, breathing hard and visibly shaking off beads of sweat.
A familiar little voice started whispering inside my head “Time to walk now for a bit. Time to stop.” I ignored it but of course it’s a persistent little ****** I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts tumbling through; my breathing is all wrong, wow my calves are starting to hurt, I’m really far too hot… I focused on a bright orange bollard in the distance: I’ll just run to that before I stop. Just before I reached it I found something else ahead to aim for: a parked ice cream van; I’ll just run to that. And basically I did that until the object I was aiming for was the finish line. I’ve used that technique in training but never in a race before. I’ll definitely be using it again.
I cannot tell you how happy I was to reach that finish line-I was hoping for a final sprint but as you can see I shuffled across! 1 hour 14 and no walking breaks (though at times I was truly desperate). Happy as Larry.
All in all a fun, scenic run and I did it.