I am currently sprawled out on my sofa after what was a tougher day than I was expecting.
I have run the Robin Hood half marathon two times before, the first was running and pacing a friend, the second was me running for me ... A few years have past and today saw me run it for a third time. The atmosphere and the number of runners was awesome to see. For my third half marathon I have put in a fair amount of prep with numerous long runs. However the last two weeks have been hard and my body has been telling me to slow down a little and well stop. I did listen for a bit and took a few days rest (predominantly sleeping for two days, just as well I work part time). This morning I woke up alert and ready to run.
The weather in Nottingham was phenomenal. At 8.30am it was already warm, not bad for the end of September. As I walked across Trent Bridge I found myself wishing I was on the water and paddling, it was way too inviting. Sadly I knew my torture of running past the river at mile 11 to 13 was going to hurt! :o(
The race mostly went to plan running consistent 8 min miles. At mile 6 my ribs began hurting and they got more uncomfy as the miles were eaten up. It seems the pulled muscles from my summer paddling escapades have arisen again. So I did what I do best and ignored it.
As the miles ticked away I found myself honing into the thumping of foot strikes around me. I stopped clock watching the miles for my pacing and just went with the beat of the road. There was little to no talking around me, from mile 4 to 9 other than the occasional beeping from peoples watches. the initial excitement had faded and the hard graft occurred in those miles. From the strange silence, I drew strength from those around me. They keep you pushing forwards, when your legs get heavy, when you feel like stopping, you take a glance around you and see they look how you feel. It is not really something I have experienced in a boat, other than perhaps in a crew boat. I am sure other runners experience that too. It is probably why so many people complete marathons and half marathons.... Or any other endurance events.
Even though I ran alone today. I was greeted with great support from many friends who live in Notts. They popped up all the time and it spurred me on to the finish. I was fairly wobbly at the finish (amusingly I even had the first aid people come over to me). I pushed myself as hard as I could. I did give it my all. I came in at 1hr 49. I wanted closer to the 1hr 45 time but that goal will have to wait. In 7 days time I expect to be sprawled out on my sofa having run another half marathon. Although for that one I will have company and fingers crossed I can help a friend finish their first half marathon.
I felt more than a little emotional crossing the line today as it meant a lot to finish what I set out to do. Something I felt I didn't do with my racing in a boat earlier in the year.
Now it is time for sleep as I have a busy week ahead with work and training courses ... Oh and my first School visit for this years school year!