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December 09, 2014

The Finishing Line: My 10K Experience

Finishing a 10K race seemed a far-fetched idea a year ago, before she took up running. But finish it she did.

by Sinta Oktaviana

Do you have something that you’ve always wanted to do in life before you reach 40? I have a list of those, and one of them was running in a 10K race.
Don’t laugh ­– 10K because I wanted to know what it’s like, to feel the pain and the joy.
Running has become more popular in the last five years. Almost every Sunday, there is a race ­– check out www.marilari.com to find a weekly race schedule. I started running about a year ago, mostly because at my age exercising is no longer optional. It’s a must.
I signed up for a gym in 2003-2008 (I quit because I gained weight), but I still continue working out until now. However, running was not on my list until last year. I found it boring at first, especially when on the treadmill. It made me feel like a hamster on a plastic wheel in its cage. I tried to be creative to make running more enjoyable, updating my playlist, reading from iBook on my iPhone, even downloading Korean movies. Yes, there was a time when I downloaded a movie from DVD to my PC via Handbrake application, before transferring to iPad via iTunes. So much effort just to prevent from boredom. 
I never ran outdoor except when I went on holiday. But when I did those morning runs, I got to enjoy the scenery. There is actually a park in front of my house, but as an introvert, I am too shy to go out and meet my neighbors. So I hit my “wheels” twice to three times a week. On other days, I did anything that made me move, such as Zumba, HIIT, Pilates, TRX, Yoga, and the never-ending videos of training from YouTube. I still have a lot to learn and improve in running. Short breath, impatience, weak motivation, you name it. But, curious, I kept at it.
A couple of months ago, I did a 2.5K race at the satellite city BSD and loved it. I went there with my friend, who was an amateur like me. It was the shortest length of the race, and we didn’t event put the count-time chip on that we had to glued on our running bib, because we knew nothing about it and was too shy to ask.

After the event, my next goal was 5K. Still practicing on my treadmill. I installed the How to Run 5K apps to train me to attain my goal. It was really helpful in improving my running.  Still, I didn’t have the guts to register in a 5K.
But my brother, keen on winning some point reward from a sponsoring company, registered me on a 10K race. 10 K! And yes, I was ALONE. My brother wasn’t even going to participate in it, neither is my running buddy, who happened to be out of town. And I have no running community.  
With only one-week preparation, I had no plans to run the whole length of the race. I keyed in “1st time 10K running preparation” on the Internet to prep me up. I thought even if I wasn’t physically prepared for it, I should at least be informed. My non-believing husband thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it at all
On D-day I woke up at 4.15 a.m. After taking a shower I wore the jersey clothes that I prepared the night before. I pinned the race bib that contained my number and my name, with the running chip already taped. I had a toast and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Then off to Parkir Timur Senayan, I went. 
I arrived 20 minutes early to the race that started at 6 a.m. and joined the group while waiting for the start time. And then the national anthem Indonesia Raya was played to build up our spirit. And then, GO!!
The 10K route started from Parkir Timur-Sudirman, turning around at the Semanggi interchange, then continued southward before heading back to the starting point.
The first 20 minutes I was running fully, but after that I alternated between brisk walking and running. There were a couple of water stations with plastic cups of water to avoid dehydration. My Google search has informed not to take water from the first table because it will be swarmed by a lot of runners.  Instead it suggested to look for the last table in the station, which has fewer people. It’s the same logic as filling out the guestbook in the Wedding Reception. Many guests stop and fill out on the first guest books they see, creating long queue behind, when there are more books ahead.
Google also told me these: “Don’t gulp all the water or you will choke”, “Do smile and thank the people who give you water”. What is not to love about the search engine?

My finished time was around an hour and 30 minutes. Still below the average of 40-50 minutes finishing time. Nobody was waiting for me at the finish line, but I felt satisfied. I just competed a 10K! I could’ve just walked out during the race, nobody would’ve noticed. I didn’t even wear the same jersey as others, so I could’ve quit anytime. But I persisted until the last stop. 

Passing the 10K finishing line is a big experience for me. It was completely for myself. I didn’t even bother to get my 10K medal finisher. I just wanted to finish what I had started. Most importantly, it made me happy.
SInta Oktaviana is mom of two boys and a part-time architect, who tries to find a spare time for writing. She loves books, magazines and the Internet.