Bling and post-mortem on my first race (10k)

Bling and post-mortem on my first race (10k)

My first race and here's my bling plus assorted booty from the goody bag. The bling is a bit of a let-down because I would have liked a medal. It's a pink plastic ribbon for cancer research with the profile of a face on it attached to it is something you can put on your keyring, a rectangle with a nail file embedded. The hot pink disc is for use with shopping trolleys. So they were trying to be practical I suppose but you know, medal... A medal has something a nail file does not. Apart from that: shower gel, foot cream, small deo, thermal pads as a painkiller (menstrual pain etc), thermo cup and cell phone pouch. And you guessed it: it was a Frauenlauf - Women's race.

We ran 10k starting Strasse des 17. Juni, named to commemorate a popular uprising in East Berlin 1953 which was put down by the soviet army with tanks amidst considerable bloodshed. We ran west towards the Victory Column (Siegessรคule built to commemorate some Prussian victory or other). It is a tall column with a golden Victoria standing on top and is located pretty much in the middle of the Tiergarten park which is Berlin's version of Central Park.

From there we ran south, and then through the Tiergarten park itself, passing a statue of an Amazon on horsepark, past the rose garden and out near the Brandenburg Gate near where the wall had been and then we ran back down the Str. des 17. Juni and did a second loop which was a bit different, stopping in front of the Soviet memorial which was erected to remember the 2,000 or so Russian soldiers who died in the battle for Berlin in 1945. Reading the inscriptions, the majority were only 21-23 years old which seems incredibly sad.

What I really liked were the drummers, there were 4 groups of drummers along the way and they were brilliant. I also liked the volunteers. They all seemed friendly and supportive and did a great job. In fact I feel inspired to volunteer for an upcoming race which would be a nice way to give something back to a town that has been good to us. The organisation as you'd expect from Germany really was very good.

This is my first ever race so I wasn't too sure what to expect. What I didn't like so much was being hemmed in so much as I ran. I couldn't often lengthen my stride and had to keep an eye out left and right, as people tend to zip in front of you then suddenly slow down or even stop which is a bit disconcerting and running alone seems preferable to me for those reasons. I felt held back by the crowd and couldn't run as fast as I would have liked to or would normally have done. Bit mystified as to how anyone manages a PB in these races.

On the whole it was an interesting experience. I didn't love it but I would do another race. It would have to be a challenge in some way though to feel worthwhile. Since we don't have park runs here, I was happy to know how I compare to other runners. I ran in the front third I think, time was 57:25 and I had something left in the tank but my face was on fire which was a bit embarrassing. I did feel as if I'd confirmed for myself that I am a real runner and can run with others so I felt great about that but I am conflicted about the actual running itself. I am not sure I really enjoyed and loved that part. My early morning run this morning, in the quiet and with space all around is more my thing to be honest.

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49 Replies

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  • Being hemmed in and not being able to run freely is the one thing that puts me off signing up for one of those big city events with fields of 10,000+. I, like you, would find that very frustrating.

    For your next race/event, see if you can find an event with a much smaller field where it is going to be much less crowded (and where you get proper bling, of course).

    Congrats. on your first race, even if it wasn't entirely to your liking - you will be able to look back on it with pride and will have learned more than you realise.

  • The organisation of the race and the atmosphere there was great so it is a bit daft to moan about the bling I know but hey seriously wtf? If I am here in Juli I might do the Night Race. That would be something different and if it gets as hot this summer as last, night might be the only feasible time to run. An 8k in July was recommended to me by other runners and my daughter is considering joining me on that one. It would be nice to have a run buddy and someone to chat to.

  • I agree. We have much smaller races which are always tight at the start but then open up for more natural running. Look for one of those. Also, a colleague of mine specifically picks races based on medal size and look (and we run a local race with HUGE handmade medals), so shop around!

    Congratulations on your first race!

  • Thanks. I'll have a gander and try running at the back if there's more room. It's trial and error a bit too till you get the hang of it I guess. Haha selecting your races on the basis of their bling! Now that IS an idea.

  • Yep. I've picked my races on the basis of what the bling looks like! Never underestimate the motivational power of a good piece of bling when you're puffing and sweating๐ŸŽ–

  • I have seen the error of my ways but it was all for a good cause - cancer research. Want REAL bling next time though!

  • A great cause.

  • I lost my wonderful mum to breast cancer far too early. I hope they can find an effective cure for it. So many people seem to be getting cancer.

  • I'm so sorry. It's a horrible disease. Everyone you talk to now seems to know someone who has suffered. My 83 year old mum had a cancerous lump removed from her breast last year but thankfully they got it in time and she's fine now. That's the huge plus of cancer research and people like you running for it! Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Great news about your mum. I know the medical staff are amazing and do what they can but sometimes it seems as if for all that cancer is still a mystery and no one really knows how to cure it.

  • Hi bop, what a great time, that's very speedy for a 10k , very quick, you know, be very proud of that. To be sub 60 minutes on your first one is a real achievement, you must be hitting 5k in less than 25 minutes, speedy legs!

