A few years ago I ran my first ever half marathon. I ran with a friend for a charity and I have to say it really was one of the toughest 2.5 hours of my life. Ok, ok, so maybe not as tough as childbirth, particularly boy number one, but even so it was a tough couple of hours. I remember sitting down on the tube platform after the race waiting for my train thinking I don’t think I’m going to be able to get up to get on the train. My stomach was hurting and I felt faint. It was then that I swore I would never run a half marathon again. I convinced myself that actually it wasn’t for me, I just wasn’t built for it.
So why yesterday did I find myself attempting to run a half marathon again! This time a few years older but clearly not wiser and on my own. Well not totally on my own as 1,999 other people were running too but I wasn’t running with a buddy.
Running a half marathon is tough, both mentally and physically. Training for it is also tough. Hauling my bottom off the sofa over the Christmas period was tricky…but I wanted to do this!
When I arrived at the start line yesterday morning it was bloody freezing – minus 4! The sun was shining and the atmosphere was building. I felt self conscious, standing at the start line on my own…no running belt, no gels, no buddies and I was clutching my phone. Fortunately, a lovely fellow runner, also clutching her phone, started chatting to me about the run and then I felt a bit more comfortable.
Within a few minutes we were off, my new running buddy and I spent the first 5 miles together chatting. The running community is an amazing bunch, everybody is so supportive and caring.
Once I left my running buddy, I was on my own..running around my home town as I have done many times before but this time was different, I was racing, I was proving to myself that I could do this! (again!)
I actually spent the rest of the run on my own, with the odd ‘keep going’ from fellow runners. I was also very lucky to have some supporters that braved the cold to cheer me on. Just knowing that I had friends dotted around the course kept me motivated to continue.
When I got to mile 11, I could have easily given up. I had only run up to mile 11 in training so mentally I thought that I wouldn’t be able to run any further. There was a small hill ahead, I was tired. I had pushed myself to go this far but wasn’t sure if I could continue for that extra mile or two! When you reach that point it’s tough, especially when you are running on your own.
But ,I did keep going, the thought of my boys at the finish line and a hot bubble bath were enough, I was determined to run the last two miles and make them proud!
They were there at the finish line, shouting ‘Mum’ and saying ‘don’t worry, you’re not last’.
I had done it, I had reached the finish line…I was faster than when I ran a half marathon three years ago and I felt better physically too. So last night I felt proud, I hope that my boys did too.
Oh and the bubble bath was the best bubble bath I have EVER had!