My First Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Sunday the 7th of August on ran my first half marathon in a time of 2 hours 33 minutes and 25 seconds.  Up until this day I had never run past 17km and that was also a first.  Three days after the event and I'm still happy that I was given the extra push by a fellow virgin half marathon runner.

My journey to run a half marathon didn't start with 12 or more weeks of preparation like most normal people would do.  It all started from a training session that I did with Helen in which we both ran our very first 15km.  At the end of the run she announced that she was going to do the half and I basically said she was nuts.  How the hell do you go and do a half marathon with only 3 weeks of preparation?

Three days after that run, with a couple of backward and forward messages and I had been swayed into taking part too.  Time to start looking at training.  I found a few 3 day a week plans, Helen found another one and between all of them I was surpised to see that we weren't too far off the distance for preparation.  I attempted some sprint sessions but wasn't the best at them.

Two weeks out from the event I did my biggest run to date 17km.  It included a few hills, I tried out some GU chomps for the first time and finished in about 2:10.  I wanted to run further that day but I couldn't really afford the time to get out to 19km.  In hindsight it was just as well.

That evening my body decided that enough was enough and it was time for a break.  I'd been fighting a pesky head cold for about a month but it decided to turn into a nasty fever ridden, dry unrelenting coughing fit cold.  Just what I didn't need.  By the Friday things were improving so I took myself back of to the gym for a little run on the dreadmill and a Pump session.  The exercise felt so dam good, even if I did hack up a lung a couple of times.

On Sunday I ventured out for a longer run - 8.8km of hell to be more precise.  I couldn't believe the drop in performance that one week could have.  The rest of the week was spent doing small runs (nothing over 6km) and a bit of resistance.  On Friday I also did a stretch and core session before having a well earned rest on Saturday.

Saturday night's treat meal ended up being at an Italian restaurant.  While I had always had in the back of my mind having a pasta meal the night before I have now learnt that not to eat out the night before a race.  The change in my diet over the last 12 weeks meant that the extra greasiness and saltiness didn't agree with me at all and most of the meal left my system a little too quickly.

Sunday I was up at 4am to start getting ready.  My microwave did the impossible and made an entire egg disappear in one bang.  Thankfully I had a spare egg in the fridge.  I downed the last glasses of water and my husband and I were out the door on the way to town before 5.

After bumping into Helen we dropped off our gear in the baggage tent and headed off to the start line for a bit of stretching and nervous waiting while the sun slowly started to rise. 

The start to this was an absolute nightmare.  The Brisbane City Council in the infinite wisdom have decided that closing the streets, all be it before anyone is even awake, to hold a premier running even just isn't good practice.  So to combat this the organiser's of the event are force to using walking paths for the majority of the even. 

The full and half marathon runner's were all started at the same time.  I feel sorry for the elite runners as to make the distances required we had to do two laps of the Botanical Gardens.  While they were beautiful a 3m wide path with 3000 competitors isn't appropriate.  Add in the elite runners having to run through the pack of slower runners and it just wasn't good form

The course then headed over the Goodwill Bridge.  By this stage it was "easy" running.  Everyone had found their place in the pack and there was no dodging and weaving like in previous events I've been in.  At the end of the bridge we turned right, were cheered on by on lookers and headed off down through Southbank.  I hit the 4km mark before the 30minute mark and had found my stride, I think I even managed to smile for one of the many cameras.

Around the 8km mark I coasted up the hill towards Orleigh Park.  Only 3 months ago that hill seemed to be so long and so steep, this time around it was only a litte blip. Just after the 8.5km mark I chewed on my first chomp thinking the water station wasn't too far away.  Unfortunately the water station was on the opposite side of the road and I wasn't changing direction for that.  I then spotted my DH and not far behind him was Helen.  They had both already turned around at Orleigh Park and were at around the 10km mark, it was about one hour in to the run.

I had a giggle watching the line up for the porta-loos on my way to the turn around point.  By the time I was passing them again I'd run about another kilometer and the line had only just disappeared.  I'd saved myself about 7:30 for not have a pit stop.  I grabbed my first drink of water at the drink station and managed to get more over me than in my mouth as I wasn't going to slow down or stop - nothing was going to break my stride, I was listening to "Eye of the Tiger". 

Back down the hill and along Riverside Drive and I started passing people that were now walking.  I still hadn't walked a step since I started running after the awful start and that's the way I wanted to finish it.  12km in and a "recovery" type of track was on my iPod.  I had meant to take that one off so I used it to focus on my breathing.  Next thing you know I've hit the 12.5km and the song is talking about miracles, which is kind of appropriate. 

Here comes 14km and I having a laugh.  There is a song on my iPod that reminds me of David Bowy in Labyrinth surrounded by all his creatures, "He reminds me of the man, The man with the power, The power of Voodoo".  I get a few strange looks from people I'm passing - I've got no idea why.    Not long after this I start playing leap frog with another runner.  I spur him on for a kilometer but by the time get closer to the Goodwill Bridge I've left him behind.  By this stage I'm in the zone and I don't even know what is playing on the iPod.  I then spot a friend from High School on his second lap doing the Marathon, he flys by with good form.

I pass along the bottom of the Kangaroo Cliff watching a girl all of 8 or 9 scale them while thinking to myself what an awesome accomplishment for someone so young.  Onto the boardwalk, dodging people that are out for the Sunday walk and I'm passing the 16km mark.  The Storey Bridge is now in sight as I pass the 17km mark and spot my DH again.  I didn't realise at the time but he had or was just about to hit the wall.  A few seconds later I spot Helen again.  I'm now into unknown territory, I've never run this far before, I'm feeling really good.  I'm now approaching the 18km mark, time for another chomp and some water.  I manage to get even wetter this time!  Water goes up my nose, so I was rather thankful I had a hankerchief under my bra strap to clear it. 

Past the turn around point and back under the Storey Bridge, I'm now on the home straight.  I hit around the 19km mark and spot the first marathon runner complete with police escort.  He's probably got around 3km to catch up to me so I now have a challange - I'm going to finish before he does.  The next kilometer flys past in a daze, I grab some water at the last drinks stop, get wet again, and power on.  The Goodwill Bridge is in sight.  I round the bend to the spectators spuring me on. 

Time to tackle the bridge.  My stride shortens a little, I slow a little but it doesn't hurt that much.  I pass more runners, I reach the top and down the other side I go. 

I round the bend and spot Helen and her family.  She's finished and on her way to the car.  Her lovely husband Victor snaps off a few photos of me as Helen tells me the finish is just around the corner.  I wish I knew how close it was as I would have ramped it up even more.

 I'm running, I've nearly finished a half marathon and yet I still have a quick chin wag!
Better keep going.

I round the bend and spot the finishing line.  I pull out and pass the person you can see in the photo.  I cross the finish line and yet I could keep running!  How is that even possible?  I didn't actually want to stop - crazy hey?

I see my DH lying down on the grass knoll near the finish line, his shoes off and a huge blister on one foot and a bleeding toe on the other foot.  I sit down to rest.  That was a bad mistake that I'll never do again.  I found it nearly impossible to get off the ground and get moving again.  Sore from stopping yet elated in my achievement.  I had done it - I complete a half marathon with only 3 weeks of true preparation and only 217 days of running under my feet.


Helen August 13, 2011 at 4:50 PM  

Whoo hoo!!!!! You are amazingly awesome!
I'm so proud of your achievements these past 12 weeks Kym : )

Abby August 17, 2011 at 4:27 PM  

Hi Kym, I've just come across from 12wbt to say hello - wow, so inspired - you are awesome! Well done, you!

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