On Running My First 21k

Today was an early day. Not being able to fall asleep until midnight last night, I had to drag myself out of bed at 3.15am for my first 21k (13-mile) run.

A few weeks ago, I met a group of amusing adventure-seekers, when I went on an official climb (a major one at that with details I will talk about in my next post). During the climb, I found out that they were planning to run their first 21k in a month, so I decided to join them. I had been wanting to run a half-marathon since last year, I guess I just never found enough motivation to train for one or the right people to run it with, I subconsciously pushed the plan down my priority list.

It was mid-August and I only had a month to get ready. I had not been able to run much. Other than my short morning runs in the province during the early half of the year, I only joined two official 5k several months ago. I was not ready. I was anxious. I did not think I would be able to do it. And with my work schedule, I didn’t get to train (if you can call it training) until less than 2 weeks ago.

I hate stopping when I run, it ruins my momentum, so I was not planning to stop in this 21k run. If I wanted to survive this race, I knew I had to work on my endurance. But considering that I no longer had enough time, I had to come up with a program that was both simple and realistic:

Day 1 – 30 minutes
Day 2 – 30 minutes
Day 3 – 30 minutes
Day 4 – 45 minutes
Day 5 – 45 minutes
Day 6 – 45 minutes
Day 7 – 45 minutes
Day 8 – 1 hour
Day 9 – 1 hour
Day 10 – Rest
Day 11 – Race Day

For 9 nights, I would change from my stilettos to my running shoes and run in the park nearest my workplace. It would be between 8pm and 10pm. On one night, I didn’t get to leave the office until almost 11pm, without the moonlight, it would’ve been pitch black. But I didn’t want to disappoint myself, so I stuck to my training plan.

I started with only 30 minutes because I haven’t had enough mileage this year and didn’t want to shock my legs and knees. Initially, I planned 3 days of each, but I had an extremely tiring workday on Day 7 so I just did 45 minutes.

During the race, my pace was generally slow and steady, but I did fast 5-minute runs after every 30 minutes. It took me 2 hours and 57 minutes (based on gun start, official results will be released on Wednesday) but I never stopped.

I never really thought I would survive unscathed. Haha. XD I didn’t care how long it would take me, I only wanted to make sure I would not stop. And I did it! I endured almost 3 hours of running without stopping. And this just adds to my amazement– how incredibly reliable and resilient the human body is! I had never ran for more than 2 hours straight prior to this race, but today I ran for almost 3 hours, and I was not even as tired as I had expected.

With my friend Ave after our first 21k run

With my friend Ave after our first 21k run

It was raining the whole time, which also probably helped. It would’ve been more difficult had it been hot and humid. I will forever be indebted to Blondie and their musical talent. xD The Tide is High and Die Young, Stay Pretty will always be my top power songs (I know, unexpected, but the beat helps me get back to my rhythm).

I am doing a 10k on the 30th, planning at least 2 more 10k and a 16k starting next month and before I do another 21k by late November or early December. And, this time, I have to make sure I train properly.

The past month had been unbelievable. And I think I am ready to take a break for a few days. With only Sunday being my day off from work, it had felt like I had been running behind on so many things in life, so I have tried to push myself to the limits and, I am happy to say that I had succeeded in pushing my limits even farther. I have so much to tell and document on this blog, and it’s frustrating that I have not been able to write– but I will try to make some time for it. After all, it is not about not having enough time, it is about making time.

And, oh, I got my ears pierced last month. And what is even more surprising is I have worn these earrings for more than 3 weeks. Embarrassingly, I had this abnormal fear of piercings and earrings. Reason why I never attempted to get piercings until I was 18 years old (and only to take them off after 3 days while bawling like a 3-year old, who scraped her knee).

Pierced ears, after 24 years

Pierced ears, after 24 years

This year, I am 24 and I think I might be over the fear. 🙂

Today’s lesson: Push yourself beyond your limits. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.

UPDATE:

I knew there was something wrong with the RU3 21k LED timer– it was 30 minutes late. XD The official results are out!

Ranked 643rd out of 2414 runners. But what I’m really happy about is that I finished within my target time, which was 2 hours and 30 minutes. 🙂 Looking forward to my 2nd 21k! 😀

The results are in, interesting statistics!

The results are in, interesting statistics!

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