I can’t walk.
Because I only went a ran a half marathon this morning! Yes, I actually managed to do 13 solid miles of running through the streets of Ealing, West London. It was my first half marathon ever and, amazingly, I didn’t die and I made it round in 2:27:06. My body is paying the price now; my knees are absolutely killing and I dread to think what they will be like tomorrow. I think I’ll avoid that thought for now and think about how great the race was instead.
This morning, I was terrified. I thought I was going to be late, have to carry my bag with me during the race, or fail miserably and not be able to complete the course. Amazingly, none of these things came to pass. I did have to power walk from the tube to the start point, following complete strangers who also looked like they were heading to a race, and I made it there with minutes to spare.
I joined the crowd of runners near the back as I knew that most people would beat me by a considerable margin. This wasn’t about the time – it was about just getting round the course. There were lots of pace makers and I stuck to the two people running 2:25:00 right up until mile nine. They would go quickly up the hills, but I would catch them up again on the flat. My energy gave out near the end, though, and I was out on my own. A few well-timed Spice Girls tracks managed to pull me through.
The crowds really spurred me on. Constantly clapping and cheering, they definitely raised my spirits time and time again. Loads had made signs and others were offering sweets for a quick sugar burst. Everyone had their name printed on their running number so I was constantly hearing my name shouted back at me from the crowd, with people wishing me on and telling me that I was doing great. Every single time it gave me a tiny bit more energy. There were even steel bands, cheering squads and DJ sets on route to keep everyone going.
The first 5km was like a dream. I was going strong, keeping up with everyone and felt great. That started to wear off as my knees started hurting only about 5 miles in. I had KT tape all over my knees to try and stop this from happening, but the long journey to Ealing must have weakened it.
By mile 9, it was getting tough and by mile 10, every single step hurt. My hips were killing, my knees were practically numb because they hurt so much, and even my foot felt weird, which has never happened in my previous runs. I decided to walk for a little bit but my legs felt like jelly.
Shout-out to the marshal at the 12 mile marker point who saw that I was struggling and decided to run with me part of the final mile. The enthusiasm and support from everyone was incredible.
The best part of the whole day was when I got into the park at the end. This is where the baggage tent, stalls, and start and finish lines are. The crowds here were huge as all the spectators tried to spot their friends and family. Even though I could barely run half a mile ago, I was powering around the course. I actually nearly cried when the finish line came in sight. People were cheering and shouting my name and I am proud to say that I managed to pull a strong finish out of the bag. Getting my medal was the best feeling ever as I had really doubted if I would be able to make it round.
I did it!
Then I treated myself to a Five Guys burger. I definitely more than deserved it! Overall, the race was incredibly tough, but that is what made the finish seem so sweet.
Would I do it again? Hell no.
Did I enjoy it? Hell yes.
Will I severely regret this when my legs seize up tomorrow? 100%.
If you have a pound or two to spare and think that I’ve gone through enough pain to earn your heard earned cash, please consider donating to my fundraising page. I’m raising money for the Eve Appeal and War Child.
Have you ever run a distance race? How did you find it? Or would you like to start training for one?