This should, strictly speaking, be called “Dear Races” but it isn’t…
After last week’s moderately disastrous Reading Half Marathon (yes I know I completed it and that is a great achievement blah blah…it was still in many ways disastrous), I have been doing a lot of thinking about running.
About whether I want to run at all again, about whether I will do any races, about just what it is about running that makes me keep doing it when I am clearly not cut out for it.
Firstly I should say, that I don’t always hate running. I sometimes even quite like it. BUT I am not one of these people who needs to run to feel better, I don’t love it and it doesn’t love me. I should also say that whatever I feel about running, I have a massive amount of respect for people who can run, and who can complete marathons and half marathons without having a world class melt down like I did!
The problem I have is really related to running in organised races and events. WHen I run in these, I feel like the last 2 years of training have not happened!
I feel like the fat girl who struggles to keep up with everyone.
I basically feel like this:
there are several reasons for this…
1) I run very slowly!
2) the slow runners start at the back, so they can only get further back and their slowness is highlighted to the world.
3) I don’t look comfortable running, no matter how I am actually feeling, I look like I am struggling. This makes people encourage the “plucky fat girl who is trying her best” which makes me feel ashamed!
I know a good deal of this is in my head, but that is how running races makes me feel. I know I am better than I was. I know that. Running its self doesn’t make me feel like that.
Running on my own, comparing my time to my previous times doesn’t make me feel like that.
This is why I cry during events and why I don’t want to put myself through them any more!
Lifting on the other hand makes me feel like this:
and like this:
So from now on, I am going to mainly do things that make me feel awesome!
I think we should take a break…
We have had our good times, but recently not so much…and after Sunday I think I have reached my limit!
I may be willing to flirt with you in the future…but it will never be a serious thing!
I composed this in my head, many many times over on Sunday as I tried to find ways to get myself to the finish the dreaded half marathon without flagging down a passing cyclist and demanding a lift! Actually the one I composed had many more rude words and absolutes in it than this one, but I have calmed down now!
I didn’t do that by the way…I made it…all the way to the end…under my own power and everything 😀
And to prove it is true…I got one of these!!
It is a massive medal! And you know what it blooming well should be after 13.1 miles (21km) it was really very very hard!
I am showing you the medal first because I am proud of it! Woohoo medal!
I know I have started this story in an odd place but is was that kind of day, I am not sure my brain remembers it in a linear fashion. More akin to flashes like a montage in a movie.
Sadly, much as i tried to make it feel that way, there was nothing montage-y about the race its self!
I will start at the start, and tell you of the highlights and lowlights of the following 13.1 miles!
So as the morning of the race rolled around I say that I was (and had been for about 3 days) terrified and panicking! I had no idea how I was going to get through the race, I knew I hadn’t done enough training and I had no idea what sort of plan I was going to follow during the race…
I did at least know I should follow a plan…but generally I was massively over thinking the whole thing and getting myself in a tizzy…
Once I was talked down by various people I was no less terrified, but I was less tizzy-ish…and I cam up with a plan…I was going to run what I could run and walk what I couldn’t run…
That was it, that was the extent of my plan!
We set off bright and early (we had to park by 8:30 am!) and after nearly 2 hours wondering about the “race village” we found our way to our start zone…the pink zone!
This was the special zone at the back for anyone who was likely to take longer than 2hrs 20 mins…well of course I am!
Yeay the start of the race…
yeay…there is no possible way I can get out of this now!!
There really wasn’t…there were so many people, I was hemmed in!
SO, after standing around for 2 hours, shuffling forward occasionally for another 1/2 we were eventually off!
Off and running and not running and trying to convince my legs that they were going to be ok and they weren’t stiff form all the standing!
Yes, that was the first mile, an argument between me and my legs that where they complained and I told them they had no choice and that I would appreciate it if they eased off on the aching because they had a long way to go!
