Okay, so my triathlete sister had been pushing me to go for my first race which was at the lakeshore, Toronto. Sunny bhaiya had also made a deal with me that he’ll give me one of his medals if I participate. Well, I was a bit reluctant because I doubted if I could even finish it, and even if I did, I didn’t want to come last. But I had been working out a bit and Garima di was convinced that I’ll be able to do it, so I said yes. I couldn’t sleep properly the previous night. These guys had decided to accompany me in the 5k race. I woke around 6:30am on the race day and was roaming around in the apartment aimlessly cus the race was at 9am. So finally I had some oatmeal and we got out and met Sunny bhaiya at the lakeshore where the turnout was good, the track was marked, and runners were ready. We stretched as the 10k runners started running. 10 mins later, they both went to the front and I stayed behind (being a slow runner). I started getting nervous watching the athletes around me and Garima di looked back at me and wished me luck. The race started with many cheers and I started running.
I kept on running in the first km and I slowed down after I saw the marker. I knew I was pushing myself but I really didn’t want to come last. I started walking in between and then a participant in front of me started running backwards and tried motivating me to keep running. I started running again but got exhausted soon enough. That guy was with me for a while and then I started slacking behind. I started running again after seeing many people overtaking me. I kept running till I saw the 2km marker where the crew cheered and a lady tried to motivate me by telling me to keep on and I was looking good. That was when I imagined myself running with a tomato face. I chuckled a bit and was out of breath so I slowed down. I saw the 3km marker after a while and then we were running along the lake but my calves had started aching by then. The weather was cold and nice and the wind made me feel better so I kept running. We went a bit downhill after which I started running backwards to ease my calves which did help. When I was turning back, I was dreading the sight of no one behind me, but surprisingly there were people so I kept running. I drank a few sips of water offered by the race crew and after a bit more, I saw the 4 km marker which motivated me to keep running. Shortly afterwards, I saw Sunny bhaiya and Garima di, who had completed their race, walking in the opposite direction to meet me on my way.
They were surprised to see me so soon and told me I was doing way better than they expected me to. They started running with me and kept pushing me to keep on running cus the finish line was about 500m away. I started running again but then suddenly I felt a terrible pain on the right side of my chest and I realised that I got stitches. It hurt when I inhaled and I started slowing down again. Garima di tried to motivate me by telling me that there were cookies at the finish line which actually worked. But I was finding it hard to breathe because of the pain. So she told me to take short breaths and that helped a bit so at least I could breathe. When I saw the finish line, I started trying even harder to stay on my feet. I was moving mostly by my own momentum and my legs hurt and so did my chest so I wasn’t able to speed up even when I was trying really hard. A few more people passed me. But then suddenly I remembered imagining myself ending the race with a sprint and somehow, I ignored the sharp pain and started running as fast as I could. I heard more cheers and I finally crossed the finish line.
I took in deep breaths, sat down and the pain continued for another 2 minutes. Meanwhile these guys came and took the chip off my shoe to get my time. I got up as soon as I caught my breath and struggled a bit to stand straight. Then we went to have water, cookies and bananas.
I felt so happy that I had managed to finish in an unexpected time of 34:9.8 instead of 45 or 50 minutes as these guys had expected. And I didn’t come last!!!
Note: The last two images belong to me.