My half marathon

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wow! What an incredible day I've had.

Last night I got things ready for the half marathon today: water, my inhaler, my go gels (isotonic energy), my garmen, some spare clothes to change into, toilet paper, a book to read, my waterproof jacket, spare shoes.

I woke up at 7.30am and ate half a banana and some gluten free porridge. I didn't feel too hungry but I knew my body was going to need all the fuel it could get today.

I left the house at 8.30 and had an hour journey to the race.

I went on my own there. Hubby said he would come but I didn't think it would be fair for him to sit about in a car for two hours waiting for me to get back. So I said he should just enjoy his day doing whatever he wanted to do.

I knew two other people from my running club were going too so I'd keep a look out for them. It was a dreary day, rain was coming down and I could imagine having wet feet within minutes.

The race was set in the forest and I couldn't wait to run the course. The trees and landscape were awesome. Breathtaking. There were no toilets so it was a case of hiding amidst the trees. Lol! I collected my number and pins and headed back to the car.

I hadn't though too much about how I would tackle the race but I was aiming for a decent start knowing I always slow down half way round. I really wanted to beat my time of 2 hours and 8 minutes if that was the last thing I did.

Since it was raining and very cold there were not many people outside of their cars so I hadn't spotted anyone I knew, until the start of the race when I saw two people from my running club and then we all met up and started the race together. They are both super fast but one is recovering from a broken ankle and the other hadn't had much practice at long distant running just lately. They were the only two from my running club so we bonded very quickly.

I managed to stay with them for the first 2.5 miles but they gradually started to widen the gap until they were about 80 yards ahead of me. I gave up hope of ever catching them up. However, I put my head down as I watched where I placed my feet and when I looked up I discovered I had caught them up. And from that point we stayed together for the remainder of the race. It was brilliant. Our average pace was 8.30-8.45 minutes per mile.

I felt very strong and quickly developed a comfortable pattern of breathing and running. I'm still a noisy breather but I'll work on that over time.

At mile eight the only discomfort I felt were the two blisters forming on both of my inner feet. However, I ploughed through the pain wondering why my running socks had not helped this issue and thinking my plasters must have moved because of the rain. Despite this I didn't slow down at all.

On our run we passed many people and a few overtook us. We totally felt relaxed and enjoyed the experience. I'm not a competitive person against others but only myself. In my mind I was constantly saying I wanted to get at least 2 hours 2 minutes... This was my aim. A dream would to be able to get less than 2 hours on the clock.

The dream moment came after running into the finishing line when I saw 1 hour and 54 minutes on the clock. No way! I screamed inside. My friend grabbed my hand and we ran across the finishing line together. It was an awesome moment and one that I will never forget. It was a huge team effort and we helped each other along.

Dreams do come true ... I'm a true believer.

My longest time for a half marathon is 2 hours and 16 minutes, that's 22 minutes slower than my time today. I have come a long way and I'll continue my journey to discover my inner athlete inside of me.

Remember: If I can do it, so can you. x

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