Last weekend I took part in a two day running challenge consisting of a 5K race and a half marathon. I haven’t really been training much over the last few months as health and work has been a priority for me and I had also largely lost the passion for running. Despite not running more than 12km since August I decided I would just give it my best shot!
The first race was the 5K,I finished in 20 minutes 11 seconds. I was pretty disappointed to be honest as it was slower than last year. Since gaining weight I have had this mantra in my head that I can’t run anymore.Rationally I know it is not the weight gain that is holding me back but rather my mindset.It is so true that the body achieves what the mind believes.
I worked throughout the day so went to sleep knackered and rather anxious for the half marathon. So many fears filled my head. What if I cannot do it? What if an injury flares up? In the morning I woke up and my dad was running around the house all excited, kit prepared and I had not even given a thought to what to wear haha,we are polar opposites. He is super organised and I am a last minute.com impulsive, unorganised person.
I threw on my kit and ate breakfast. The best things I have found to have before a race is toast/bagels with peanut butter and banana and then dates and jelly cubes to munch on before the race starts. Fuelling is key! If you get nervous before races it is best to eat as soon as you wake up before you start overthinking and getting anxious.
We arrived at the stadium with only half an hour to go so didn’t have much time to warm up. After last minute toilet runs and dropping our baggage off we went to the starting line. We both started in the second wave of runners.As soon as I was at the starting line the adrenaline rush hit me,I was so happy and excited!The music was playing,BBC news reporting,crowds of people gathering to support their friends and family,the atmosphere was electric!
The gun went off and off we went!Along the way the support was amazing,people cheering you on,fellow runners chatting,marshalls handing you jelly babies,a choir singing,the miles just rulled past!Before I knew it I was at Mile 7!Over half way!I realised then that I was actually doing this!
For the first time in a while I was running with pure joy and just soaking up the atmosphere, my head was not preoccupied with times,comparisons,self doubt e.t.c.At mile 10 I crashed a bit and so did a few runners around me.But with only 3 miles to go stopping was just out of the question! At mile 11 someone handed me a cup and I thought it was sports drink, it turned out to be beer!!!
The race finished in the Stadium, it was an amazing finish!I made it over the finish line and looked at my time, 1 hour,38 minutes and 30 seconds!I could not believe it!Thats 5 minutes faster than last year.In that moment I felt like my running self esteem had been restored.It is possible to be a healthy weight an still run well.I feel like running the half marathon finally got that into my head.I may not be as good at short distance anymore but gaining weight has sure helped my endurance.Recovery is also similar to long distance races,it is a marathon and not a sprint. There are many parallels between running and recovery.
So what is next? I have entered a half marathon 3 weeks from now. I would like to run in under 1 hr 30 minutes but that is quite a tall order. I guess I will just see how it goes. I have decided to rest for a whole week before starting running again, After that I will just see how it goes.
Running the half marathon was honestly one of the best experiences I have had. It is incredibly inspiring and humbling to watch people of all ages and abilities run it.Another thing is that at races you will see people with all types of bodies. There is no one “runners body”.
As a long distance runner giving up running and gaining weight can be hard as there is a common misconception that thinner equals faster. Running on empty is no fun though and can lead to burnout and injury.
I am excited to get back into running with a healthier body and mind!
Hope everyone has a fab weekend!