    It does take a bit of getting used to, running in a crowd, but if you have another go, position yourself a bit nearer the front if you prefer to be quicker. Or, try going to the back where there will be plenty of space- but you may find yourself weaving through slower runners.

    Goody bags are interesting aren't they! Yep, I prefer the medal, keep your goodies, just give me some evidence I just did that ๐Ÿ˜„,!

    Well done you!


  • Thanks Madge. Your first race is testing the waters and I think it tells you a lot about who you are. With regards to the time, you need to keep in mind how totally flat the centre of Berlin is. It just doesn't compare to running up and down hills. It was very hot and humid though. I was grateful for the drinks. Being Germany they included beer (non alcoholic). Had to get to the finish for your beer though!

  • Real runner! Heck yes... and so speedy!

    You did amazingly, especially since you were not totally enjoying the closed in feeling. very well done...

    I am reading all this inspirational stuff and am very nearly brave enough to attempt a Park run!

    Go you! :)


    I am sure the nail file will come in for something :)

  • Do it before it gets too hot!!!!!


    Actually the next thing I'm planning to do is find a race I can volunteer at. If there's a park run near you, could you volunteer first, get the lay of the land, meet a few people?

  • I could.. and I think I am going to do it!

  • Oh go you floss! That's super cool. Let's make our run volunteer debuts :) Do you think we need white gowns and gloves?

  • Definitely!!!

  • brilliant idea to volunteer first! You'll get the feel of the run and see all of the runners from the club gazelles to the snails and everyone in between. You can always test run the track too before taking the plunge and running yourself! Will await your post parkrun post!

  • Go for it floss. You know you want to ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • I just ...might... Eek!

  • Haha don't cope out now floss. You know you'd be a fantastic volunteer. Honestly if I had a park run near me, I'd probably do it every week.

  • Run it that is.

  • I've been waiting to hear how you got on...and wow! What a time! You must be so pleased with that, you speed merchant! I understand what you say about feeling a bit hemmed in. I didn't find it too bad in my race the other week but like you, would feel a bit frustrated if I couldn't find my proper pace. I love to run on my own too - nothing beats it, but am hoping the odd race every now and then will just add another dimension to my running. Anyway, you did it - amazingly well and yep, definately sound like a proper runner to me! Enjoy the contents of your goody bag๐Ÿ™‚!

  • There were a couple of straight stretches with s p a c e and I really ran those, hence the burning face at the end. One man looked at me and said, here take 2 beers. Haha i think having a race up ahead reminds you to keep at it which is great. It would be so easy to let it slide otherwise. I do like the social aspect, spoke to a volunteer there and she recommended a couple of clubs which I am going to look into after summer when it's cooled down again. Running a race with my running club would appeal to me.

  • Lovely to read your 10k race post boptillyoudrop49 We were thinking of you and poppypug and the Manchester crew wondered how you were getting on in one of their posts.

    Well you took the bull by the horns and did a massive event race on your own and you smashed it with that FANTASTIC time, with all the crowds and slowing and stopping and all that - you have to do it to know it don't you....well you've got your PB for that race , well done!

    It's surprising for such a big event you didn't get a medal here's a well deserved cup for you๐Ÿ† ..๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ & did that lovely t- shirt (which probably didn't help your face look on fire)!!! come with the pack? 'cause that will be lovely wearing proudly again and again๐Ÿ˜Š.

    Anyways, glad you got out for a nice quiet run today - It's good to go over your race and how it fits with you ... Before you go looking and book another....

  • I think the hot pink tshirt was doing a great job reflecting onto my beetroot face. Gawd. Love the tshirt though. Washed and dried and ready to be reworn with pride. No way when I started c25k in Nov was there the remotest idea in my head that I could run 10k at any speed at all. I just really didn't want to come last with the tail sweepers pushing their bikes behind me. I am really heaps stronger than I was. You know what's weird? It feels like I run really slowly but in actual fact I suppose we run faster than we think we do!

  • Oi ! Oi ! Whats all this then ? 57.25 on your first 10k race ??? Wow, amazing , Well done you ! :-)

    Hmm yes that is a bit surprising that there was no bling . Although saying that the goody bag sounds really good . Ours was all food , it barely touched the sides with me , Ha ha . The only thing I didn't eat was a bag of rice. :-)

    Yes theres big events can be a bit overwhelming at first, I have seen aerial pics of the GMR yesterday and there are just thousands and thousands of people and I think, Im in there somewhere !

    Nice that you had some peace and quiet on your run today , maybe as others suggest try some local ones as they are not as packed . You should be really really proud of yourself though for getting stuck in . You did amazingly well , Many Congratulations to you on a fantastic effort :-) xxx

  • Thanks poppers :) Loved your post run post. Sounds like a brilliant day out. I think minewas great for a first race. Reading my post it sounds quite negative but I did really enjoy the feeling of being part of a communuty of runners, so inspired now to look for a running clad patient and mad enough to take me on! Funny about the bag, I was expecting snacks! Running club not clad.running clad patient sounds kind of interestingtoo though

  • Ha ha ! That did confuse me then for a bit , I thought " Is she a nurse ? Why does she want to take a patient out in running gear ? " Ha ha ! :-D xxx

  • Haha must learn to type properly! After I've done the London marathon maybe...

