A bit too early on Sunday morning, Steve and I boarded the bus bound for Mokpo, South Korea. It was only about an hour journey south of Gwangju. In Mokpo, we made our way by taxi to the Mokpo Maritime Museum where the race started and finished. I wasn’t feeling nervous, I was more curious to see how fast I could run a 10km. Up until this race, I hadn’t been training specifically for the 10km. I’d been doing general strength training and a few strides…so I was interested to see what kind of shape I was in.
This was also my first “race” event. When I was 16 I ran a half-marathon, but looking back I had no idea what I was doing! I went into the half-marathon with shin splints and basically just ran it to finish it (which I did in 2 hours and 9 minutes I think lol). I had no idea about proper nutrition and training then. The mindset was different going into this 10km. I felt fresh, confident in my training, and ready to see how far I could push my body.
I started behind the crowd as I lined up a bit too late, which meant a slow start. The first 2km were hillier than I expected but I tried to conserve as much energy as posible while passing as many people as I could. After the 2.5km mark, I hit the bridge.
Before the race, I saw a picture of the bridge in the magazine they sent us with our bibs. There were happy koreans running across the bridge waving, smiling, and looking like they were having a great old time! I thought, “Wow so cool, we get to run across the bridge- its normally open only to cars, what a treat to run over it and get a sick view over the ocean”. Well….from the start line the bridge was visible, standing there in the distance, looking quite ominous and a lot bigger than I had imagined.
So I hit the bridge and began the gradual ascent. I could feel the wind was with me, pushing me up to the summit of the bridge. Great- what a help! Then came the descent down the second half of the bridge…that was fast with the decline and wind pushing me.
Then came the 5km point- the turnaround. I rounded the sign and was slapped in the face with a huge gust of wind. This was the toughest part of the race- running back up to the summit of the bridge with gale force winds against me. I was trying to conserve as much energy as I could- trying to duck behind other runners (they didn’t seem to like that) or take shorter strides like Steve says to do on inclines…nothing was helping. It felt like I was going to be blown off the side of the bridge. There were paper cups and signs flying everywhere. By this point I was seriously tired and considering just walking for a bit (like most of the other runners decided to do).
I didn’t stop running, finally making it back to the base of the bridge and onto the last 2km before the finish. I figured at this point I should just try to get this over with as fast as possible. So I ran up and down the last few hills to the finish where I sprinted down across the finish line…finishing in 51 minutes and 21 seconds. I came in 12th place in my category.
That was definitely the most I’ve pushed myself and I’m glad I gave it my best shot. I know I really pushed it because I’m still sore 4 days later! Right now, I’m focusing on recovery and resting my body as much as possible to prepare for the next 10km in Suncheon on November 12.
So that was my first 10km race experience. Sorry there were no pictures running like Steve’s post- I don’t think anyone wanted to take pictures of my pained face!
Hope you all had a great week. Anyone else have a 10km coming up?
Until next post,