Home GUR 24k race

It was my first time….racing in my home country that is ūüėČ

I was a little nervous but that is fairly normal feeling before any race, right? This time I also felt more pressure because my family was there too. Parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and neighbors all calling me days before with good luck wishes. I felt I can’t disappoint. I would have to go for it and give my best. But what if I did not have it in me?

14489560_10154422600581955_1200012985_oIt was cold morning with thick fog covering the lake and the mountains and before I knew it we started to run. It was more like a sprint and I knew I was going way too fast, but everyone were really pushing it and I felt I had no choice but to push with them. We reached the forest and started to go up. I was expecting for people to start to walk but they were still running. I was surprised and in my head I was asking why the hell are they still running? I did not want to be the first weak link so I run too…my breathing heavier with every step. Then one girl stopped, I smiled and overtook her feeling relief. Eventually I started to walk and others followed in my steps. I knew that If I wanted to finish this race I would have to stop looking at others and pace myself.

The first hill was massive, my legs were burning, I felt shattered and we were only 1 mile in. I turned the corner and more uphill was in front of me. My hands were on my tights and one slow step at a time I was pushing higher and higher. Little raindrops were cooling my body. Eventually we reached the top and started downhill running. I loved it and overtook a few people. I felt in control. Obviously this did not last too long, few hundred meters later I was once again nearly on my knees trying to climb another uphill. I read it is hilly route but come one, someone give me a break and some flat part….for that I had to wait a little longer.

5 miles in I reached first control check and we could stop for some food and drink. But no one was stopping, people were grabbing bananas and carried on running. I again forgot about running my own race and carried on running with others. Someone shouted to me, you are 8th lady keep going? I was stunned but it did gave me a massive boost to push harder.

The forests of the Table Mountains were stunning, but with the thick fog that morning 14469195_10154422600576955_1994084452_nthere was something spooky about them too. At one point there was no other runners around me, it was just me and the trails. I loved it. Yes I thought I must be the last runner but in the end I did not really care about that.

Soon I saw some hikers. One guy shouted to me “Hey, who made you run”? I laughed and said no one, to which he replied “so why the hell are you doing this to yourself?” I did not have to think about the answer, “I love it” I said and ran on with the lightness in my legs, and at this point I actually believed it.

Eventually we exited the forest and run through a trail of massive stones. It was flat, maybe even a little decline but it was one of the hardest parts of the race for me. The stones were wet from the rain, they were not big enough to give a flat service under my feet. I was tip toeing from one stone to another freaked out that any minute now I will either fall and break my leg or loose control and twist my ankle. People in front of me were so fast. I could not believe with how much ease they were taking this route? I was genuinely scared, nearly walking. But that was ok, only a year earlier I had my leg broken, only a month earlier I had my knees hurt in bad fall so it was expected to be scared and it was fine to take it easy.

14483607_10154422600536955_932978280_nSoon we reached forest again and with more ups and downs I was slowly making progress. At mile 11 I reached second checkpoint. I stopped for few minutes, talked with the volunteers and other runners, I wanted to enjoy this race. I was also tired and my legs started to hurt. I needed this break.

From there it was pretty much downhill running. But I did struggle, tough trails of stones and tree roots played under my tired feet. But the finish was near.

I eventually reached the road and from there it was last mile to go. It was a demoralizing part of running for me. The hard service under my feet, slightly going up was not the way I would want to finish the race. But there was no other way. I mixed walk with run and I pushed knowing that in few minutes it will be all over. I reached the field, music was playing, people were cheering. I heard my dad screaming my name from the other side of the lake. I saw my mum clapping. It was happy moment. I had one last corner to do, I stepped onto the wooden bridge and flew to the floor. I fell so fast I did not even realised that I did it. I picked myself up and slowly run across very slippery bridge. The photographer was laughing but he did said I was not the first one falling in that same spot.

And with my last step off the bridge, I run up the last tiny hill to the finish line. My parents waited for me there. I was given the medal and a tshirt and my name was read out as a finisher. 14466945_10154422600596955_563109672_o

I was tired, actually I was more than tired, nearly broken. But in my heart I was happiest person. I finished. It was tough, it was challenging but most of all it was amazing. Till next time…

 

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