On Wednesday I ran the 4/5 race of the Lakeside 5k series. I won’t hold you in suspense – and if you follow me on instagram you will already know that I finished in 30:17.
Am I pleased?
Well, yes. It’s a PB, so I am. But then again…
Things didn’t go quite as planned right from the start. I realised after about a kilometer or so that my Garmin hadn’t started recording the run. No problem, I thought. I know more or less what 6min/km feels like, I’ll just wing it.
3 kilometers in I was so tired. I was really feeling the lack of sleep and I just wanted to sit down and give up. I was in last place too. Why am I doing this?
Then, I got a bit of a second wind, and I pushed on. Slowly I caught up with another runner. It was a woman who looked as tired as I felt. I wanted to tell her she was doing great as I passed, but I was worried she might think I was being patronising. I felt horribly guilty as I overtook her.
As I reached the 400 meter countdown, the marshall had already taken down the signs.
Anymore behind you? He asked.
I really must have entered the wrong 5km if the marshall couldn’t even be bothered to wait half an hour to see the last runners through before taking the signs down.
The final corner approached. I knew there was a clock on the finish, so I’d be able to see my time at about 80 meters from the end. However, when I got there, there was a boy sat on a post in front of the clock. All I could see were the last two digits. It was xx:44.
I sighed inside. With the times I’d been running recently (around 30:30), I reckoned it was at 30:44, so no PB and no sub-30.
I eased off a bit and ran on to the finish, trying to get a glimpse of the clock to no avail.
I was almost at the finish when the clock came into view.
It said 30:03.
I couldn’t believe it. That meant it’d been at 29:44 when I rounded the bend. If I’d known that I’d have sprinted like mad to make it before it ticked over to 30 minutes. My heart dropped as I crossed the line at 30:07. “Seven” said the timekeeper to the person with a clipboard.
I actually felt like crying. If only that boy hadn’t been sat there! If only my Garmin had worked when I set off!
I downed a free bottle of water and headed back to the car. When I got there, my initial upset passed and the elation kicked in. I may not have broken 30 minutes, but it was a great PB for me, and a great surprise. On balance, I decided, I was over the moon.
The results for the lakeside 5k series usually come out the same evening. You can imagine how I felt when I opened the email to discover my time had been listed as 30:17.
I stared at the results for ages and decided I must have misread the clock. I collapsed into bed after a big dinner and thought no more of it. However, a couple of hours later I was wide awake. I’d eaten too late and my stomach wasn’t happy, but most of all, I was absolutely convinced that my time had been recorded wrong. I would not have misread 30:03 – the time when the clock came into view. It was such a distinctive number and so important to me.
I sent the race organisers a very polite and friendly email saying that I was certain I’d crossed at 30:07. I wasn’t really expecting them to do anything, but it eased my mind. Three days later I haven’t even had an acknowledgement from them. Not even a Sorry, results can’t be changed, but we appreciate you getting in touch.
It hasn’t left me feeling great about the race to be honest. The marshall packing up and asking me if I was the last one is probably the most hurtful thing. Running is usually celebrated for being such an inclusive and friendly sport.
There is one more in the series, the final race, on the 30th August, and I have already paid for my entry. The way I am feeling at the moment though, I don’t think I want to run it!