  • I thought that, is it a variant on a Pram race, taking a patient in a wherlchair!

  • That would shift the crowds, wouldn't it?

  • Certainly would! As you shouted "nee-naw Nee-naw" which was my children's sound effect for an ambulance

  • My goodness, that certainly was a quick one, congratulations! You must be delighted with that time, especially as you were hemmed in and couldn't run as quickly as you would have liked. Makes me wonder what time you could achieve in a smaller race! ๐Ÿ†

  • Thanks :) I went into really hoping I would complete the course, otherwise it would have been mortifying. I think what happened was when I did get a decent clear stretch, I ran it much faster than I normally would, just out of pure exhilaration at feeling liberated from the huddle, so though it felt slow, maybe these bursts were so much faster than I would usually run that it sort of balanced out. Anyhow I don't seem to be a natural born racer but I think I'll get the hang of it with time. Know more what to expect now andcmaybe next time I'll start right near the back instead if it is likely to be more spread out.on a normal run, it takes me somewhere between 60 and 80 min to run a 10k, seems to vary a lot from day to day.

  • Excellent, big congratulations. You've certainly left me in your wake with that time/distance and I don't care about your excuses of the course being flat. Even if it was all downhill I'm not on the same page. I'm still just happily plodding along with my 30 minute runs but I feel I need to start doing more to catch you up.

  • Thanks wheezy. I do feel I am a runner now I've trotted about with a start number on my back. It is seriously flat here. I always have to chortle reading other people's posts about running up hill after hill and how difficult it is to run downhill because I have no idea at all. I know it will be a real shock to the system when hilly terrain and I first meet over a pair of trainers. When it is really flat like here, it is still running for beginners and I know that but hey so what?! We've come a long way.

  • Forgot to mention that as we were lining up I saw a woman with "I beat cancer running" written on the back of her tshirt. I asked her about it and she told me she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and run right through her treatment. How she managed that I don't know, chemotherapy is incredibly tough but she beat the cancer and she looked really happy. Isn't that great?

  • Well done boptillyoudrop! What a speedy time you did! Those big events can be a bit confining I know, we were dodging a fair bit yesterday! Glad you had a good experience overall, you should feel very proud of yourself! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Thanks Ali, I was inspired by you and all the other great racers on here tomget out there and give it a go. It is definitely an experience worth making and I think once you feel your running has stabilised a bit, it is a good idea to participate in a race. It is really nice to feel part of the running world, even if you're just a beginner. There are a lot of people who look like they seriously know what they're doing but I didn't feel out of place. There was a real mixture of abilities there.

    Your race sounds amazing ali. Looks like you had a great time. Do you travel a lot to races now?

  • That's the furthest we've been, mostly local and south coast.... it was nice to go somewhere different! Would like to do one abroad someday ๐Ÿ˜†

  • brilliant time(regardless of flatness..) and well done!

  • Thanks hh! My family are quite proud of me for competing at all and that actually feels really nice :)

  • Fabulous BTYD! I was watching out for your post but have been travelling so missed it. That's a brilliant time, so well done to you ๐Ÿ‘

    I do know what you mean about running with lots of other people. I feel exactly the same but smaller races are better as the jostling only usually happens at the beginning. Shame about the bling but it sounds like a great goody bag.

    I bet you've already checked out other races though .........

  • Well I have, you know, I have :) I know my post sounds a bit moany about the crowded side to things but I thought if someone else is thinking about racing for the first time, they'd want to know honestly what it was like.

  • Not moany at all. I thought it was spot on ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I just wanted to thank you boptillyoudrop49 because I'm nowhere near a 10k race (yet?!) but it's very interesting to hear how it really is. I'm amazed at how many different races there are near to me that I had no idea about. Might have to sign up, later in the year!

  • I know finch, there's a whole world of running out there that we just weren't aware of before. I seem to see runners out everywhere now. It feels like there's been a sudden running boom but I think the reality is we just notice everything running related now because it has become our thing too. I think having a race to run to is great. When you're doing the programme it is so motivating to tick off the weeks mentally as you do them and see w9 approaching but after graduation you can flounder because that motivation to move on and complete something you've started is gone. Do you have a park run near you? If I did, I would definitely check it out. That would be a good way to keep yourself motivated and prevent backsliding which. Let's face it, come winter could be an issue. Keep smiling, keep running, plan for the long term, I think that's what'll make life long runners out of us all.

  • Thanks again- yes, I'm lucky enough to have a park run a few miles away, plus lots of other 5k/10k runs in local countryside (local reservoirs, forests). My plan is to graduate, then do regular 5k runs, then park runs, then see what happens...

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