I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about this race because three days later I still feel like a total friendless sad sack when I think about it, and who wants to read a sob story? The highlights: I realized the extent of my injury, and on top of that the race made me feel so alone in England.
But I guess things can’t always be as happy as a chocolate sprinkle cupcake, so let’s get out the world’s smallest violin and weep together.
I signed up for the British 10K a couple months ago and was really looking forward to it. It’s a huge race and I’ve been training for a while so I felt confident that I’d get a time I could be proud of. I was sure the race would be so much fun because it’s through central London with thousands of other runners.
The start line:
A couple weeks before the race I started having knee trouble. I thought it was well enough to run the race, so I decided to go anyway and just walk it if I couldn’t run.
Aside from my injury, I was low on positive energy from the start because I kept seeing all the people around me laughing and having fun and all I could think was, “Why am I still in this country?” Everyone else was running the race in small groups, or had family supporting them on the sidelines, and there I was not knowing one person who would have wanted to race with me and not having a single person supporting me.
(call the waaaambulance!)
Maybe I’m being a dramatic baby, but I felt like there’d be no way I could ever say to anyone here, “Hi, please get up at 7:30 am on a Sunday and stand in the pouring rain among 25,000 people to watch me race. Kthanksbye.”
This isn’t to say I don’t have good friends here who haven’t done nice things for me or been incredibly supportive in other ways! I was just feeling down about this particular thing because it was so important to me and I’ve put so much into training the past couple months. You know how it is when you get in a bad mood and it’s hard for you to see outside of your own little rain cloud pity party. Also I was extremely tired and when I’m tired I pretty much turn into a five year old.
I’m not meaning to be offensive to the English, but I also feel like Americans are generally way more supportive and willing to cheer on a friend, even one they don’t know that well. The only person who was supportive of me doing this race and sent me a good luck text was … you guessed it – American!
At home I can be like, “You better be there, and also make me a neon sign! Maybe wear a home-made supportive T-shirt, too. And have some pom-poms.” But here I just don’t feel comfortable even mentioning to anyone the possibility of having them there.
Last year after my 10K Mama and Papa Bear were waiting for me at the finish line with a pumpkin donut, and La Rosa’s was waiting with a slice of hot pizza!
Anyway, the course was great. I started off strong, and for about half a mile I thought I was going to be able to run the whole way. I knew I wouldn’t get the time I wanted, but I was happy to be running again after two weeks off. By the second mile my pain had gone from zero to agony, so I was stopping every 30 seconds to stretch. At the first sign of pain I should have stopped, but instead I ran faster because I think I knew this was the last time I’d be running for a while. Not smart.
I was in so much pain so early on that I considered dropping out and going home, but there was no easy way to a station so I limped to the finish. Longest six miles of my life.
Every single person that ran past me made me even more upset that I wasn’t running as well.
To top it off, the finish line area was AWFUL and completely trashed. It really could not have been worse. It was raining heavily at this point, so I was soaked and in the most rotten mood imaginable. I had to search all around to find the goody bag, which ended up being the absolute worst goody bag I’ve ever gotten. Granted this was only my 5th race, but there was basically nothing in it! This race cost me £50, more than I’ve ever paid, and essentially I got nothing. A couple pieces of paper and a 90 calorie bag of pistachios. Even the £10 fun run races will give you an energy bar or some good coupons for local restaurants or whatever.
I then ended up having to walk around asking multiple people where we were supposed to pick up our finisher’s medal (they said there would be people handing them to us as we crossed the finish line – total lie). Finally I found a guy with a box full of medals. THEN I had to walk about ten minutes to find my special T-shirt for being a “gold” entry member. There were no signs, and it was absolutely ridiculous to have to walk that far when they could easily have set it up by the finish line as it was a small booth. I could barely walk at this point, but I was so angry that I was like, I’M GETTING MY FREE T-SHIRT EVEN IF IT KILLS ME!!!
I always used to read about runners having horrible races or runs and questioning the sport, and I didn’t understand it. Now I do! Maybe this makes me a real runner now that I have an awful race story to tell.
I imagine this is how people feel when they break up with someone they still want to be with. I feel helpless and desperate and longing to be running again, but I can’t have it. Running doesn’t want me, so instead I’m settling with lazing in bed all week watching Seinfeld and resting my knee.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some more happy pictures from sunny Rome, and maybe some food pictures as well!