I ran my first 5 kilometres on the Neon Run “the other day.” In review of the experience, here are 9 pointers worth sharing that I figured out along the way.
During the week of the race, I contemplated withdrawing from the team at least once every few hours. I had enough pride and sense not to do so and realized that the better part of the nerves lay in the thrill of seeing the challenge through. Let nerves fuel you.
In the days leading up to the race, cut
out down on the alcohol, tobacco and whatever other garbage you habitually ingest. Turn down for what, you might ask? Turn down for substance overload, that’s what!
Pack the necessary essentials
Not a lot of thought goes into Vaseline, a mobile phone and cash in a sling pack. But on a chilly evening, tissue will come in handy for the inevitable running-runny nose. If you have a good phone or camera, keep that with you too. Hairclips and gum are also a must-have (trust me).
In it to win it
As much of a fun run / walk / skate as the Neon Race was advertised to be, I refused to think of it as anything less than a competition. I took all of this rather seriously and this mind-set kept me determined to commit and continue throughout.
Expect the unexpected
In my head, the mission was to: keep breathing, don’t faint, and stay awake. Blessed to have conquered all three, I did not expect the unexpected scenarios which included swerving through couples strolling on romantically and having to slam momentum to keep from slamming into a pregnant lady.
Playlist I – subconsciously – compiled a playlist before the race commenced. Over the time, it served me well to control thoughts and even breathing. If you are lucky, the songs will present themselves at just the right moment to keep your rhythm going. I had a good sprint to Neyo’s ‘Sexy Love’ – coincidence.
At the finish line, I remember carrying on “I want a drink, who wants a drink.” My fundamentally stupid error was to take in no liquids the hour before the race, the hour of the race and the hour after the race. The idea of stopping at the water point felt like a waste of time for the weak but it is best that you take in liquid, even if just once.
Forget your fear
Our team of 5 broke up within 5 minutes into the run. At first, I panicked. But the panic soon turned into a peaceful space in which to pace oneself. I think I even tied my top back and let my tummy out. Let go of the inhibitions.
On the rise of road to the finish line, I felt a strain on the left groin side. This grew sharper and lasted for just over a day. I felt hip bones that I did not know existed with every move that I made for a good few more days. Warm up your body before you run; and warm it down thereafter.
As the crowd from the starting point slowly dispersed to allow enough running space, congestion along the route remained high. Instances in which you will be forced to stop and walk will be too many. 38 minutes was 8 minutes over the time that I had intended to finish within. I was left proud but somewhat frustrated.
So proud and frustrated that I would do this again. It was good to follow through on a first-time experience. Of special mention is that I had a bunch of winners for teammates which made for genuine fun. Here’s to a next night race!