Sunday, 8 June 2014

Runstreak Day #190 - the day of the secret half marathon

Of all the crazy things to do, deciding to do a half marathon at the last moment has to be one of them.

But stressing for months and months about doing one is far more likely to induce long-term crazy, so maybe not thinking too much about it works.

Anyway, I hadn't told anyone about it.  At all.  Other than my running buddy who put the idea in my head... so strictly speaking, I didn't even tell her!  And not having any pressure worked a treat.  No-one to wish me good luck... and make me feel nervous.  No expectation of time... to make me feel nervous.  No pace I was aiming for... which would also have made me feel nervous.  Nothing other than just seeing if I could manage the distance.

So... how did it go?

Well, obviously I'm still here to tell the tale - wooooo hoooo!!!  But, it was more than that... it was hot (stupidly hot)... I was massively ill-prepared... I didn't have anything grown up with me like food, water, a phone... and yet, I still loved it.  I know!  Me!  Mrs 'I am never doing another race again' after the Derby 10k.  It was fab.  The route was lovely (apart from a boring bit along a main road in full sun - icky and dull), the pace was relaxed and as I ran I almost had to stop from pinching myself that I'd become one of *those* people.  You know, people who could run a half marathon.  I ran the whole way.  Didn't walk any of it.  There were no moments where I thought 'I hate this'.  None.

The first bit I ran with another running friend.  At about 5 miles, she needed to walk a bit, so said for me to carry on... so I did.  And running on my own was fine.  It felt like a leisurely Sunday run.  Along country lanes, past a river, under the cool shady archways of trees.  At a pace I could have kept up for longer.  And I wasn't puffing and panting for breath at any point.  Miles 5 to 8 passed quickly... people's clapping at the side of the road was lovely... I high-fived lots of little kids, holding out their hands for the passing runners... and enjoyed the rhythm of my running.  By mile 8, I'd worked out that I am properly rubbish at drinking water from a bottle as I run.  Most of it went up my nose, some on my top, a fair bit splashed on the floor and only a tiny bit where it was meant to go.  So I went with the weird sports drink thing with a sports cap that, by mile 10, I'd worked out how to slurp and run which kept me from keeling over.

As I came up to mile 10, I'd passed a couple of people who'd collapsed by the side of the road and were with first aiders - and others who'd stopped or who were by this point walking.  But I felt weirdly fresh.  I clapped the marshall at mile 10 (marshalls are either utterly disinterested or clapping enthusiastically - this one was the former), but mainly I was clapping for me because beyond 10 miles was the absolute furthest I'd ever run.  So I ran with a massive grin on my face through mile 10, to 11, another water stop where this time the bottles were cool and it was properly refreshing (even if I did just manage to slop it all down my top and over my chin)... and then the final full mile which just zinged by.  The pacer was not far behind me and I could hear his manic enthusiastic bellowing (but heaven forbid any of them should try to walk!) at the gaggle of followers around him.  A possessed circus clown in trainers.  Which made me run faster because the thought of getting caught up in his particular shade of motivational crazy was scarier than just getting motoring and escaping.

The final run up to the finish line was fantastic.  Someone yelled out to me 'you look too fresh, you should run it again'... and at that moment, I almost felt like I could.  I really REALLY enjoyed it.

I didn't aim for a time.  I aimed to finish.  They say you should start a half marathon slowly and then get slower... apparently, according to my splits, I did the opposite.  But then, I finished and felt like I could have kept on going - so for me, that level of comfortable is the real result I was after!!

Texted my husband on the way home to tell him I'd just run a half marathon when I'd said I was just going for a long run.  His reply?  'I was just ebaying your stuff... thought you'd f*cked off Forrest Gump style.'

And that's why I love him.  :o)

I now have a half marathon time to beat.  That's not bad going for a Sunday run, is it!

PS  I ate a sausage sarnie to celebrate... whilst having my shower.  Classy!

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:13.17 mi
Moving Time:2:07:26
Elapsed Time:2:07:26
Avg Pace:9:40 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:40 min/mi
Best Pace:8:21 min/mi

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