I almost did not make it to the start line thanks to an extraordinary camping trip to Kakadu the weekend before where hours of 4WDing and hiking prompted my lower back to go on a running strike. A few months ago I would have rejoiced at any excuse to miss a few training runs, but this time around I was just plain miserable.
I took all the good advice and rested as much as I could or as much as the 4-year-old allowed me. On the Thursday night before the race, I could barely walk and by Saturday night the pain had lessened so I made the decision to get my running gear ready for the morning. I figured that I would be close to home at the 3-5km point and could quite easily stop and hobble home if my back pain was unbearable.
I met up with the ladies from the Darwin Chapter of Running Mums Australia before the race. It is SO GOOD to be able to run and chat with like-minded people who don’t get bored about talking about running shoes, blisters, injuries and events. These ladies have put the fun into running for me!
The 12km race was due to start at 7am, but like last year it was delayed somewhat which happened to be a good thing because at 6.55am I was still lining up in the Hilton Hotel with a hundred other ladies waiting to use 1 of 2 toilets. There was a third toilet but I won’t describe what state it was in.
More chatter and photos and finally it was time to run!
I started off with a few RMAs and I could see a couple in front of me as we made our way through the city. My back was pain-free, but I was hesitant to do anything but slow and steady just in case. I couldn’t quite help myself in the second kilometre which is a long downhill run (the only downhill) and I took off and that was my fastest kilometre.
So much for starting off slow and steady.
We all decided that we would wear loud running tights with our RMA shirts which I thought was a fantastic idea until the 4th kilometre struck and after few uphill climbs I was so hot I thought I just might die. I don’t think I have ever worn running tights in Darwin before and I don’t think I ever will again. I ran 12 kms with a giant camel toe which had a matching wedgie to boot.
That effort deserves a medal itself.
I passed the last turn off where I could stop and go home if I wanted too. I wanted to do this for many reasons – crotch sweat, nose sweat, ear sweat, camel toe and giant wedgie but there was no back pain to speak of.
At the halfway point I began to think about my time, the hills were over and it was just a long flat course ahead. Up until this point, I had maintained sub 6 min kms and I remember thinking ‘this is hard work but it’s not that bad I really should try and pick up my pace a little’. I decided to cruise along a bit more.
I looked down at my Garmin when 9kms clicked over because the sun was now up and it was getting a bit hotter by the minute and I wanted to stop at the next drink station pull up a chair and guzzle for a bit. I saw a flash of a 49mins on the Garmin and immediately my head started to do the math – I could get my first sub 55 min 10km if I finish the last 3 kms strong.
That was just the pep talk I needed. GOT IT!
I didn’t get any faster those last few kilometres, but my pace didn’t slow down either and I as I approached the finish line I heard the loudest shout ‘SARAH’ and thought who the hell is that?! But I didn’t turn to look because if I stopped I don’t think I could have started again. Plus my ego really enjoys passing my male counterparts who clearly are struggling in the last kilometre and have slowed to a waltz.
I should have known it was HB who shouted at me and soon enough he was running along next to me towards the finish line. It was way too cute but then I realised he was about to crash my finish line photo so I promptly told him where to go.
Time: I crossed the line in 1:07:52 which was a PB on last year’s time of 1:13:33
Next Event: Gold Coast Half Marathon July 5th.