Monday, March 23, 2015

My 2nd Half Marathon!

Yesterday I completed my 2nd half marathon! And despite the fact that I am so incredibly stiff and sore, I am already planning for my next one. That's the thing about races, they are addictive. I mean I know I always feel great after my regular morning & weekend runs, but its hard to stay motivated without a race to work towards and the feeling you get crossing the finish line! 

I had been ridiculously relaxed about the race all week, which was fine until I woke up on Sunday and all my nerves caught up with me. I had nobody with me to bounce my nerves off and I could feel a knot growing in my stomach. I forced myself to eat a good breakfast of wholemeal bagel with peanut butter and banana, got my stuff together and got in the car and hit the road. The weather was gorgeous, not a single cloud in the sky and of course I started to worry about what I had bought to wear! All sorts of crazy thoughts went through my head on the drive and I also got to Wicklow far too early so sat in my car worry some more (and changing my top 3 times). 

Eventually it was close enough to the start time to head up to Wicklow Gaol and meet the guys from work who were running as well! It definitely helped to calm me down a bit having people to talk to and starting to warm up a bit! It was a small enough crowd, nearly 600 doing the half marathon and I think around the same again doing the 10k but there was a great atmosphere. Just before 10:30 we all headed down to the start point which was right on the sea and all I could think was 'Great, we are starting as close to sea level as possible which means the only way to go is up!'. The great thing about such a small crowd meant that nobody was ever in your way and you didn't feel in the way of everyone. Often the first kilometre is just clearing the crowd and getting your space to run! 

I really struggled for the first 5/7km. I was totally in my head and let the nerves get the better of me. I got a bit of a boost at the 3rd km marker as my lovely friend Clare was there to cheer me on and take a fab action shot of me. I knew the course was hilly but I haven't really done any training on hills (big mistake) so I wasn't prepared at all for it. I had to stop and walk at most of the hills for the first 7km or so and I just felt like it was never going to get any better. I started really pushing myself at that point and telling myself that it was all in my head and I could do it. It took about 3km for that thinking to actually make any difference but somewhere close to 10k I finally found my stride. I started just taking it 1km at a time and went back to really enjoying the run. The course was amazing, and the views were almost worth the hills. 

The kilometre's seemed to fly by and I was catching up with people I hadn't seen since the first km which is a nice little confidence boost. With each kilometre down I feel like I managed to up my pace a little bit and boost my confidence a little more. It did help that the course took a downward turn and then leveled out for a while. I had recovered enough that even when we started heading uphill I kept on running! I passed the 20km marker and it was fairly drastically downhill until the finish line so I went for it. I was still a little apprehensive so I held back a tiny bit and its the only thing I even slightly regret about the day. 
I usually hate pictures of me running but I LOVE this one! Crossing the finish line!

I had set out on the day not looking to get a particular time and knowing I wouldn't get a PB. I didn't even have my runkeeper going as I know I can panic a little bit if my pace is off and I didn't need the extra pressure. So really had no idea what time I had done it in. The first 10km felt like they took forever, but the second 11km flew in. So I was delighted when the clock read 2hrs 15 minutes when I came in (missed how many seconds as I was so excited to be done). My official time is 2hrs 15minutes and 49 seconds, only 30 seconds slower than Galway Bay. Considering I was training for pretty much 8 months for Galway Bay and only 1 month for this one, and Galway Bay was mostly flat but this had LOADS of hills, I am soooo proud of my time. I know now on my next half I can get a PB and am going to start working towards it straight way. 

So after I finished the race I had a few treats! I stopped on the way back and got boxes and boxes of pastrys but when I got to my parents I wasn't really hungry so only had half of one. By the time dinner time came around I was ready to eat and so we ordered a LOT of pizza with garlic dip and totally pigged out. I ate every one of my activity points I earned and could not care less! I am back on track today and giving filling and healthy a go this week. I need a bit of a change and day 1 giving it a go has been great so onward and upward!