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.

So this race started out a little bit different because we decided to go out on Friday night for ADE – where I stupidly slipped on a wet floor and hit my head so hard I ended up with a minor concussion…

Despite this minor set-back I was still determined to make that sub-2 hour half marathon time mine! So we set off in high spirits, thinking that this race couldn’t be much worse than Copenhagen.

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I’m not gonna lie, it was bloody hard! Some parts of the race were really narrow and that really messed up my pacing. But I tried my best to do negative slits to even out the slow parts.

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The race finished in the olympic stadium and I just remember pushing ever single fibre in body, shouting at myself from the inside not to give up because I could do it if I really wanted to.

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AND I DID!!! 1 hour and 57 minutes!!! Broke down and cried when I finished because it has taken me 4 years to achieve this. However, AT LAST I was able to prove to myself that I could do it and that really is the best feeling ever!

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Next up… London Marathon!

So this race started like any other race – with the mandatory kit lay down.

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As per usual by this point, Copenhagen greeted me and Cata with heavy rain. Not to mention the fact that everything went wrong for Cata, from choosing the wrong underwear to forgetting her headphones.

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But we weren’t gonna let all that be against us and we set out to make the best that we could out of the race.

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Cata was struggling a bit but I felt around the 10K mark that I might have it in me to do a sub-2 despite not having properly trained for it. So I set off with the best intentions to at least try to get a PB if nothing else.

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And it worked! Despite everything being against us we both ran our best half marathon times to date and I got a PB of 2h 02m! We were totally overjoyed!

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We decided to treat ourselves to some post-race beers on the train and man, I dont think a beer has ever tasted that good!

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