So as you know I have a half marathon event next month, the Brentwood half marathon, and I am somewhat nervous about it. It’s a long way. 13.1 miles to be precise. That is 69,168 feet, 23,056 yards, 21.08 kilometers. Or in simpler terms – it is far.
Everyone is different and I find for me most of my battle (apart from needing to lose another 2 stone) is mental. And so prior to the event I have put in a lot of training. I am ahead of my training plan for the half marathon but I wanted to complete the whole distance prior to the event. Mostly this was because I have been told by several people that this route is hilly. Or undulating I have heard a lot as well. People who run (or cycle) will know that undulating is just a tarted up way of saying there are hills you have to go up and down. I have done more than enough events now to be wise to the fact that when race directors apply the term undulating to a route that what they really mean is some of the hills may even feel like mountains but they can’t write that for fear that nobody will turn up so instead they pretend that it includes nice, gentle, rolling hills.
I do not like hills whether it be to run them or cycle them. I am not sure anyone really does. So my thinking was that in case I fall to pieces on the day it would be good if I could cover the distance beforehand so that if I do have a meltdown I can mentally slap myself and tell myself that I have done it before and so can do it again and to pull up my big girl pants and get on with it.
And so at the weekend I had two choices – the first was to cover the distance on Saturday with my husband and the second was to do the actual route with a local triathlon club who had said I could join them. For me it was about the distance and I had been advised by a few people against running the actual route just in case it was not a good run and would get me worrying prior to the event. I didn’t fancy doing this distance on my own though. My husband offered to run with me on Saturday, which I was extremely pleased with especially as he is recovering from illness. On Saturday off we set.
We started covering some roads we have done before and settled into a slow and steady pace taking it easy in order to cover the miles. We saw a friend, Lee, as we ran through Hornchurch and he gave us a beep from his car and a wave, which was appreciated! Then the route took a turn and I simply went in the direction my husband told me to. He had it all mapped out in his head so that when we reached home we would have done one big loop and not need to do loops to make the distance up and run the risk of me cutting off early. I took two gels with me and some jelly babies.
I did my usual of getting hot pretty quickly and started to panic when I tried to take my gloves off whilst running and couldn’t get them off quick enough but got them off in the end. I also did my usual of speeding up as we passed people on the route. I don’t even realise I do it but subconsciously I am aware of people possibly looking at me and up the pace. Luckily I had my husband to tell me to watch my pace when I did this as I am sure I would have had to break more often otherwise.
I had my first gel at about mile 7. I didn’t particularly feel that I needed it but had started to panic slightly as I had glimpsed at my watch and seen how far we had covered and worked out I had to do almost the same again. Gel down off we set. Trying to focus more on my breathing as it was all over the place. Focussed on taking deep breaths and not panting (like a dog as I have been told before).
At about mile 10 I had a couple of jelly babies and a very short walk. Slight miscommunication between myself and hubby as I had wiped my nose (always runs when I run) and had said I just need to swallow this before I start to run again and he told me that was disgusting. I was talking about the jelly babies and he thought I was talking about snot – ha ha!
We were closer to home now and just 5k left. Took a turn into the park and started to follow my usual route that I take with the dog. I was feeling it by this point and knew my pace was slowing so I took another gel. Don’t get me wrong I would be finishing this run regardless but I didn’t want to do so never wanting to do it again. Through the park we went and out on the home stretch after my cousins and their young son came out of their house as we passed to cheer us on, which at mile 12 was amazing. Just a few roads left and I would be able to say I have run a half marathon distance. Those last few roads were a tad windy in order to get the distance but as we looped round the block and entered our road my watch clicked to 13.1 miles. We reached our house at 13.2 miles.
I had done it. My husbands watch hadn’t connected for the start of our run so he carried on up the road and doubled back (anyone who runs will understand this logic). He got back as I was sat outside the house and said to me ‘Mrs Thake did you just run a half marathon?’ and I started to cry. I had! I had only bloody run a half marathon!! Me the fat girl trying to get fit!
When I originally signed up I had said I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours and as my training went on I decided that I would actually try for under 2 and a half hours. I actually finished in 2 hours and 20 minutes and 16 seconds! I am so pleased I had my husband with me for this! Love him!
I have since spent most of the weekend bringing up in conversation that I ran a half marathon. Did you know I ran a half marathon? On Saturday what did you do? What did I do oh I ran a half marathon! A HALF MARATHON!!!!!
I realise most people at the moment are training for the London marathon and I have only done half but for me this is epic and a massive achievement so just give me a few days to wallow in this achievement and wear my smug pants!
Now all I have to do is repeat this next month in Brentwood off my own steam.
I think I have covered how I felt about this but this also sums it up pretty well: