I did it. I basically ran over my fears of losing and I did surrender to failure.
I have run a half marathon. I survived. I can talk about it. I had someone behind me all the way and if I hadn’t been overwhelmed the last 1,5 km I would have had almost 500 people behind me. But those last 1500 meters were a victory. The biggest achievement ever. Something I never thought I’d do. Something I never ever imagined doing.
But I did.
The entire day was weird, totally out of my comfort zone. I joined two experienced runners, that I met on the train and I asked if they’d ran this half marathon before. One of them had and he was happy to share the experience with someone as curious as I. Even though I have been running for more than a year now I don’t really feel like a runner or identify myself with a runner, but listening to this couple I realized I am more than I give myself credit for. They would never run more than 21km for example, neither of them ever felt they could run another 21km after finisheing a half marathon. I was nodding, but at the same time thinking, “but I do” followed by “maybe I won’t after today”. The rain was pissing down and I was a nervous wreck. No doubt. I drank water, went to the portable toilets. Drank water, went to the toilet. I could hardly eat anything. I think I had some soy milk and müslie for breakfast, some juice mixed with hemp protein and then water, water, more water. An hour before the race I ate a Rawbite. My experienced new friends had food with them that they ate 90 mins before. I envied them slightly. But not for thir food, for their calmness.
I handed in my baggage (just a hoodie I’d been wearing, now soaked in rain, dry pants and undies, my Cph Half t-shirt and wallet) and was given a rain poncho (like a bin bag). Dressed in this I found my place in the last group. The Grey group. The 3.00 group. One of my fears – coming in last – visualized it self as a reality now. Under the very grey banner stood 10 people. This is after passing about 23,500 people to get to my group. I could see how I’d end up last. I really seriously thought about going home.
We counted down to 0 and the gun shot went off – and nothing happened.
47 minutes later my group – now mixed up with the two groups ahead (2.25 and 2.30) – actually joins the race. Running out of the park we meet the first Kenyans coming in to finish the race. We’d followed their race thru the speakers and on a big screen, but to see them sent off all sorts of butterflies. I was running a half marathon.
As a consequence of the rain and the fact that a long time already passed not many people were lining the streets as I’d imagined. A few here and there waiting for their friends and family running but not much more than that. Confetti were spread over the streets, like there’d been a big party and we just missed it. But I kept smiling. After a few kilometers I found myself running next to a guy who couldn’t decide on walking or running and I’d like to think I inspired him to run cause he sure inspired me not to walk. Lots of people were walking already at 2 km. I lost my new friend at 11km where his family were standing and he started walking soon after that.
I didn’t think I’d make it until 7km. I remember looking at my watch, seeing I was running faster than usual but wasn’t tired and at 7km – one third – I really knew I would make it.
I’d brought my two bottles of sport water as well as two Clif Gels (lemon), but I never really felt I needed them. I drank water from the hydration stations. I wasn’t ever thirsty and I was careful not to become thirsty. Comin back into the park – where we met the Kenyans – I was overwhelmed. I could feel the tears, I was smiling like a mad woman and I wanted to both run as fast as possible and enjoy the feeling. I have never done anything like it. I have never seriously run like this. Not ever 60m in school. I could have continued running. No problem. If they’d asked me, I would have. But this was the end and I was handed a bottle of water that I drank in one go and then asked for a second. I was given a medal too and I remember thinking I need to hang it somewhere nice at home… Oh dear. I was given a banana. I ate the banana. I had no idea what to do next and it really took some time to ground myself enough to pick up my bag and find a “dressing room”. I made several “mental notes” on what I should have brought with me in my bag, but I can’t remember them now. One thing however must have been DRY clothes.
Will I do it again?
Bring it on. I am running a full marathon this year.
42 k for a 42 y!