After the Big Half I took the silly decision of signing myself up for another half marathon the weekend before my best friends wedding.
I thought this would motivate me to keep training and stay fit ahead of the wedding but it didn’t quite turn out that way…
Due to the lack of hard training all hopes of maybe achieving a PB were out the window and I just secretly prayed that I’d be able to complete the race without any major difficulties.
Despite smiling on all the pictures I was in incredible pain. For the first time in my ‘running life’ I managed to develop a HUGE blister in the middle of my sole of my left foot after around 10km.
In the beginning I could cope with the pain but after around mile 11 I felt like crying every time I put my foot down.
I could feel the water inside the blister being pushed around every time I stepped down and I was forced to stop quite a few times after mile 9 to adjust my socks and my show laces to some how change the position of my foot slightly.
Despite this I made it to the finish (sprinting!) and managed to get my now quite standard time of 2h:15min which I was pretty pleased with considering the circumstances.
Last weekend we set out to run our first race since the Paris Marathon in April in Richmond Park. I had high hopes when I initially signed us up to this half marathon, envisioning a late spring/summer filled with nice evening runs that would get lighter and lighter. But then summer struck London early and with it came a lot of health issues that I wasn’t expecting – mainly severe hay fever and weird colds that came as a result of it.
I’m not going to lie, before experiencing it myself, I thought hay fever was a myth. But after having suffered from it badly this summer, I apologise for my previous stupidity! It’s been incredibly tough to simply LIVE with bad hay fever, let alone train for a race that in essence requires you to be outside a lot (yes yes – I know there are indoor treadmills but I fucking HATE them! – so no, they are not and never will be an option for me.)
So simply put, I didn’t train for this race and having been ill the week prior to race day, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t make it past the 5K mark. Any normal person would have skipped running the race, but I had convinced a work colleague to run it as well, and me being me, I was way too proud to let him run the race without me.
If I’ve learnt anything these past years from running, it really is that consistency is key and that you have to listen to your body. I obviously had consistently avoided running/training for this race which isn’t to be advised (!), but equally, I listened to my body when it was telling me that it couldn’t cope with any outdoor activities. So my only game plan was to find a consistent pace that I felt that I could keep throughout the ups and downs of the race course (there’s a lot of hills in South London!) and not worry so much about time, just focus on finishing. And it worked!
We did 4 laps around an area of Richmond Park in total. I could easily have stopped after 3 laps since the 4th one was incredibly difficult, but I soldiered on hoping for the best. As you can see on the pic, my “gun time” was 2:15:57 and my real time was about a 50 seconds faster. Not bad by any means and I’m still in awe of what my body and my mind could accomplish despite the lack of proper preparation.
I’ll try to avoid another situation like this in the future where I’m so unprepared, but for now, I’m just grateful to have come this far in my fitness journey that I can bash out a 2:15 half marathon relatively pain free & smiling.