"I would like us to run a 10K together." Everything started with this sentence.
[Post written by my sister]
I never considered myself as a sporty person, and even less as someone mentally strong enough to go seek and push my limits. The first things that came to my mind when my sister made this "suggestion" were that, first, running is not my thing, second, if I say yes I will have to go running as a regular thing, and third, she will turn into this super excited girl I know she can be and create a specific training plan for me to follow... Let's be honest, it was not a really positive first response. And then, I watched her with her Puss in Boots' eyes (I know, great reference, but, believe me, she can totally do that), so I tried to think some more. A 10K hand in hand with my sister would also mean a challenge together, great memories, getting into her passion. A beautiful moment of sharing. So, I said OK, let's do this!
Time flew and day D was already here. I had no time to overthink the whole thing, so no stress, no pressure. The only thing I am worried about is that I'm not a fast runner and I'm not a competitive person. I'm scared I'll be surrounded by super motivated, super trained and super serious runners. And the worst of the worst for me: being last and feeling ridiculous...
Day before the race, time for bib pickup. Ok, so, this is happening. I'm looking around and at the runners' strong legs. I don't feel in my element but I promised I'll do it, so I will. The playboy cooks for us a big carbo-loaded dinner. I get into the game of the "real runner's preparation".
Race morning, early wake up call to have breakfast early enough to properly digest. I'm following the advice of everyone. I'm ok with that. Still no stress. I see it as my Sunday's long run, with the extra people around.
Once on race location, we are missing someone: my own playboy. My main concern is that we won't manage to gather before the start. Bathroom trip. Still no personal playboy in sight... it's starting to really bother me. We finally meet with him, a few minutes before go time. My coach insists on the importance of a slow jog to warm up. I feel less and less at ease and I object to it... do I really have to run surrounded by all these people watching me? (paranoid mode). I give in and run a bit.
Almost go time. We say goodbye to the playboy who will stay in the front of the pack and we go in the back in order not to bother the competitive runners. Go time, here we go! It starts really slow. I don't feel good stuck in the middle of all these runners. I can't wait for a wider and less crowded moment. Finally, we can properly run. I decide to let my coach set my run. We pass quite a bunch of people. On the left, on the right. I'm just following. After a few minutes, I feel pain in my calves. I tell my sister about it. She checks on me regularly asking how I feel and if I want to slow down. My breathing is fine, so we don't slow down.
We finally leave the big avenue behind us and make a turn towards a lake. I can tell my legs are now warmed up. The pain is gone. I'm happy to be running with my sister. It feels good. My coach is chatting with me. I like it. I can tell she wants to make me give my all, so I'm trying my best for it. She's setting goals for me. "You can't be behind a girl wearing pink! Let's pass her!". I know I'm running faster than usual. As I feel good, I carry on, knowing I can totally slow down later if needed. I take it kilometer by kilometer. After all, nothing can happen to me. I'm with my sister!
[Note: Some people look good on photos. Others not... / Photo credit: Madeleine Photos]
Further on, we see the playboy on the other side as he already made his turn back to the start. We wave and cheer on him. We are still running strong and passing people. We are chatting and having fun (well, my coach is talking, I'm not... I'm taking care of breathing). At the water station, my sister takes care of it for me. She comes back with water and a sugar cube. "Put that in your mouth". OK... but, I can't breathe now! Crazy how hard it is to eat while running... U turn. Half the race is done. I'm still feeling good. I'm happy.
We leave the park behind and are back on the avenue. I can tell my breathing is more difficult. I have stitches. I try to concentrate on my breathing pattern. I make them go away. It's a relief. Kilometer 8. My coach is getting excited: "Only 2 more kilometers to go! We are there!". Well... how can I explain to you? 2 kilometers, it's long! I can feel I'm easing off. But I don't want to slow down, now. No way! I keep it in and I carry on. I'm definitely less cheerful. I don't reply to my coach anymore. I'm just holding on. Long, straight avenue which seems like never ending... awful. I feel as if I were asthmatic. Air is going in but doesn't seem like getting to my lungs.
Where is the finish line??? Finally, I can see it. My coach cheers on me: "GO, GO, GO! Final stretch!". I give it my all. A guy in front of us heard my sister and is worried about getting passed my us. He starts to sprint. I don't care. I can see the finish line getting closer. My sister takes my hand and we cross the line as we said we'll do, hand in hand.
Once stopped, I finally realize it's done. I did it. We did it. I'm proud of myself. I really wanted to do my best. I think it's what I did.
It was a great experience and I'll keep nice memories of it. Even if I do run other races in the future, this race will stay the best one as I had to share it with my sister. I don't regret saying yes.
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