Sweet sub-60 success came a year and 3 months after my last attempt at this personal challenge.
Truth be told, when I signed up for the Sri Chinmoy 10K Run* it was so I would have a motivation to keep running on a regular basis. I love running to bits, - but I was not immune to the laziness and lethargy that came with the chilly Winter-transitioning-to-Spring weather, plus the bouts of complacency that recreational runners fall into (or am I the only one?)
The Sri Chinmoy Run's appeal was that the route was along a part of Lake Burley Griffin's periphery. And also, 10K was a perfect distance - short enough to not need weeks and weeks of conditioning but long enough to present a physical challenge.
Signing up for the race did get me into my running shoes, running 7 - 14 Ks three to four times a week. There were good days, when I felt like my feet had wings. And there were bad days, when it was just painful from start to finish. But even on the bad days, I would always feel a sense of having accomplished something good that day.
I would think about the sub-1 hour finish, but I did not cling to it obsessively. I did consciously speed up and try to sustain it for as long as I could at certain points of my running route. The intention was to test my limits, and to condition myself for pain. It was a way to sadistically spice things up on the run.
Come race day, I (and Mr A) arrived at the Lake Burley Griffin Ferry Terminal an hour early for gunstart. I had ample time to do a round of sun salutations, observe the other runners, take a wee, and release jitters by jesting around with Mr A. At around 8.50 AM, we were gathered at the starting line and at precisely 9.00 AM, we were off.
It was an excellent route with a good mix of flats and inclines on fully paved paths and tree-lined roads, with great views of Lake Burley Griffin and its surrounds.
I was reminded once again, why joining an organized run/race was so different from running on my own. Reaching the front door at the end of a run versus Sprinting to a Finish Line banner. Each marks the end of pain and suffering, for sure. But the latter makes you want to break dance and break out the champagne! I was reminded once again, why running in a timed race is one of the awesomest things in the world.
Of course, the awesome-fest did not end with finishing this run. It was the fact that I had miraculously broken the sub-1 barrier at last!
I was in 29th place among 49 Female Under 50 Runners.I don't know where I placed out of the total 134 runners. I was by no means the fastest of the lot. Far from it! But that did not matter to me. What made my heart sing was that I beat my 10K record by 8 minutes. That certainly deserves a *happy dance*!
Isn't the human body an AMAZING thing? I mean, it's a bag of bones and flesh and blood and guts and muscles and ligaments and juices and electrical signals and cycles - designed to move and breathe and seek pleasure but also able to endure pain. It is capable of doing beautiful things like dance, swim, run, cycle, hold hands, hold bodies and create life!
I was reminded once again, why I run. It is my way of honoring this gift of bag of bones and flesh and blood and guts. That thought should get me pounding on the pavement when there are no races to sign up for. To run is to love my body. To love my body is to honor my Creator. In a way, running connects me to the divine! It's a pain-induced mystical experience wherein the satisfaction is directly proportional to the suffering.
I was reminded once again why runners are crazy people.
As of this writing, it's been a couple of months since that *happy dance* at the Finish Line. Now that the 10K Challenge has been ticked off the list, I believe it's time for a new physical challenge.
A sub-2 21 K? Or perhaps I should aim for sub-55 10K this time?
Bring on the crazy!
*The Sri Chinmoy Labour Day Run was held at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. 6th October 2014