So. I ran my first half marathon last Sunday. I’d like to say it all went according to plan, but, well – it didn’t.
In January my intentions were good. I started running three times a week, not long runs but always at least 5k, partly motivated by Jantastic (an online team where you log your number of runs per week and accumulate points). February half term I was meant to reach 11 miles.
It was cold.
March brought the final three weeks before the half and the longest I’d done was 8 miles. But there were more important things to panic about, like job interviews, some idiot putting my car window through while I was at the match, marking maths GCSE papers at the last minute and attempting to keep warm in the hideous weather. My preparation was then limited to an 11.7 mile run the Sunday before.
However, I was fit and confident and good at plodding and I had Mike Thirsk running with me to get me round.
The week before I ate sensibly, didn’t drink and did everything possible to avoid wheat and dairy, my IBS triggers, as my stomach had not been settled. Unfortunately, the corned beef hash the night before and Greek yoghurt that morning I ended up in Wilmslow with nothing in my stomach.
I looked like something Dracula had brought back from the dead.
But, contrary to common sense and my gurgling innards and the desire to retreat from the zero degree outdoors into somewhere warm with clean facilities, I started the Wilmslow Half Marathon and it started okay. Mike was excellent pacing us, walking for 45 seconds for every 10 minutes and aiming for ten minutes miles. My bottle of coconut water was my life line and it wasn’t until the five mile mark where I started to see stars and begin to keep my eyes open for the nearest ambulance.
The fainting fit did not occur and the temperature became a little more pleasant, until the last mile and a half where the wind whipped in an effort of Boundary Park on a Tuesday night in February standard and somehow, somehow, I managed to cross the finish line in an unmighty 2 hours 21 and collected a very nice medal and an oversized pink t-shirt that will now serve as either a nightie or a tent. I haven’t decided yet.
Somehow I have inherited a gene from one of my mill-working ancestors that makes me keep on going. Either that or the Duracell bunny I swallowed aged ten is waving its magical wand – that could be the cause of my IBS I suppose – because I’m now planning to run the Chester Half Marathon in May and knock ten minutes off that time.
I think it’s that same bunny that keeps me writing. I finished We Were Never Alone in its first draft format back in February and have edited around thirty pages so far. It’s not unpleasant, possibly a nicer process than writing straight out, but time has not been plentiful at the moment. Plus the plot bunnies keep biting and I keep looking at writing competitions, which doesn’t make for a focused marathon of novel improving! So this weekend I’m working on a ghost story for one competition, a short story for the Bath Short Story Comp – whose deadline is midnight tomorrow – and parkrunning tomorrow morning.
So that hour we lose on Sunday, can we have it back with reinforcements?