Firstly, I wanted to thank everyone whose offered up a word or two of encouragement. A huge thank you also to everyone who has donated some hard-earned cash to support the Alzheimer’s society, it really means a lot. You donated, I ran it, thank you!I thought I’d spend just a moment writing my thoughts down as I continue my journey to a full-length Marathon and review where I am.
As a reminder, I started running to do something to ensure I stopped getting too fat sitting behind a keyboard all day.Because….well…job.Whilst I’ve always been a ‘big lad’ the last few years working all over the UK and coming back from London, to look at myself in the mirror at Mia’s Christening was not something I like to remind myself of. I looked really bad. I really desperately wanted to do something and running seemed to fit the ticket. I wanted to make my family proud and feel good about myself.
Over the last twelve months I’ve turned myself into a pretty respectable ‘fun’ runner. I can run a 10k in 50 odd minutes, and a 16k Sunday run was nothing special, that and plenty of time in the Gym (over five days a week) means I felt I was ready to run 13 odd miles.
The Great East Run was my first ‘proper’ Half Marathon then. The weather was gorgeous as I arrived in Ipswitch around 8am and headed over to the race village. Everything was really well organised and as I started to contemplate what the fuck I’d signed up to, I sat there in Ipswitch Town FC (where the race village was located) and started taping up my feet, heels & nipples (top tip – do this, all the time, your body will thank you for it).After dropping my bag off, then realising my car was as close as the bag drop and doing several short walks backwards & forwards to my car to organise myself, I found myself on the start line limbering up.
My kit list for the day in terms of what I carried consisted of,
- A Camelbak with about 6l of water
- A couple of SIS sports gels
- A hand held runners-bottle of water
- My race vest, bib, rainproof jacket
- My trusty trainers (now is not the time to be experimenting)
I was tracking with my Apple Watch.
I felt prepared, the sun was shining, I was stretched out, this was only 4k or so more than a pretty normal run I do down by the marina back at home, so this should be a peace of cake right?
The gun went and we left the start line in waves. I was in green. Always being good at energy management & not getting caught up in the ‘going too fast too soon thing’ I watched with somewhat dismay as everyone spunked their load in the first three to six miles and I was able to very slowly make up probably 80-90 people / places before I stopped counting. I got into my rhythm very early, fell into my ‘plodder’ pace and all was good.
I was staggered at what a well organised event it was. Everyone was out in full force, having set up tents & drink stations in their gardens, everyone shouting encouraging words and shouting you on by name even though you had no idea who the fuck they were, and little kids all giving you a high five. Marvellous.
Then 8 miles hit me.
I badly wanted to stop at this point, I had to find something from somewhere to keep going. Was this what people call the wall? If so I felt like I was chewing on a brick because the temptation to walk at this point was almost too much. But I didn’t. I pushed on, really slowly.
To be so close to finishing and wanting to stop was not something I wanted to give any opportunity for, watching the quicker runners pass in the other direction spurred me on and I thought we’d be turning around soon and joining them on the way back.
I was fucking wrong.
The run seemed endless as we snaked our way through some beautiful Suffolk border countryside but somehow after my last SIS gel and a protein bar I got myself onto the final 4k.
I started feeling good and some of the signage from people made me laugh. From the two girls with the ‘if you stop we’ll pause your Garmin’ to the little boy’s ‘Runnings 100% mental – you are all mad’ I got myself onto the last home straight and headed back to Ipswitch FC.
Everyones shouts of encouragement and the sound of the PA, klaxons and general carnival atmosphere meant by the time I crossed the line I wasn’t feeling too bad, certainly not bad enough for a bit of a Selfie and a Facebook live. Obvs.
Overall it was one of the best things I’ve done. Pushing myself physically and mentally was ace, and staying at the lovely Pentahotel in Ipswitch for the evening meant I could relax, hit up some carbs and generally recover with a contrast shower & some rest in a fuck off bed.
So I’m on my laptop as you read this, feeling pumped, and have open in my Internet browser results from the search query ‘nearest half marathon near me’ – will I ever learn