My First Race Eva!
Oh, for how long I've been wanting to write about this! For how long!! And now that I'am on the other side of it, I can brag about it with no worries. None whatsoever! Too many exclamation points, eh? Just proud and happy, that's all.
How did it all begin?
I wrote to Sam for some details. She was very encouraging. We had exactly three months to train and she said it was doable. So after couple of days of pondering, I just took the plunge and registered. aaaack!
Time to buckle up
Oh, before I forget - what an awesome race pack! I mean, vowza! Dry fit shirt by Addidas, bags, bottles, spaghetti, lotion, petroleum gelly, GU and so many other stuff. Fab race pack by Dubai Creek Striders!
Day before the race
|Getting everything ready for the race|
After tossing and turning and waking up every hour, I finally woke up at 4am. I couldn't sleep anymore. I said my prayers, read the Holy Quran, made some breakkie for my family, had some brown toasts with honey and butter, some water, got myself dressed.. I was still nervous. I couldn't sit down for a second. I woke up J to help me catch a cab.. kissed my children goodbye and left..
When my cab reached Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, there was a mad rush at the gate. I felt good that I took a cab and didn't think of driving. Cabbie asked me what the rush was all about. 'Is there a party, madam?, he asked me. Lolz! I said 'ithney subeh subeh kya party bhaisaab?'. (What party early morning bhaisaab?).
Like I said before, this was my first race. My first feel of everything related to a race. Everyone were hurrying towards the starting point and I just followed the crowd. After couple of tries, I managed to get hold of Sam over the phone and met her. Her friend Candice, Sam and I then dropped off our bag and waited for the call. Oh, we also had a good session of warm up by Fitness First.
|Before the start with Samantha and Candice...|
And the wait began... Once the pacers had left with their group, it was our turn. We were in the 2:30hours+ group (I hope Iam correct here). I had already told Sam that she shouldn't wait for me and should keep running. As we started, I fell back. Way back. All the while I was worried whether I would be the last to finish. And it looked like I was going to be.
I know very well that I'am a slow runner. So I just kept running at my pace. I told myself I will catch up later. My goal is to finish the race, not finish within a given time. There were marshals every few hundred meters. There was a mobile ambulance and a marshal on bike (Audrey) who were trailing me and checking whether they were any runners who were injured. There were a couple.
Apart from the rental chip we were given to time ourselves, I also carried the Edomondo app in my cell with me. Ive been using it for a while and although I use the basic version it serves my purpose - calculate time, distance, pace, calories and even save the map! I checked my time every now and then and felt I was faster than my usual runs. So I started feeling confident and felt I could finish this in three hours.
And then.. those bridges.. the sun.. the humidity.. oh good Lord! I had to keep pulling myself together, think good thoughts, say prayers and sometimes cry out loud. Audrey kept checking on me every now and then and that felt really good. It was good to have someone to talk to every now and then as I was on the verge of giving up. Race course was near my home. And many times I thought I will just catch a cab and head back home. haha!
But then I would remember Sam's promise to wait for me at finishing line. I would remember the feeling of finishing a race that Ive been wanting to experience. I would remember about all my friends on Instagram whom Ive been bugging with my Mamzar and Twar photos. And my blog and this post Ive been drafting in my head. I would think of all the training and time away from my kids. That would give me some more energy. And I just moved on. Slow. Sometimes walking.
|The race course was beautiful! And being a slow bum, it was not difficult to take a photo!|
I apologized to whomever I could - sorry to keep you waiting... so sorry.. thank you.. But everyone were very very supporting. There were so many school kids who had volunteered to be at water stops. Poor little darlings waiting in that scorching heat and sun! But they kept supporting me, giving me water, sponges, isotonic drinks and very motivational words and applause. I wonder what it would have been like if I didn't have such support during the race!
And finally..... I reached the gate again. After crossing Garhoud Bridge once, Maktoum Bridge twice and Shindagha Pedestrian Underpass once, I finally made it to the gate. I have never been on foot on any of these in my life in Dubai and I had to do everything in one go! My glutton for punishment!
Like Audrey said, those last few hundred meters were horrifying! Just horrifying. It was like one of those dreams where you are trying to run fast, but you just can't. Many were leaving. But they stopped and cheered me on. And I made it. I-just-made-it.
At the finishing line, the guy who was giving off the medals asked me how my journey was. I couldn't say anything. I was tired, numb and very emotional. I didn't cry, thankfully. I hope he didn't think I was rude. Whoever you are, I'am really sorry...
After the finish I met Sam and had a light breakfast. My buddy had finished in 2hours:30minutes. Bravo!! So proud of her! By the time I reached, they were clearing up the breakfast table. I got hold of some muffins, pastries and sauted mushrooms. There were a lot of other food items too. I was too tired to notice or carry anything. Sam tried to get a photo of me. I said, no, please give me some time. Lolz! I couldn't stand straight.
We sat and had a chat. The feeling still hasn't sunk in for me. I was still looking at the medal. Trying to figure out how I did what I did. Or was it all just a dream... Took some snaps and decided it was time to go home.
On the cab back home, the cabbie had questions again. lolz! 'What was the race all about, walking or running, how many kilometers' etc. And I bragged. I bragged it was 21km. And also that I was the last to finish. Hey, finishing last is definitely something to brag about!
|I did it! yaay!!|
Oh, and how long did it take for me to finish? 3 hours and 42 minutes. *toothy smile*
I would like to thank Samantha, Anja, Tania and Megha for being there for me, for supporting me and pushing me. Thank you Audrey for sticking with me till the end. I would also like to thank everyone at DCS for being such a huge support team and for organizing everything so well. Each of you have helped me reach a huge milestone in my life. I can't thank you enough. Words fail me!
If you are a runner or thinking of running, if you are worried about what people would say or those idiots on the streets who gawk for no reason - don't worry. Don't you dare worry! Do what you have to do for yourself. Take care of yourself and your health first. Don't think about what others are going to say or think about you. It's your body, your health and happiness that matters. Rest comes later!
I think that covers everything. Phew!
See you soon, Insha Allah.
Johnson Arabia Dubai Creek Striders Half Marathon 2012 - Race Overview