Yesterday I ran my first half marathon. 13.1 miles. Not only that, but it was my first organised race. I feel very proud of having achieved that. When I started running, I never thought I would do events, because I didn't really see the point. I decided to mark my one year anniversary of running I would make a goal to run 10 miles. I did that. Then what next? OK, fine I'll sign up to a half marathon. I signed up in November and have been training, and working towards this over the last couple months. I've run long runs, I've run up a volcano, I've run on the beach, I've run many miles on my own and I've thought about many things. Today, to mark the occasion I want to share Three Good Things About Running My First Half Marathon.
I did it.
I did it. I ran 13.1 miles. It's a big fitness goal that I was working towards, and now I can check it off the list. I know I can follow a training plan (and I followed it to the note!) and I know I can prepare for a race now. I also know that there is nothing quite like the bath I had after running 13.1 miles. There is nothing quite like the roast dinner I ate. There is nothing quite like the feeling of crawling into bed knowing I didn't have to wake up at 5am the next day and start getting ready to run a half marathon again. Yet. I did it now, so I'm already thinking of what is next. I'm assuming that's quite normal and that's how people end up signing themselves up to races throughout the year. Like I mentioned before, I never thought I'd be the person who was doing events, but now I've done my first? I'm ready for the next one!
It's not as scary as I thought.
I run on my own a lot and really I don't do well in crowds. My heart rate rises, I get sweaty palms, I feel uncomfortable, it's really exhausting. I was mostly worried about how I would react running in a big group. Having taken part in my local Parkrun before this, I had at least a little bit of experience with starting off in a pack of runners and I'm grateful for that. I felt so nervous in the weeks leading up to the race, and I was a total bag of nerves the day before. Everyone kept telling me I was going to be fine but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't convince myself that they were right. Of course they were. For me, it was scary putting myself into the unknown. It was scary putting myself out there to do something like this. Sure, I knew I could run 12.3 miles when I went into it, as I'd done that in training, but I'd done that all on my own. What if I couldn't perform on the day? What if something got in my way? I spent the day before in full on relax mode. I got my stuff ready for the next day, all laid out, everything I had to take with me and everything I had to wear. I pinned my number on, and packed up my sweets. I had a plan of the foods I would eat and the rest of my day was reading and Netflix. Simple. I managed to get a good night of sleep (which surprised me) and I woke up feeling relatively calm. It wasn't until I turned up at the start line that the nerves really kicked in again. A few words of encouragement from a friend who knew how I'd trained, and another familiar face at the start line, my mum and dad wishing me well, and off I went. I saw familiar faces near the finish, waiting to cheer me on for that last mile, or the last few steps.
I will always remember how spoiled I was for weather on my first race.
Choosing to do a coastal half marathon in February, I had prepared myself for not having the best of weather. I made sure my training runs took place in the rain, the wind, and the freezing cold temperatures (apart from the runs I did on holiday of course). I was pleased as punch when I woke up to sunshine on race day. It was cold, and sure there were plenty of icy patches, but I made it round the course without slipping and falling. The sunshine was beating down and although it was hovering around the zero degree mark, it was a beautiful, still day. What better day for a run by the sea?
When I finished, I came home and had the loveliest bath and some snacks. I had a lazy afternoon recovering and an early bedtime. I won't lie, in the afternoon as I lazed on the sofa, I definitely was looking into other races. What will I do next I wonder?