So You Ran a Half Marathon
I’m Half Impressed
As a wee little child, my not-so-kindly sports teachers knew that I hated cross country. All the signs were there: I would dawdle, drag my feet, pretend anything to escape the horrors of lapping the same two fields a gazzillion times. And anything literally means anything. I think I once pretended that I had Parvovirus – a disease that ONLY DOGS GET and that I’d learnt about on Rolf Harris’ Animal Hospital.
Yet somehow, a decade or so later, I’m not-so-casually-running rather a lot further than the 1500m that once seemed so daunting.
In fact, I finished the Edinburgh Half Marathon last week and you know what – I kind of LOVED it. It was on my list of challenges that I want/need/should do as soon as possible and in January, I signed up, ready and armed with a cause that spurred me through training, through shin splints and eventually through the 13.1 miles that take you from Edinburgh to Musselburgh.
The day itself probably couldn’t have had a worse start for a first time experience.
It was grey as the cobble-stoned Royal Mile and bleaker than bleak. Then it started to rain. Not luke warm May rain though. No, no. It was hard, cold, sheeting RAIN (capitals needed to emphasise the sheer weight of it) that literally had me and my fellow runners shivering and shaking as we struggled to warm up before the race. Plus, this was in the ‘Pink’ section with my friend Katie, which indicated we were aiming quite high with our original guesstimation of how fast we’d complete the course, and behind us two men in rather dashing lime-and-orange t-shirts discussed how they wanted to beat their personal best of 1:45. At that point, I stopped eavesddropping and felt a rush of pre-start nerves.
What was I thinking signing up for this?! Why was I running with these Actually Know And Care Racers? Where are the Happy If I Finish Plodders that I could inevitably see myself being?
As it turned out, the Plodders were some way behind me in Gold and Black, but I only saw a few of them and it seems that it doesn’t much matter where you start. This was fortunate as I found myself running with a group of fellow Breast Cancer Care runners quite early on, lost them around mile five, fell into step with a girl called Emily running for Marine Conservation around at mile seven, hit my ‘wall’ at mile nine when my feet started to literally throb but was rescued by the lovely Blue-and-Pink Lady whose name I never learned, made it all the way to mile twelve, saw that Blue-and-Pink was struggling someway behind me so slowed down, helped her back into a run and then staggered through the finish line in a sudden burst of sunshine. All a rather respectable time I might add.
|Oh yeah, this is definitely the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.|
There were definitely highs and lows to the whole experience. Being asked why I chose Breast Cancer Care made my eyes sting, pushing through the last four miles (where you literally run down a bendy road then run back up the same bendy road), walking fifteen minutes to the car afterwards when all the adrenalin was gone – those were some tough moments. But that moment when the rain stopped as we ran along the Portobello seafront, or when Eye of the Tiger came onto my headphones, or being spurred back into the race by wonderful but complete strangers, or crossing the finish line, or calling my family to tell them it was finished – those moments were fantastic.
And after the initial ‘NEVER EVER AGAIN’ as I stumbled away from the finish line came a euphoric ‘OMG WHEN CAN I DO THE NEXT ONE’. So sure, I couldn’t walk the next day (and even had to blow off a date Shock/Horror), but I raised a whopping amount of money for a great charity. In fact, this blog wouldn’t be complete without a massive shout out:
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO DONATED.
YOU ARE HEROES.
YOUR SUPPORT PUSHED ME IN THOSE MOMENTS WHERE IT HURT AND MADE THE BEST BITS EVEN SWEETER.
THANK YOU THANK YOU
Anyway, so this is my little post about running and half-marathons and all the ups and downs of my experience in Edinburgh flat and rapid race. Still on my list are things like ‘run a full marathon’ and ‘survive a Tough Mudder’. And even though I think I’ll leave the Iron Man to people like my brother who drink protein/pay homage to their abs and I can probably live without swimming the Channel… Never Say Never!
Je serai poète et toi poésie,