I am still on a slight high from the last weekend in February, on completing one of my resolutions this year. Yes I am that woman who makes resolutions for the new year; lofty goals and grand ideas, I am full of them all. Firstly, apologies for the silence on here, I am still trying to work out this work-life balance thing and its not working for me… not lately anyhow. In the last three weeks I’ve hardly slept in my bed or seen my beloveds but here’s hoping for some smooth sailing. Either way, back to the topic at hand.
I RAN A HALF MARATHON!! OMG!! OMG!! OMFGG!!
For a long, long, long time I’ve wanted to be that runner, you know the one you see gliding down the road, long strides, perfect gait, effortless grace and all. I have an inexplicable envy of runners as described, and maybe one day I’ll be that, but for now, I’ll settle for the fact that I have completed my first ever half marathon! Last year I read Shonda Rhimes Book; the Year of Yes; a book that chronicles how she, a self describe introvert who turned down most everything that came her way in favour of working, gave herself permission to live her life as she said yes to everything for a year. Something about it stuck with me; the message was really simple; its about tapping into your sense of self and experiencing your life and everything outside of your comfort zone; Living. I work up in London and live out in the sticks, the commute, when Southern gets its shit together, is about 50 minutes door to door. But for much of last year, that rarely ever happened so it was easy to blame missing work outs on the train issues, or miss out on seeing friends and what not. Going into 2017, I needed a switch having settled into that comforting rhythm of all work and no life. I wanted to do something with myself, a lot of things actually, but I needed something physical, a challenge. I wanted to see how far I could push or be pushed before I snapped; be outside that comfort zone. Do I sound crazy? I was, going into this. When I signed up for the half marathon, I didn’t tell my friends because 95% of me knew I would eventually chicken out because I’d done it before, but it was far enough away for me not to bother about it. And then we entered the new year, my default was still negative, whenever someone would wish me luck I would die inside and hyper ventilate in the bathroom stalls. Dreading every kilometre I had to run, I was already counting myself out before I began. But then in mid-january, something happened; I’d planned a trip to my heart home, Florence, for my birthday which was right after the race, and I wanted to deserve it. To have earned it; this half marathon would be just the thing.
And so I made a decision to get my shit together and arse in gear with the whole running plan. Up until then, I’d only run up to 5k. I was pretty ok at it. But then you cannot run a half if you haven’t run at least 8 miles prior, or so I was told. So the weekend after may last 5k, I did a double and then some; 12k. It wasn’t all bad. The weekend after that, 15k with a couple of 10k races in between.
The hardest bit came the weekend before the half when I ran a 17k. It was hard, I hit two walls and at some point I had to sit down because of the heat; awful. The doubt doubled down and I was petrified beyond belief of my ability to run the race. In the home stretch, I ran two 5k’s and left it at that. Sleepless nights and nerves got the better of me every night leading up to the race. I had a chat with my best friend who runs marathons and what not, and she calmed me down some; one leg in front of the other, at a time. Don’t think of the distance ahead, but take it at your own pace; find your pace and stick with it. Take your peaks and troughs in your stride and hold it to the finish.
Race day. My nerves were amp’d to the nth, murky as the misty morning, I was so nervous I almost backed out, but thought the hell with it, worst case scenario I wouldn’t finish; I’d trained for it, had a great support system, and worked my body into some shape for it, so what the actual hell.
“Its the .1 that’ll kill you” my friend told me, and it damn well nearly did. 13.1 miles. I was slow as a snail, pacing myself and at some point I had to walk because I was convinced I was going to die. My friends, man my friends are the best, they’d all finished ahead of me, miles and minutes ahead, in some cases one hour ahead, but there they were, waiting and cheering me on, and one of my dearest came up and jogged alongside me, willing me to the finish line that seemed farther and farther away the quicker I ran. The vibe was incredible, I wasn’t a huge fan of Brighton until this race, the crowd showed up, strangers whom I was likely to walk past on the street, people who didn’t know most of us lined the street for hours cheering us on. The vibe carried me through the last few hundred yards and I legged it to the end, using my arms and going with wind, but mostly on adrenaline.
I crossed the finish line. Three hours and change. I think I cried a little, exhausted and overwhelmed. Slow as a snail, but I ran a bloody half marathon. The most incredible thing I’ve done with myself so far. And I couldn’t be happier.
What next? Who knows but for now, I ran a half marathon; I’ll take that until next time.