I wasn’t planning on writing a whole post dedicated to this day, simply because I tried to treat it just like a normal long run day, so it wasn’t so special for me. But there were so many weird things that happened and things which didn’t quite work out that I decided there were enough interesting things to share!
Bit of background: my workout plan had me down for a 20 mile run on Sunday, which would be the longest single run I’ve done in a long time. There’s only really one long route I’ve been doing, and I thought it would be cool to switch it up a bit so I wouldn’t get bored. When, on Wednesday, my friend at running club told me about the Race for Life 10km on Sunday morning, it seemed like too good of an opportunity to turn down. I planned a route that would have me run 6.5 miles up the river, then the same back down, then 1 mile down to the start line to take me up to 14 miles before the race began.
The race was meant to start at 9am, which meant I had to leave my house at 6.40 to give me time to run the 14 miles. I set my alarm for 4.15am to give me time to eat and for coffee to kick in and get things moving before I left. But at 3.50am I was woken up by noise in my apartment… My flatmate and a load of his friends had just started a post-club party in the kitchen! I stayed in bed until my alarm, then realised I would have to wander into the kitchen, make my coffee and oatmeal, and then walk out, all around these random Chilean people. I did it, but they must have thought I was so bizarre – I just said nothing apart from “permiso” to get to the microwave and kettle, and then scarpered with my breakfast!
Leaving at 6:40am, I thought if I ran at a 9min/mile pace, I would have get to the start line with over 10 minutes to spare before the race began. However, I had forgotten to add time in for me to stop off at my apartment (which, luckily, was on the way) in order for me to change tops. Because they wanted to fill the street with PINK, it was obligatory to wear the race T-shirt for the 10km, but I hadn’t tested it beforehand so didn’t want to run the whole 20 miles in it in case it wasn’t comfortable. I had also pinned my race number on it on Saturday night, and prepared a bottle with Gatorade.
Because I had forgotten to factor in time to change, I was running the first 13 miles doing maths in my head for how long I’d be able to spend inside my apartment. The problem was I was also trying not to rush – my legs had lots of strength in them, and I could easily have run faster, but I knew the 10km was coming and didn’t want to waste myself. I ended up spending 7 minutes in my flat, including a quick loo stop, before being out on the streets again. I got to the start line at 8:55, feeling very relieved!
And then, when I was jostling with the crowds, I asked someone when we would be lining up. They told me that we all had to wait for the kids 2km race to completely finish until we would be allowed to start – the kids 2km which was timetabled to start at 9am! I spent over half an hour waiting around, watching the sun get hotter and hotter, and feeling myself and my will get sapped away. When we finally got to start, it was way closer to 10am than 9am and it was already mid 20s (Celsius).
The race started at the presidential palace and looped up and down the main street, which is normally way too busy with cars and busses and pedestrians to even attempt to run down. It is on a slope, and we ran the first 2.5km downhill and with our backs to the sun. But then, we turned around, now faces to the brilliant sun and going uphill. It probably would have been fine had I not already run over 15 miles that day, but I was really struggling. Luckily there were Gatorade stands at 3.5 and 7.5km. The final 2 kms were back downhill and out of the sun – and I flew through them! I crossed the finish line a lot earlier than I thought I would though, and I’m pretty sure the course was short BY A LOT. My friend’s Garmin had it at 9.45km, which would make sense as my time (53 mins) was way quicker than I thought I was going. So, I don’t actually know how fast I ran, nor how far I actually ran! They didn’t have timing chips either, so I don’t know my “official” time…
But saying that, I do know that I ran 20 miles on Sunday, because my route at the start according to MapMyRun was more like 14.2 miles, before I even got to the 10km. I’ve been running without a tracking app for the past few weeks, because I don’t like the pressure – especially for easy short runs. Nevertheless, it definitely would have been useful to make sure I had actually run the distance I was meant to!
The only well-organised part of the race was the finish. At the end we were funnelled past a row of stalls giving out Gatorade, fresh fruit and bottled water. There was also a place giving out plates of pasta, and free cereal. I also got given free packs of tampons which is great for here in Chile where they are stupidly expensive! I just stuck to consuming a bit of fruit and a lot of water, knowing my stomach was a bit delicate after all those miles of running. I walked home, back up the race route, and was greeted by every police officer I passed because I was wearing the bright pink race T-shirt!
I’m not sure I’d run that race again, but I’m glad I incorporated it into my weekly long run. It was definitely something different, and made the time pass a lot quicker than normal (although not with that unexpected 45-minute break in the middle). Running the last few kilometres in the blazing sun has also helped with my tan a lot, which I guess is one positive, even if I’m now still very dehydrated from not taking enough fluid on board during the run.
Have you ever had a race fail to live up to expectations? Have you ever run a Race for Life? It was strange for me, because I never ran them in England but now I’m in Chile I seem to be doing way more races than I ever did back home!