So yesterday, I and 9,999 other women took part in a 10KM run organised by Nike. This was my first every 10KM run, I’ve only ever taken part in one other organised run and that was a Cancer Research 5K over 5 years ago. Prior to the run, Nike did a lot of promotions, sent out a training plan and even organised training groups. I attended two of these running groups at the Oxford Circus Niketown Store and did some runs on my own. I’m not a huge fan of long distance running and running a 10KM was not something I’d imagined myself doing this year but the event looked really good and I told myself to get out of my comfort zone in 2015 so I signed up.
I had only practiced three 10K runs before this day but they had gone pretty well so I wasn’t too worried about how it would go. However, I actually found this race really hard! I’ll break down how my day went…
I arrived at the event around 9.20am as the race started at 10.30am and as I left the tube station I saw a huge crowd of girls in the official race t-shirt and vest and I joined them. There was loads of us on the tube already but on the street it was like a neon orange takeover of runners. It was a bit of a walk to the park, about 15 minutes – basically a warm up! I was wearing a leather jacket and I had already started sweating before I’d even got there! I could have done with a shuttle bus Nike.
The park was full of people and different food vans and stalls such as Pip & Nut, Vita Coco and the Nike clothing store. You could get pre-run food and drinks or your spectators could eat whilst waiting for you. There was a DJ blasting tunes and the sun decided to make an appearance; it was a really good atmosphere.
When you apply for the run you choose a timed category to run in so there were different starting points for each group depending on what time you aimed to finish in. I was in the fastest group and was quite close to the front which was pretty exciting because I had a great view of the starting events. We had a warm-up with a Nike trainer called Sonja which pretty much involved jumping, squatting and shaking your bum to the music but I didn’t get fully involved because I wanted to conserve my energy. I was hot and slightly nervous so I didn’t feel like shaking my booty; I was wanted to get going! We were also greeted by Ellie Goulding who was supposed to be running too but she was ill. I don’t listen to her music but she seemed very nice and humble and gave us some encouraging words.
Finally we got going and I started off pretty fast. I think being in a group of fast women really pushed me to go at a fast pace because I could feel myself getting a bit tired quickly but somehow I managed to maintain my speed. As grateful as I was for a sunny day; the heat from the sun made it so much harder to run. Thank God for the dry-fit top they gave us but I really wanted to jump into the lake that we ran past. They had stops where they handed out orange slices and water and I grabbed a cup and threw the water all over me. I felt a bit like a marathon runner at that point with my dramatic cool down but I just needed something to make me feel better.
After one lap, at the halfway point, I was questioning whether I would actually finish this race. I don’t actually know what it was but I felt slightly tired and I didn’t think I was going to reach my goal time of 50 minutes. However, I spotted the 45 minute pacer just ahead of me and realised I was on track. This boosted my motivation and I was able to carry on. There was a point where the faster runners and the slowest group of runners met and ran on the same path and this got really crowded. Some of them were walking and chatting along and they were in our way so it was hard to overtake them. Sorry to anyone I pushed but I just wanted to get out of that crowd! I ended up running on the grass on the side of the path for a while because it was just too crowded.
Along the run they had great motivational posters which was really nice to see and they also had the names of crews. If you signed up to run with friends you got to create a crew name an run together and some of those crew names were featured on posters. That must have been a great boost of motivation for those crews.
At last, I saw the 9KM mark and I picked up my pace a bit. Although the finish line was in sight, it felt so far away! There was a 600m marker sign an a 200m one but I felt as though I would never make it. Finally, I reached the finish line! I was so relived that I could stop moving my legs and I leant on the railings for a while before walking down the path where they handed out bananas, water and the official goody bag.
The goody bag was pretty good, here’s what we got:
Later on that day you could go online and see your time. They gave us a chip to attach to our trainers and every KM you passed it logged your time so you could access a breakdown of your run and see how long it took you to run each KM. That was a great feature.
I was so surprised at my time! I surpassed my goal time by far and I was really happy. During the run I didn’t even feel like I was running faster than my usual speed but it looks like I was! For a first race it’s a great time so I was really proud, especially as I didn’t think I had practiced enough before hand. We were handed glasses of champagne and I posed for a few photos then left for home.
Overall, it was really good day. The event was well organised and the atmosphere was really good. Seeing such a huge number of women wearing the same top and excited to run was great and Nike did such a good job of encouraging everyone. They didn’t care about speed, they just wanted you to have fun and finish the race and that’s a great attitude to have. If you’re reading this and didn’t take part, sign up for next year’s one as soon as they release it. You won’t regret it and it’ll give you motivation to train hard.
Until next year!