Saturday, 13 October 2012

Only makes me stronger

So, on Sunday I did something miraculous, terrifying and truly out of character: I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon. And most astonishing of all, I actually enjoyed it. Immensely.  

All week I was in a state of utter terror and disbelief that it had come around so fast and, even though I'd been training like a maniac for the past few months, was sure I hadn't done enough. Being far from what you would call a natural runner (or so I thought) I was certain I would be at the back, probably walking most of the way, but it turns out I was wildly underestimating my own capabilities.
Having signed up to take part with someone I used to know (who later quit), I found myself solitary on the start line with nothing but an excellent playlist and 12,499 other runners for company. I have to say, I really enjoyed running alone as it allowed me to find my own pace and, quite literally, run with it.
 Clockwise from top left: Keep on running - The Royal wave - Mum can't quite believe it! - Terrified but hiding it well

Family and friends had come out to support me but the crowd in general were so fantastic that I felt like Mo Farrah as I ran round the route to the sound of applause and shouts of encouragement. 
I love to make my mum and dad proud but there's nothing I love more than surprising them. Particularly my dad, who I think had envisioned me strolling along at the back reading a magazine and eating a cream cake. The joy that I felt as they saw me for the first time as I ran around the corner at Westminster Bridge was second to none, and really spurred me on.
Clockwise from top left: Keep on running - Sightseeing on the way - Still smiling - London landmarks

Monday even saw me register my interest to take part again next year, looks like I've definitely been bitten by the running bug! If you'd like to sponsor me you still can here.
Before & After 

Here's my tips for anyone considering running a half marathon and what I learned along the way.
  • Don't be scared (well not too much) - The fear of being at the back was just what I needed to spur me on during my last few weeks of training but no matter what you may read in the lead up, taking part and raising money is what counts.
  • A great playlist can do wonders for moral - Whilst training I had mixed things up by sometimes listening to music and sometimes not but I knew that when the big day came around I'd need something uplifting to get me through the tough times. A mix of pop, hip hop and the odd show tune did it for me, alongside the cheers from the crowd of course.
  • Don't be disheartened - getting overtaken by someone dressed as a dinosaur was a bad point for me but as the day went on it really became clear that for most people this race wasn't about winning but about taking part and raising money for some fantastic charities, whether you're wearing fancy dress or not!
  • Invest in some fine footwear - the trainers that I wore to train in (and complete the half marathon itself) have definitely bitten the dust but they did a fantastic job getting me from start to finish. They were from Nike btw, and were worth every penny.
  • Everyone's running their own race - whether they're passionate about raising money for a certain charity, have overcome a personal issue or have simply set themselves a challenge, it's important to remember that it's the taking part that counts. It doesn't matter who comes first or last.
  • Understand how far a mile actually is - I had wildly underestimated the distance I would need to run (when you're in a car it seems so quick) which contributed to my sheer terror in the lead up to the event. I would recommend walking/running a mile before signing up, to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the task that lies ahead.
But most of all, enjoy yourself! Completing a half marathon is quite an achievement and truly something to be proud of. I can't wait for next year!


1 comment:

  1. WOW well done sweetie!! Thats a great achievement. I certainly think I would be the one at the back with the magazine and the cream cake! :)


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