Miraculously I won this argument…
I managed to progress in run/walk intervals reasonably well until about mile 6… on balance there was more running than walking and there were even a couple of moment when I thought this isn’t so bad…
There were was a confusing moment when I forgot that my name was printed on my rave number and was really freaked out when people were cheering for me by name!! Then I remembered, and I got less freaked out…but only a little bit less…
they were shouting / saying such things as “come on Samantha”
which even though it was written on my race number is not really my name.
well it is…but it is not the name anyone calls me…ever! Literally noone in the world calls me Samantha, except my friend Rebecca and then only when she wants to make a point.
anyway…up to about mile 6 things were not going toooo badly, I was only mildly grumpy and I wasn’t angry with the people shouting encouragement, which s is a new thing for me!
miles 6- 8 were in Reading town centre, somewhere in the middle of mile 6 all of the stress, anticipation and worry about this race that had been building up for weeks hit me, I was practically on my own in a place I didn’t know and a road sweeping van started sweeping the road in front of me…
At this point I started to cry!
Big choaky sobby gasps which made it very hard to breathe…
but for some reason I carried on attempting to run…which didn’t help because then I couldn’t breathe and I briefly thought I was going to die…or possibly pass out.
I overtook the roadsweeper, I may have shouted at it but I can’t remember.
I had to walk after that because I needed to make myself calm down ans start breathing like a person again or things would go very bad!
The miles through the middle were made a little better by the people who had hung on to encourage the last people, and a lot worse by the fact that mile marker 7 was missing…meaning I thought that mile 7 was the longest mile in the world and that this race would ever end!
mind you was I ever pleased to see mile 8 on the next marker 😀 I cheered up a little when I discovered that the longest mile had been 2 miles and then I became in capable of subtracting 8 form 13 as I was convinced I only had 4 miles to go. I used my fingers and everything!
I managed to keep on with intervals until about mile 10…but the walks got longer and the runs shorter until after mile 10 I couldn’t run any more…so I set my legs to walk as fast as possible and got into a stride. By this point, I couldn’t stop or deviate from my stride lest I never move again! I think at this point I had completely run out of energy, breakfast was at 7am and everything I had was completely used up 😦
the last 2 – 3 miles were done on shear stubbornness! I had no option but to carry on until the end, no matter what I wanted to do! at mile 11 I made a friend, a woman called Lindsay who was struggling as much as I was and we powered on to the end together!
Right now I have no idea how I finished. My toes were numb, I was too hot my hands were swollen and my legs were threatening to divorce me!
The end was in the reading football stadium, and somehow I even managed to run from the stadium entry until the end…although there is a video of it on line and it is more a fast shuffle. It blooming well felt like running! I crossed the line 3hrs 23 mins after I started!!
Then I got a medal and cape!
Although apparently it was supposed to be a foil blanket!
I didn’t want a foil blanket so i tied it on like a cape…which made me look like I had no neck…not flattering! on top of my t-shirt over thermal running top combination…also not flattering…and too hot as it turns out!
I have to say, it was not the most successful race I could have done, but when I got to the end I was very proud! Proud of me and proud of Rachel who by virtue of having longer legs then me finished 15 mins earlier! Nearly everything I could have got wrong, I did get wrong…
but I have learned these things:
- You need to do more training than I did if you want to run a half marathon
- You need a plan to run one, winging it is not the best idea, unless you have don it before!
- Sunglasses hide the fact that you are crying so you can pretend everything is ok when people cheer!
- Don’t trust the weather forecast in the UK Wear several thin layers so you can take them off when you get hot not one thick one
- Caffeine will only get you so far…
- 3 hours of running needed more mid race food than I had.
- You need more than 5 hours sleep before you run that far (I may have even got less…I couldn’t sleep)
- Never Never run a half marathon…no mater who tells you it is a good idea!!!
There were some positives however…
The main ad biggest positive is:
I have done it! Despite my doubts and getting everything wrong I could get wrong…Have completed a half marathon and I am proud of it despite a part of me being disappointed with my time!
here is what strava thinks I was doing that day…
So, this morning, I saw this and it scared me!
This is not as many days as I would like there to be between me and 13.1 miles of “running”
(yes it does need quotes…it will at best be run/walk intervals!)
