So it’s taken me a while to finally have the time to blog about my final race for 2017! It’s a race I have done annually now for the last 3 years. I have debated writing this at all because I don’t want those of you reading it thinking I am after sympathy or like I am the only one in the world having a hard time! I’m really not and my troubles are not half as bad as those around me… but this blog isn’t about who reads it or how many. Its for me to document my ups and downs and reflect on things in a way that I find helpful to me and only me.
After such an amazing summer celebrating 2 weddings and lots of fun family time, things have certainly taken a turn for the worse. I’m thankful for such an amazing family, but I hate watching them going through such tough times and feeling completely helpless to change anything. Sometimes all we can do is be there for each other… no matter the time.
And so it begins…
The St Neots half marathon is a race I always finish the year with and the one in my home town. I have a love hate relationship with it.
It’s predominately all along roads and therefore can be very quiet accept for the sound of others pounding the roads, but when you reach a point that spectators can safely watch in the villages we pass through the crowds are out to cheer you on. Its hilly compared to others I have done and considering I live somewhere very flat but has a lovely 3 mile down hill finish.
As all my training had come together for the Royal Parks Half marathon and I felt the fittest I ever have for a race I was really confident it would be the race I achieved my second sub 2hr half marathon with a PB.
Last year when I completed the race I finished with a time of 1:58. I achieved this with very little training. In fact when I look back at last years monthly mileage compared to this years I have ran over double the miles.
All was going so well with training until the week before when I was starting to really suffer emotionally. My mood was really low and I just was not feeling myself. I couldn’t even really tell you why. I was crying at the silliest of things and if I am honest really depressed with life. Running usually helps this and to some extent it still was but reflecting on the last year and on how much my life has changed its still something I am not always very good at coping with and it can be a very lonely place. Especially when I can not even say why!
The night before the half marathon was a sleepless night of worrying and camping out on my sisters sofa. I was totally over even trying to run the half marathon. I had lost the love for doing it. My sister came home in the early hours and sent me home under strict orders to run the half marathon for her and my amazingly brave brother in law.
The next morning I posted a heartfelt post to my running group because it felt like a safe place and I knew they would be the ones to help me get through it. Chris was running it also so I made the decision to stick with him and run it together. A PB was the least of my worries. Finishing it was all I wanted.
A happy ending…
Before the start I was given the best hugs and had a good cry with my running friends. It was exactly what I needed. We all went off to our starting places and off I went with Chris by my side.
I’d like to say I paced him but the reality is he paced me. He was annoyingly on top form and finding it far to enjoyable for someone who had only spent a month doing any real training. I’d like to take some credit for his nutrition and fuelling though as I am confident it played some part in his energy levels.
Mine were clearly lacking and he was quite literally dragging my arse round the 13 miles. It honestly felt like the longest race ever.
Every time he could see in my face I was about to break down he’d spur me on to push harder. The dreaded hill was as bad as I remember it being. To all of you out there saying it wasn’t as bad as you were expecting.. your nuts. It was hideous. My legs did not want to move.
I let Chris do all the race tactics that would get us to the finish line because I literally couldn’t think past the next mile. He wanted me to get my PB as much as he wanted it for himself. I do think he sacrificed an even better time but it was really nice having him with me. I know I wouldn’t have finished it with out him.
We had 3 miles to go when I started to think this PB wasn’t so unlikely. We had got this far in a good time. But every time I got the boost to go a little quicker, a car would come and we would have to start the whole motivational talks again. It takes a lot of effort for your legs to keep up with your brains thinking process when your running on zero energy.
We knew the pacers had started a minute ahead of us so the plan was to try and gradually catch up to them and then at mile 12 run ahead of them. I told Chris to leave me and push on. He had got me through the hardest bit. And secretly I knew if he went off ahead I would have the drive to chase him and finish not too far behind.
So at mile 12 his plan had worked we were with the pacers and off he went. He looked back and checked I was ok and if I was going to come with him, but I just couldn’t muster the energy to chase him down just yet. I held back a little bit longer and then I went for it. The clock was ticking and I had time to finish with a much wanted PB.
Chris crossed the line a couple of minutes ahead of me and waited for me to finish.
Like a true love story I ran straight into his arms and cried so hard. He whispered into my ear I’m so proud of you.
We both achieved a PB that day. But I definitely owe mine to him.