This one time, I set off on my first 10km run at a public event with 200 other competitors. I had been training for a few months, running 5km at a time, two or three times a week in preparation, but no further. I figured I was pretty fit so running twice my training distance on the day wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
I paced myself carefully to run 5mins per kilometre. Sure enough, at the 5km mark I was right on schedule – 25mins. I was feeling really good, and confident of hitting my target of 50mins. I knew the area pretty well but I didn’t now exactly where the finish line was nor the exact path we were running that day.
The 45 min mark came and went, the finish line was no where in sight.
50 min mark. I was disappointed in myself, I had not finished yet, I had missed my target.
60 min mark. Really gutted! I should have done much more training! I was getting tired and calculated that my pace was slower than 6mins per km. Not good
80 min mark. WTF is going on? I suck! I’m still running! Could I have taken a wrong turn? No. I was running with others. I finally passed a pair of very old ladies. Oh, man, I must be slow if its taken me this long to catch up to them! I asked a few competitors who ran past me “Hey, did I take a wrong turn? This is the 10km race right, not the half marathon?” They would laugh and say “Keep going mate, you’re almost there”. I asked 3 people including one spectator. They all replied the same
And so I kept running until I was exhausted.
100mins into the race I started walking instead. And for another 20 mins I alternated between slow jog and walking. So tired. So very very tired.
Finally, I crossed the finish line: 2 hours and 2 minutes after the start. I was so disappointed in myself, so much slower than I thought I was.
I stayed for the prize giving incase I got a spot prize. I didn’t. A couple of hours later I got a map of the area out and tried to figure out what I had done wrong. I traced out the route I had taken and roughly measured it against the key. Then it dawned on me. I had just accidently ran a half marathon. The longest run of my life. And actually, my time wasn’t too bad…