It was bad enough in February when these arrived through the post…
I received a race number, timing chip and a t shirt with a lion on it…apparently I am in the pink section..this probably means I get to start at the back…which is only fair as I suspect I will finish at the back too…
All joking aside, I am moderately terrified about this run, I know I haven’t trained as hard as I could have done and I am not a natural runner. However, I am going to face this with a positive attitude, I will do it, I will do whatever intervals that I can do and I will finish it in as good a time as I can!
Whatever happens I will consider it an achievement and more importantly I will have raised money to help save bears!!
I am running to raise money for Hauser Bears, who do some amazing work saving endangered bears around the world.
Go have a look at their website and find out what they can do…
and if you fancy sponsoring me I would be grateful (if not I probably won’t be offended 😉 ) go here:
No…not the imaginary friend I had when I was a child…that would be wierd!
Especially when you consider that my childhood imaginary friend was only about 10cm high so she should come everywhere with me!
She was definitely not the imaginary friend I am talking about…this would be a little odd…
actually pretty cool…
Anyway, I digress…
What actually happened on Saturday 19th February was much more exciting!!
You may remember that back in the early days of this blog, I made contact with a wonderful fellow 365er and fellow blogger named Nancy from
over time and many many comments it soon became apparent that we had a lot in common but she still remained someone I only knew via the interweb…and thus was possibly imaginary…
Until one fateful Saturday in February when I had it on good authority (hers) that my imaginary friend would be staying in a fancy pants hotel in that London! This I considered was worth braving public transport (more accurately…the public) for and I set off leaving my world of trees and greenery for the excitement of the big city!
Parking and train drama aside (I can’t go on a journey it seems without some sort of parking drama…) this was an awesome decision!!
Meeting up at (almost) 9:30 am the first thing that was needed was coffee…of course…what day of adventure could start without coffee!!!
Conveniently there was a starbucks…in sainsburys because where else would there be a starbucks…not that it mattered, we had coffee and chatted and it very quickly because obvious that we did get on just as well in real life as we did with the moderating influence of internet communication!
woohoo 😀 a real friend…I never expected one of those to pop up hen I started this blog! but I am so so pleased it is Nancy because it turns out she is awesome!
So after much chatting, some coffee and the decision that Nancy shouldn’t take her trousers off in a starbucks that is inside sainsburys, we made our way onto the public transport system to wend our way towards Greenwich.
As Greenwich was considerably further away from the centre of London than I realised (what? I am a Northerner who now lives in Sussex I don’t know!) we decided that walking there was silly and so we got on a boat…
Much more picturesque than a tube or the DLR
The boat took and hour but the driver’s friend (I assume he was another member of the crew…) told us about what we could see on each side of the boat…which we completely failed to look at because we were too busy chatting!!We even did the proper tourist thing and sat on the top of the boat so we could see what was going on…
for all of 10 mins…
It was really cold, and windy!
What? It was February! I was just glad it wasn’t raining!!
We retreated inside and spent the next hour chatting…
When we arrived at Greenwich (which was easy to spot because it was the end of the line and they told us to get off the boat!) we made our way in a straight line to the first public building and asked for directions to the observatory.
The first building we saw was the Old Royal Naval College entrance…and the person behind the desk was moderately confused by the request for directions so told us all about the painted hall instead…we will come to that later…
when we eventually got instructions on how to find the observatory, we were told it was a long Walk…we thought we would risk it… and set off in the general direction we were given…
it wasn’t long before we found a helpful sign…
with such helpful signage, how could we possibly get lost!
as it happens, it was fairly straight forward! We were so close that any direction would have done…apart from turning completely round…
We shortly found the park and the path up to the observatory and walked along it belittling the alleged hill that was supposed to be there…
It turns out this hill was cunningly hidden by some trees and loomed suddenly causing Nancy to go into “I am climbing a mountain” mode and me to go into “I am not getting left behind by someone I have only just met no matter how awesome she is” mode 😉
luckily, it was short, steep but short and we only had to stop to catch our breath for a minute before we made our way into the home of time!
Did you know the royal observatory at greenwhich was the home of time? well it is… that is where everyone else in the world has to come to get their allotment of time! It is all stored there…we saw it…all kept locked up in big clocks!
