Why I Join A Running Race Alone
Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion.
The countdown began - 10, 9...3, 2, and 1. All the runners started running at their own pace in their own rhythm, and I remembered that I was still surprised that I was one among the crowd of people running one Saturday afternoon at the Garden By The Bay.
I hate running. I really do. I could never understand why people had to run, and even worse, why they claimed to be hooked on running. Really, hooked on running? I was certain that I would never run to save my life. Yes, even to save my life I wouldn’t and couldn’t run! As I was running amidst the lush open lawns on my left and the picturesque view of the Conservatories and the Super trees on my right, I was set thinking to how I came to running on that memorable Saturday afternoon.
It all began when I saw a medal dangle around a friend’s neck at the completion of another race another time in another place. A medal of achievement at my age seemed too good to be true but the desire to own one was raging within. I gave in to the greed of a medal and signed up for my first ever 5km run. In my early forties and running for the very first time in my life seemed very ambitious.
I, with decent fitness could do quite a few things effortlessly, but could never run. My knees hurt and my legs feel heavy and refuse to budge from the ground if I have to run. Considering these facts, my participation in a run, even a Fun Run seemed a big deal to me. So there I was, that Saturday afternoon in my sports attire, all set to run - just to prove to myself that I still had it in me. The redundancy of my mundane life needed this moment to shake me out of my complacency and move ahead in life.
The D Day...
It was an overcast afternoon and the dark clouds reflected my sombre mood. I was nervous, queasy in the stomach and totally unsure of myself. All my bravado seemed to desert me on D-day. I was literally bedridden a week back with severe back and knee pain. My doctor advised me against running. But what about the three weeks of training and hard work that I put in? I couldn’t let that go to waste, and the dream of completing a run for the very first time in my life was too good to let go.
So, there I was in the venue nervous as hell and clueless of how things would turn out. There was an enthusiastic threesome on the makeshift stage encouraging the would-be runners to warm up before the race. I joined in and sincerely warmed up because I just couldn’t afford any injuries with my already weak muscles.
It was time to line up at the start line. I was surrounded by all colours, nationalities, ages, sizes and shapes - boisterous kids, concerned parents, couples in love, and some fit ‘true blood’ runners. The nervous energy was palpable and contagious. All set to go. 10, 9, 8…2, 1 and here we go, the race was declared open and people rushed forward. People were running, jogging, walking briskly, and some strolling. It was all happening here.
Victory At Last...
I looked ahead and willed myself to calm my breath and my rapidly beating heart. My throat was already parched, and I was feeling that this might be the biggest mistake of my life. But I forged ahead. To make matters worse, the rain gods thought it only apt to bless my maiden run and an incessant drizzle followed by a steady rain ensued. With gritted teeth I reached the 2.5 km mark and thought, I should quit.
It was foolish on my part to do what I was doing - running in the rain when my body moaned in pain. The medal flashed across my eyes and unwillingly I trudged along. Slippery road and slipping confidence was sounding the clarion of doom. With a bent head and steady focus on the goal I ran.
Is this what meditation is, I wondered? I was oblivious to my surroundings. The only mantra I chanted was – You can do it! Encouraging shouts from within, who were apparently screaming, “Go, go, go,” brought me back to the present. My spirit started soaring as I realised the finish line was close by. Gathering my last ounce of strength I sprinted to the Finish line.
I Did It
The medal (for which I actually ran) didn’t feel as good as the sense of achievement and satisfaction I felt at completing my first maiden run alone. Now, I ask myself – Am I ready for a full marathon? I believe I can if it's broken in a few days or weeks. That's why I'm joining the Solo Run Online Race 2020. I just can't miss the winged finisher medal key.
The article is contributed by members of the community. All stories are based on real life personal experiences or actual events encountered by the authors and related parties. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Editing by RunSociety
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