The excitement leading up to the big day
Yesterday was the day I had been looking forward to since March when I decided to enter myself and hubby into his first half marathon. We didn’t have long to wait and had been training as a family for the big day (Half Marathon Training…with kids in tow! Training for a half marathon…with kids) since April.
Hot, hilly and mentally challenging!
For me it was to be my 3rd time and I knew it was going to be hard after a full on weekend of dance shows with Niamh. My energy was likely to be low and I was dreading I might regret entering.
Right up until the day before however I was really excited to be doing it. I wanted to share the experience with Chris and hoped that he would enjoy it too and more importantly not hate me for signing him up.
Not how I wanted it to be..
Sunday hit me hard. After a busy day being stuck in a hot stuffy changing room with lots of dancers needing multiple costume changes me and Niamh left there very emotional and tired. Niamh was really not feeling very well and spent the night poorly and with a headache. We did not have the nice early night of decent sleep like we hoped.
Monday morning came and Niamh opted to stay home with her nanny Wheeler which obviously made me sad.. but we still had a cheer squad to greet us at the end so off we went!
Feeling the nerves!
Feeling a little nervous by this point I actually wasn’t sure I could do this. My mental state was not how it had been previously. The sickness was a little overwhelming and making me shake… I was so nervous for Chris! (He has a type of inflammatory arthritis that probably should mean he shouldn’t do this kind of thing but what kind of a life is that) His training leading up to the race had not been as enjoyable for him because he was getting lots of pains and he was certain he would not do as well as he hoped. I had wanted to stay with him for the run but he was keen for me to run my own race at a speed I wanted and to not wait for him…
The race start was different to previous years which threw me a little..we could see the pacers in the distance but we knew they would be over that start line way before we got to it.
The race started and I had my usual battle with my sodding apple watch that started tracking a bloody bike ride and in my panic I somehow nearly called the emergency services. Chris gave up
his my old basic garmin as he could sense how annoyed I was that my watch had yet again messed the start of my race up…
The events leading up to a bad race!
I already needed to wee! WHY! I had been prior to starting. My conclusion since reflecting on this was my change to routine in the morning… I had a cup of tea and not my usual bowl of porridge as we were in a rush to leave and get Niamh to her nanny’s house. First lesson learnt! Do not change your routine before a race…unless of course it doesn’t work but still practice it during training.
The first 3 miles were spent with me debating the bushes or waiting for a toilet stop… The urgency for the toilet was easing off but when we both spotted the portaloo I decided to stop… I did not want a repeat of my previous time doing this race where I crossed the line so desperate for a wee I actually did wet myself a teenie tiny bit! I was not wearing trousers that would disguise any misfortunes this time… I had to stop!
Chris was feeling good even with the hills and we had a nice 9.30/mile pace! We decided he should continue and I would catch up… 4 minutes to make back by the time I had battled with the queue! What was I thinking!
A sensible person would have just continued at a pace that was comfortable… clearly I am not this sensible person. I spent the next 3 miles running under 9min/miles trying to catch him… followed by the next 3 miles slowing down thinking I could see him only to get to the said green top and discover it wasn’t him… then at mile 9 thinking I am actually not going to get through this and doing the walk of shame up hills… then finally at mile 10 we spotted each other as we did a cross over loop. Still too far ahead to make up the distance at this point but so relieved to see him as all sorts of thoughts had gone through my mind…
Had I passed him and not noticed!
Had he collapsed!
Had he stopped for a toilet break at the moment I had passed by!
Had he left me as punishment for entering him into this race!
Trying to end on a high!
Too little too late but at this moment I refocused on my own race but the damage had been done! I just could not get into the zone.
Screaming at myself I was mentally battling with the voices… the ones saying pull yourself together you have 5km to go you can easily do that in 30minutes… then the ones saying give up you can’t do this.
The heat and hills were challenging. My legs were so heavy. I plodded on running with short walks until the stadium was in sight. At this point I was just so desperate to see Chris I gave it my all and powered through the last few yards.
Running through the stadium is a pretty amazing feeling and for a brief second it does make you feel like your an athlete.
The second I saw Chris in sight I sprinted to the finish line as fast as I could muster and ran into his arms and sobbed like a baby (not quite as romantic as it sounds when you are dripping with sweat and stinky as hell…).
I was so relieved to see him in one piece and so proud he had actually got a bloody decent time for his first half marathon….2:06:04 and I came in at 2:09:59.
Other than that… now that I am home, cried and had a soak in the bath I did enjoy the race. The atmosphere and spectators never let us down. It wasn’t “my race” this time but it has spurred me on for the next ones!
Chris enjoyed his race and he had a much better race than me… he has been humble about his win and thinks I was the better person on the day but the reality is I should have spent less time searching for him and more time keeping at my usual able pace and I would have probably finished with him! He wants to do another one but I may check he still feels this way in a few days!
My medal was a big incentive for doing this race. By far the best I have!
Roll on MK half marathon 2018… it will be my year. Better prepared mentally and physically and having learnt from all my other experiences and half marathons!
Well the ballot opened today for the Virgin London marathon and with out a doubt I will not be trying to get a place haha! I want to enjoy other challenges for the year ahead and mentally I do not think I am ready for this challenge.
So Ultra challenges hurry up and release dates we are coming for you!