I’m posting this far later than intended, but I do really want to share my final weeks of the half-marathon journey with you! First of all, as you can see in my sidebar, we smashed the fundraising target. Thank you so much for all your support. It means the world to me and I’m so happy that I could make a small difference to Amnesty’s vital campaign work.
My final weeks of training were really tough. While I was getting both mileage and pace up relatively easily, I had a few bouts of illness, an essay deadline and a sleep-regressing baby to contend with, which meant I didn’t get out as often or for as long as I would have liked. This led to barely any running in the last two weeks before the race, which was far from ideal – I really could have used that time to solidify both my stamina and my confidence. It wasn’t to be, though, and in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay. The thing about race training is that it can really take over your life, and I’m glad that I managed to get my priorities rights. For my next race, my approach will be far more relaxed from the start. I’m not a pro runner, and while a PB is an amazing feeling, it isn’t essential for me. If training goes smoothly and I do really well, fantastic. If it doesn’t and I’m a bit slower than I’d like because my baby needed me or an assignment was due, cool. The main point is that I’m running, I’m moving, I’m setting a good example and I’m happy.
Having come to that conclusion, let’s talk about the actual race day. We started with out traditional coffee at Starbucks, which is an integral part of racing and vital for success (not really. But it’s fun). There were so many people queueing for the toilets, so I decided to skip them, which was a terrible idea. After we conquered the sole hill on the course, I ended up having to queue for 15 minutes to have a wee, which somewhat affected my time. I managed to catch up, though, and was going and a good, solid pace until around mile 9. At that point, I started getting really tired, but managed to keep pushing without too much strain until about mile 11. That’s when it started to get really hard. I was more shuffling than running, incredibly thirsty despite the regular water breaks, and the uneven ground was getting hard to navigate on my tired feet. Around 11.5 miles, I passed a water station, where the stewards were doing there best to motivate everyone on their last stretch. Unfortunately, their tactic was to tell everyone that there was only one mile left. This was supposed to be supportive, I know, but it led to a lot of disappointment when I dragged myself past the 12-mile point around five minutes (or possibly ten billion years, can’t be too sure) later and realised that I STILL had over a mile to go.
Despite this, I made it across the finish line after 2 hours, 23 minutes and 55(?) seconds, so not too shabby, but definitely something I can improve on in the future, if I feel so inclined. I had a slight panic once I slowed to a walk after finishing, because I suddenly stopped being able to breathe, but I recovered quite quickly.
I’m so proud I managed to complete the race without a single walking break, and I’m looking forward to my next race!