Sunday I ran my first half marathon. My first big run again after not training a lot. A first in doing something else again after my comfortable 10k runs.
How was my first time? How did I experience this run?
After picking up my number on Saturday I already got a bit more nervous. Sunday morning, race day, I decided to sleep in until 7.45. I normally wake up around 5.30, and sleeping 2h and 15min longer is definitely sleep in. Funny isn’t it? How the perception of sleeping in changes over the years.
I had my breakfast, as usual, oatmeal with a bit of honey and hot water, a cup of tea and as an extra for the race: energy drink. I don’t run well on coffee, but I am able to drink an energy drink. Just for the caffeine boost to wake me up. Packed my bag, some food, dry socks, dry shirt, some bars, and water. I had to hunt my closet for joggers, but I was able to find them.
Headed to the laundry rack to find my favorite underwear – Yes, I have favorite underwear when it comes to running, nothing is worse than your panties dropping while running. Found them and put them on. Almost ready for the run. Only shorts, bra, and a shirt still. Let’s not forget about the socks and shoes. I decided to go for short pants and a tank top. Not like it looked that sunny outside, there was a lot of fog, it looked cold and when I got outside to head to the race it was cold. I was happy I found my joggers to put on together with a sweater when we (My brother, Szymon and I) headed for the race. And maybe you are wondering now – Why were you wearing shorts and a tank top? Well, short story short, I trusted my brother and the weather app.
Once arrived we headed to the toilets, I peed still twice and then it was waiting until we could start our run. I subscribed for a netto time above 2h 10min so I was in the last group to start. Before, the race I was almost scared that I had been too optimistic, but then my brother explained it (I was looking from the top to the number) and told me I subscribed for a finishing time longer than 2h 10min. I felt a bit dumb at that moment, guess I have my moments.
The start signal got fired at 11 and we stood still or moved slowly to the start line in 20minutes. I crossed the start 20 minutes later than the signal, we were running with more than 10.000 people. Pacemakers around us and it felt good. Just before the start, I already had my nervous breakdown of wanting to cry out of nerves. Which means the hardest battle had been done.
My brother and I were running together, we took over the pacemakers of 6min/km and continues for a while.
Around 3 km I thought: O Noo, please don’t let this pain be the pain I had before… My knee started to hurt a bit, not that bad but I felt it. I continued, paid attention to my technique and it went okay. Around 8 km it started to hurt more. The pacemakers (6min/km) took us over and I remember that I got upset with my brother that was pointing at them and looking disappointed. In nice words – I shouted that It doesn’t matter to me.
Around 10km halfway, it really started to hurt badly. My pace got a lot slower, I held back, my brother still stayed relatively close. Around 12km I lost my brother. It was hurting him to run slower, it was hurting me to run faster (or to run at all). I took a break to stretch my knee at every water point. I continued “running” through the city center (7-8min/km) – I think crawling is a better verb at that point. And I decided that I will finish, and I will not walk. Just run, but slower.
I still had enough energy and willpower left. But every time when I tried to run faster I felt my knee starting to hurt more. I thought it is my first half marathon, Time doesn’t matter – finishing in one piece does. I do not have any other race to compare it with, but overall I felt great.
The last kilometer I saw another girl struggling against the pain and I told her she was doing great. I told her when we had the last kilometer to go: just a maximum of 10minutes of pain after that it is a victory. She agreed.
The last 100meter I tried to sprint – but I am guessing I was just running my normal speed. My brother waited at the finish and I was happy to see him.
The girl I met again at the finish and we congratulated each other.
My brother helped me to the first aid, to get my knee cooled and taped and after that, we met again with Szymon. Which I saw 200meter before crossing the finish line cheering for me.
I finished in 2h 24min. But the most important of all, I finished my first half marathon. I proved myself I could do this as long as I want to. I still feel very proud. And now, when writing this having my medaile next to me, it brings a smile and tears of joy in my face. Now one day after – I am still super hungry from the half marathon. My knee is feeling a bit better, but I will take it slow this week and my legs are feeling heavy. But overall not so much muscle aches, just a very proud feeling.
This was my first, but it will definitely not be my last.