I’m only writing this in the brief interlude I have between sorting out my life/classes and catching the bus back home to Eibar (actually starting to feel like home too!) so I haven’t checked how long its been since I wrote last. Certainly a long time, so there is a lot to tell. Well, maybe.
So, chosing one thing to say: I DID IT! I ran the 10k race!
I’m not sure if I ever mentioned that I signed up to do the 10km option of the San Sebastian Marathon (one of Spain’s most prestigious), but on Sunday the moment FINALLY arrived.
On Saturday lunch time, I headed up to Donostia (what us locals call San Sebastian, haha) to stay with Arantxa and Aitzol of my climbing sejourn and crazy multilingual exchange. Me and Arantxa talk from time to time and Facebook and it was great to see them, even if I didn’t get the opportunity to go visit Rocky the Black Panther.
We settled down for a lovely lunch, which I wasn’t expecting and was very greatful for, before Arantxa walked me round the corner to the football stadium: home to Gipuzkoa’s finest, Real Sociedad, where I was to pick up my number and goody bag. Luckily they didn’t require any ID, so I breathed a sigh of relief (thats another stressful story to come when I’ve got to the end of it). The number and timer tag also came with a goody bag. In the endless emails that I had received I’d managed to decipher that we wouldn’t be getting free t-shirts as in previous years due to the growth of the event being somewhat larger than the growth of the budget, but in its stead I did receive an energy bar (standard), cider (at a fitness event? Really?) and a large carton of what appeared to be chicken stock. No, really, stock. I was as baffled as I expect you are!
Then it was back home for a small Spanish style supper and an exchange of text messages with my running partner Ellen (assistant in Bilbao) before an early night fiercely punctuated with nerves.
I rose early the next morning, barely feeling rested at all and ate my way through half a loaf of bread and some biscuits. A sparse meal before such and event, but on the way to meet Ellen back at the stadium I discovered the hard lump of Kendal Mint Cake left over from my trip to Canada several months before. It was clean, it was good. I have never been so glad that I don’t empty out my pockets that often!
We met another anglophone, a girl Emma from Australia living in Bordeaux, and together we warmed up whilst the marathon and half-marathoners headed off towards La Contxa, Donostia’s iconic beach.
The race started with nerves and smiles and the thrill of having a number pinned to my chest for the first time since sixth form. I couldn’t help but grin in amongst the swaythe of like minded (and considerably fitter) people. And then there was the niggling worry: I’d only ever run this far once before continuously and that had taken me an hour. There was an hour limit on the race. I HAD to make it. At 5, 6 and 7 km people would be pulled out if they weren’t up to speed. I knew I could make the times if the race was that distance alone, but pacing myself for the final murderous kilometres would I?
At 3km, after the first water stand where I found that I lack the ability to multitask and simalteneously drink and run, the distance signs petered out. From the course map I’d seen, I knew that the 5km mark was somewhere along the return stretch of the beach and 6 and 8 were marked by water stands, but the dreaded 7? What was I aiming for? I was really scared of getting pulled out even though I was still running in the midst of a huge crowd. Surely they couldn’t stop us all?
An age later, or more likely 15 minutes, the stadium of Anoeta bobbed into view and I let out and intended whoop of victory. It came out more as a desperate rasp. We were nearly there! We’d nearly done it! And then I passed another water station. Oh no. Still two more kilometres. In the whole scheme of things, 2km isn’t all that far at all, but after 8! Pain! And even as I ran down the side of the stadium, it wasn’t yet over. There was another pitch behind it and we had to give that a loop before running in for the lap of glory. Or rather pain and confusion.
Usually a large inflatable archway marks the end of a race. Well, in my head they do anyway. So I sprinted with gusto at the first one I saw. And then I noticed everyone was continuing to run the other side of it. There was no bleepy thing for our timer tags. The next 200m felt like half the race, but I still managed an extra burst of energy for my final few paces. Once I’d worked out through the rabble what was the end, that is!
Ellen had come in a bit ahead of me, and we hugged sweatily and paced around, stretching out and planning our celebratory drink we were to have later. It was only 10 o’clock, there was plenty of time to go back to Arantxa’s for a shower and a blanket and a spot of telly.
Since then, I’ve been incredibly lazy, but I’ll be back out there soon!
Time: 47.52 (off the top of my head) incredibly pleased with myself!!