Last year when I was on holidays in Estonia I ran a lot. At least every other day for 4 weeks and at one point 8 days in a row. I usually don’t run that often so I ended up with that annoying nerve pain on the back of my left leg that took a year to overcome (stems from a worn disk in my lower back) and some major damage to my face (read my ninja post).
This year I was there for 3 weeks and I ran once. It might seem a bit extreme to go from one end of the spectrum to the other but the thing was that it was 30°C every day and running in the mornings is not an option because the sun is up and blazing hot before 5am, and running in the evenings is not an option because the sun does not start to fade until after 10pm.
So I took it easy. I swam for at least 750m every day in the pool, I walked at least 5km a day, I did at least 10 chin ups every other day and only once thought that going for a run in that heat was a good idea – there was a 10km race in town and since I’ve never raced in Estonia, much less in my little home town, I HAD to take part.
The race started at the beach. It was a 2 loop course with some people doing one lap and some two. Two laps was 10.60km and there were just just 48 people doing that distance.
When I looked around at the start I got seriously nervous for the first time before a race – I really thought I was going to be last. Estonians seem to take their running very seriously. First of all, I was overdressed, most women wore way less than I did. Secondly, everyone was warming up big time. Thirdly, only 2 or 3 women out of the whole lot were my size or a tiny bit bigger, everyone else was tiny and looked like an Olympic sprinter. I know, I know, size doesn’t determine how fast you are but I have to admit that I felt intimidated and *ahem* fat.
And then the race started, we entered the pine forest and I loved it. I did not love the surface of tree roots we had to run on but I loved running in the woods and in my home territory. It was 2pm and hot and humid, I kept going at a good pace although I knew it was not going to be a PB. My main aim was to enjoy it and maybe not come last 😉 (I know there’s nothing wrong with being last but I’m a bit competitive so I hope you forgive me)
A km from the end I passed two guys and really sprinted to the finish. One of them high fived me when he crossed the finish line. That was very nice and very un-Estonian. My finish time was 53:14, that meant finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack. The first three women finished in 47 and 48 minutes.
Since Estonians take their racing seriously, there was a proper podium and a proper award ceremony for the winners as well. Maybe next year when it’s a bit cooler and I’ve done a bit more training I can stand on my very first podium? That would be sweet 🙂