It is ok if you run out though, we can give you some more for a small charge…
This is exactly how it works…exactly…
Then there is the meridian…that point from which all time zones are measured…that point that separates east from west….
this being the UK…there was a queue…but it was ok, there was some good chatting to be done whilst we waited 😉
then this happened:
Which was lots of fun, we were both east and west and neither east or west…if only the man who took our picture (and cleverly queue jumped at the same time) could have got out feet in the picture 🙂 ) I enjoyed myself immensely…I haven’t done that since I was about 8!
Following a rather good portion of fish and chips with out mushy peas because I am not silly, although Nancy braved them :-S we took in the rest of Greenwich…
probably not all of it mind you, we saw the naval college and the painted hall (it is very very painted!) and the Thames path which contrary to my previous belief, is actually in the Thames not along it…
We made our way back to Nancy’s hotel, along the way, I made the startling discovery that the Tower of London was right next to Tower Bridge…
Shhhh! I told you, not a local!!
After a brief rest, and much much more chatting we headed out again to see more of the London! Nancy at this point saved my life as I never dress for the weather and she kindly gave me her lovely hand/wrist/ arm warmers which served to stop me freezing 😀 (I love them…I can wear them to work too as they don’t have fingers 🙂 )
We walked and tubed and walked and chatted and eventually decided to find some food…
A large amount of indecision later we settled on Persian. It was a spur of the moment decision, I decided it was a day for new things!
It was a good decision…and one that was to prove more startling than expected!
The food was very good…
The entertainment was unexpected…shortly after sitting down, a man came over and moved our table slightly and said, there will be a belly dancer…and boy was there a belly dancer!
Well I say belly dancer…she didn’t actually have a belly, which was teeny!! and wiggly very very wiggly…and animated…and to be honest if I was going to name the dance after any part of the body, it would be bottom dancing…not belly dancing…but still, it was an experience!
The meal and the (more) chatting sadly signaled the end of an awesome awesome day as it ws beginning to get late 😦
I am so pleased that Nancy managed to find time in her schedule to visit London! We managed to clock up over 25000 steps that day and hardly noticed it…what with all the chatting 😉
I love that I have a new friend for life, one that is no longer imaginary and definitely not a 55 year old sleezy man!
This is just a quick work out update 🙂 because letting you all think I had ceased to exist would not do at all!!
So this is what I have been up to for the past week…
Insanity Max 30 Friday fight round 2! yes…it was a fight but I made it through!!
Saturday was awesome…
really really awesome!!
It deserves a blog post all to its self, and it will get one as soon as I have more than 5 mins to dedicate to it!!
here is a sneak preview…
Sunday, I decided to have a rest day. a genuine actual rest day, we all need them sometimes especially if we have had a very hectic workout-heavy week and not much sleep!
Normal service was resumed…no more of that resting stuff!!
And then of course there was Insanity…there is always Insanity… 😀
Tuesday morning consisted of that which tuesday morning always consists of..Personal training 🙂 which was awesome and involved lots of circuits and jumping…it is beginning to seem like an extra insanity session only with weight, and boxing…
and then there was… yes you guessed it, insanity…max out power! It was hard to improve my max out time…plyo push up jacks are always a killer!!
Wednesday gets a smiley because it is dancing day! albeit dancing day that has an insanity workout shoehorned in between work and practice!
yes…because I am stupid!
Thursday was single workout day…it was struggle through workout day…but strangely it was also improve my max out time by 3 mins work out day!! It felt so hard but I was better!
Due to poor organisation, I missed out on my insanity workout 😦 however I did go to the gym and do lots of things as well as getting some practice in teaching Rachel new and exciting things!
At least I did once I remembered to actually teach rather than just expect her to know stuff…
This adventure meant a trip to bracknell… into a “The Gym Group” gym…it was pretty fancy for a gym that is only £15 a month for membership! It is 24hrs which is a very good idea and it has these airlock, space pod things to let you in or out..which is not such a good idea :-S
Well…i guess it is a good idea what with the added security and suchlike but they are tiny and what if they shut you in and don’t let you out!
No I am not overreacting! shhh!
So that was last week… pretty good week on the whole…I need to do more running though…