This has taken me a long time to write as I had to get all my feelings in order about it. I ran the Manchester Half marathon on 14/10/18. I’m still injured nearly three weeks on! Bloody half marathons.
Entering the half marathon was easy! Click a button, fill in some information, pay a fee and bam! I was in. I was excited and nervous but believed with a bit of training, support and a few jelly babies; I could do this.
I started off so well, I had a plan that I could follow and this really helped in the first 2 weeks. Then it fell apart a bit, I couldn’t follow the plan exactly as I have different things on different days, my son is in different places and we just became really busy. I stuck to it as much as possible, moving runs about and fitting them in when I could and this seemed to work better. My distance training improved ever so slightly but where I live it’s a bit difficult to run long distances and feel safe so in the summer I ran really early on a weekend when the sun was awake and not much else was going on. I still walked a hell of a lot more than ran but didn’t know how to sort this out so just carried on. Now, looking back, I should have asked the running club I’m part of to help with that, but I’d just joined and in reality, I’m a bit shy and nervous! I plodded on and got to around 10 miles, I thought I would cope with this and I’m sure there are people out there who would cope – after all it’s just a parkrun after that isn’t it and they’re a piece of piss (she cackles manically trying to remember the last easy 5k she did) so once I’d hit 10 miles, I sort of just stopped training. Then life got in the way, I started studying again, started blogging, got a bit busier at work and running fell away as it’s the easiest thing for me to stop. I wish I hadn’t.
I was really nervous leading up to it, I had a wedding reception the night before in a different city so spent a few sleepless nights trying to plan going to that and making sure I was back in Manchester in time – it worked out in the end and I think my stepsister-in-law forgives me for dashing off really early!
So on the sunday, after dropping my son off with my absolutely fantastic brother-in-law who had no clue what he was in for with my hyperactive 2 year old and a traffic jam-packed journey into Manchester, we made it. The wait is nearly as worse as the bloody race; I was freezing, it was drizzling and the line for the loo never seemed to move.
After I’d aged about 5 years, it was time to head to the starting line, my sister and I had split up to meet up with our respective running clubs and tried to meet on the start line but it never happened. I’m kind of happy and sad about that. I’m not sure having her support would have helped me anymore as it was my knee that went before my mental state but she may have just dragged me round the last 2 miles, but the support I had from my running club was invaluable. It took forever to wind round to the actual start line and there were plenty of jokes and chatter between friends and strangers alike.
All of a sudden, I was passing the start line! this was it! I was running a half marathon. I just had to get to 10 miles, the rest was downhill (mostly) and I could walk a little if I needed to. By mile 1, I realised I’d forgotten my all-important knee support and my thigh was starting to get tight. I ran a bit faster with a longer stride to stretch it out a bit, I was with the ladies from the club so I thought as long as I was with someone, I’d be ok. By mile 5, I was wondering why I wasn’t in bed with a hot cup of tea and some toast. By mile 8, my knee was going, my thigh was really painful and I had no idea what day it was, I was freezing and could barely put one foot in front of the other.
Mile 10 – that blasted mile 10. My knee went, my thigh gave up and so I gave up. I walked. I walked for about a mile, tried running to catch up to people who had overtaken me and who I’d overtaken about 3 miles previously. I was running by myself at this point, the ladies from the club had spread out; I knew at least two were behind me and two were in front but I couldn’t catch them up and knew the others would catch me up soon enough. I ran a little around mile 11 (to be honest it’s a bit of a blur) and nearly cried with pain, I actually stopped in front of a paramedic and looked at him pleadingly; he just waved me on and said quite cheerfully ‘not far now, just keep going for a little bit more, you can do it.’ well that set me off running and crying a little. I needed that boost as up to then I had felt so alone. Funny that there were thousands of people running, hundreds of people lining the street to cheer us on and I have never felt more alone. I wanted my sister to spur me on, I wanted my mum for a hug and most of all I wanted to finish so I could say I had done it. I cried a little around mile 12. Some absolutely lovely men helped me for a while and walked/ran with me but I told them to run on when I realised they weren’t going to get their time trying to get me through it. So I carried on, I ran and walked as much as possible but eventually the pain got to me and I resigned myself to walking the last mile. And then, a man with a lorry tyre came up behind me. Well damn, I was not going to be beaten by him, even if he’s doing it for a good cause and he’s been training and I haven’t and he’s a lot bloody fitter than I am. No, I will not be beaten by a man pulling a lorry tyre behind him. Not today! I ran, I could see the end in sight so that spurred me on and I was very shocked when I crossed the line, ahead of tyre man and practically fell over some poor woman being sick. I nearly collapsed on the fabulous woman who handed me my medal, gave me a hug and patted me on the back to say well done. I was done, I was so cold, and tired and fed up of running I didn’t think I’d ever do it again. I could barely walk, could barely talk but I’d done it! I found my sister and we swapped stories. She was pacing someone and because she’s amazing; got them in under their time. I finished in 2:36 which is 6 minutes slower than I originally planned but sod it; I ran (well mostly) a half marathon! I declared to anyone who would listen that I would not be doing that in a hurry…….until midday the next day when entries opened for next years half and I seemed to have entered it before I even realised!
This time, I will train properly, I am going to ask the absolutely amazing runners I see once a week to help with my distance training. I will be prepared and I hope to trim off those 6 minutes. In another spur of the moment thing, I decided to run either a 10k or a half every month in 2019. No idea what has possessed me but I’m actually really excited. I’m hoping to rest my knee and thigh a bit over November and December, maybe get some physio and then get back into running with gusto in January 2019! Also guess which picture was taken before I set off and which one after!