One morning in January I woke up and decided to run a half marathon.
Not that second, goodness no, but I’d signed up for Britain’s Ocean City Half Marathon (or in less of a mouthful, Plymouth Half).
You know when you’ve had something on your bucket list that feels entirely unattainable. Well this was one of mine. I’ve watched friends complete them (I even cried just from the amazing atmosphere watching the runners come in two years ago). However, the idea seemed ludicrous to me.
I’m healthy, and actually pretty fit for someone with a little more junk in their trunk than is ideal.
I play badminton, and do 2 HIIT classes a week, usually combined with something outdoorsy at the weekend and occasional cycling, squash, swimming or other such fun. Running, however, has not ever been my bag.
I actually find it pretty dull.
The incessant plodding on tarmac just seemed far too repetitive and boring, without much gain.
However, when I ran my marathon in May last year, a part of me enjoyed the challenge of running that little bit further each time. It wasn’t exactly fun, but I also didn’t hate it.
Therefore, when I’d woken up and blearily scrolled through my social feeds, noticing that entries had opened, I just threw caution to the wind and thought, if not now, when?
Nearly 4 months later, I have run, and run and run. Seriously, when I started I could barely do a mile without a little break, and I’ve trained far more diligently than I would have expected.
The day is nearly upon me, and truthfully, I’m terrified.
I’ve never run a proper race before. Heck, I’ve barely run beside a single person before, let alone thousands. I don’t have a half marathon “game plan”, I haven’t bought some fancy energy gels, nor have I got a specific time in mind to cross the finish line – it’s quite a hilly course and in all honesty, it truly depends on how I feel on the day!
The thoughts that run through my head during a run are far from professional, usually something along the lines of:
- Before starting – “Right, psyched, let’s DO this”
- Just before starting – “bugger, did I download the latest episode of My Dad wrote a Porno to listen to?”
- Starting – “I forgot to start my fitness app, better do it now before I miss too much”
- Half a mile in – “geeez I’m actually really tired today, why did I stay up so late, why am I bothering to run”
- 1 Mile in – “I can do this, not too far to go, it’ll get better surely?!”
- 2.5 miles in – “I should probably stretch, this is the reason I can’t touch my toes, I should take this more seriously otherwise I’m never going to get more flexible”
- 4 miles in – “just look at that wobbly shadow, THIS is why you need to run more”
- 5 miles in – “HOW am I only this far through, 5 miles just seems so long”
- 6 miles in – “I should probably pick up the pace a bit, I’m sure most toddlers run faster than this”
- 7 miles in – **Breathing too heavily to think**
- 8 miles in – “Blimey my thighs are aching, my shins are aching, I can feel blisters on my toes”
- 10 miles in – “So. Nearly. There. Soon you can stop. This has gotta be worth it, right?!”
- 12 miles in – “Well, technically I haven’t yet ever done 12 miles, but I can almost guarantee I’ll be thinking – holy crap, my heart rate is HOW high?”
- 13.1 miles in – “HOORAY (Hopefully) – That was the best feeling ever, but…NEVER AGAIN!”
Right now, I’ve only ever done 11 miles in total, so it’s still quite a stretch to push that all the way to 13.1. I can only imagine the last two thoughts as they might be on Sunday for the Half Marathon, but I hope and pray that will be the case, as no matter what time I manage to drag this jiggling bum around that route, all I hope to do is finish!
There’s still time to sponsor me here if you feel so inclined, and I’d really appreciate your support!
UPDATE – 24/04/2017 – I BLOODY DID IT!
I can’t quite believe it, but wow, I actually managed to run 13.1 miles, surrounded by 2500 other runners, and I didn’t even come close to last! and a time of 2:26:32 I am just overjoyed! Between mile 8 and 9 I struggled, until I suddenly saw Adam and Ned with fresh water and jelly babies, and then the last 2 miles were seriously tough, but a big bald friendly chap called Matt really pulled me through up that last steep hill and I even managed a sprint finish over the last 200m or so! NEVER again, but boy am I proud of myself for somehow mentally pulling through it, and I’ve got the aching legs, blistered heels and bruised toenails to prove it!