Tuesday, 30 May 2017

So... I ran a half marathon!!!

If you didn't guess from the title my friends, I did something awesome on Sunday the 28th of May...

Something I've wanted to do for quite a few years now and have finally achieved.

Something I've trained for for quite a while now and have finally completed.

Something that makes me smile now just thinking of it.


And it was awesome.

Anywho, I thought i might do a little recap for you of the day, how it went, how I felt and all the fun stuff in between that made up THE DAY I RAN A HALF MARATHON.

So, I began training for this half about 4-5 months before... yeah, props a little too long if you ask me, and with that came quite  significant drop in weight (on my already smaller frame) and some worried glances from the mother and friends. Not gonna lie, I did not like seeing the bones becoming a little more obvious and the muscles, a little less... but alas this was a challenge I wanted to complete and so I stuck it out with my training (approx 1 long run every week with a few mid-length ones scattered in between) and eventually the day rolled round!

It was a 6:45am start in the city and you had to be there 30 mins prior to the start. It takes about 30mins to get into the city from my house too. Let's just say I was up before 5am and getting ready for the excitement of the race! (And trust me, I was excited... and nervous!!)
Running for you Headspace!!

My pre-race fuel of choice was my tried-and-trusted frozen banana (an exceptional choice considering it was only 6 degrees that morning!!!) and devoured that bad boy in the car (mum kindly offered to drive me in- wasn't too keen on the train in the pitch-black of early morning) with the heating on and a jumper that I was going to whip off before the race started as they collect all the jumpers on the side of the road and donate them to charity- happy days.

With the road closures mum got me as close to the start as possible and then my trusty little pocket map lead me the rest of the way (just like a block and a half) to the start where I came across the mass of people warming up, stretching, jogging, getting ready for the oncoming 21.1km.

It was time to find a toilet.

McDonalds seemed like a good idea as it was meters from the start line.

Seemed being the operative word.

Everyone else had the same idea and it took about 20mins to move in the line to the front upon which I raced in, raced out and made it to the starting line as they were counting down from 10!!

Alrighty, no time to warm up- but that's ok because I had peed!!

Jumper whipped off, quick little high knees and away we goooooo!! (well, walking for a bit as it takes a little to get the momentum of such a big crowd going)
Excited Steph-face :P
Nice blurry photos to show my excitement/ coldness :D :D
Not sure what was happening here:

The first half of the race was awesome (in the running sense), absolutely freezing (in the weather sense). Quite a bit of the first half was uphill, which was a little challenging (especially when you also cannot feel your fingers) but also made the flatter sections seem like a breeze. When the sun finally came out the body started to defrost and I really found my stride and rhythm.

I felt so good, running, running, running, passing people, people passing me, feeling strong and powerful- happy, happy days.

I think I hit a bit of a lull at 11km as it was weird having each and every km mapped out for you and made them seem so much longer, so when I got to 11km, 10more just seemed ridiculous.

But soon after it became just another awesome run again as I remained in good stride, felt the atmosphere of the puffing, pounding feet and all around good vibes of an early morning run shared with so many people.

During my training runs I never fuelled mid-way with anything/ took water breaks and that was fine for them so I stuck to my no-food/ water during run plan and was absolutely fine as well. Also, those energy gels they were handing out just look really scary. So, no.

At about 16km I was still feeling pretty stellar and honestly felt this was one of my best runs. I smiled at all the cameras, tried to get a thumbs up for all the snaps (managed some!!) and danced through the  music players and disco lights in the underground tunnel segment (my favourite part of the whole race).

And as we neared 18km-19km that was when I truly felt invincible. I had done basically all the race, was feeling so good and was heading into the HBF arena to smash out the last little bit and smash it out I did!

As we entered the race track I simply pounded it to the finish. I had this extra stored up energy and I was going! Flying past the other finishers and looking up at the clock to see I'd made it in under 2 hrs (my goal- my actual time resulted in 1 hour 49mins and 44seconds :) :D)

It almost didn't seem real that I had just finished the run. Over already? Really? But I kept walking through the gates, gleefully took my half marathon medal, stopped for a cup of water and then a full bottle, passed on the banana/ powerade (I had a big brekky planned for later!!) and headed to the lost childrens section where my friend and i had planned to meet (she was running the 12km but would finish around the same time).
Ok legs, time to walk :P

About 15 mins later we were united and headed off to a cafe called Toast, a few blocks away that boasts pretty much ALL of the toast combos you can think of (my dream!!) and after getting a little lost, finally finding the place and a spot to sit (with 36,000 running in the HBF runs pretty much everywhere was packed!!) and deciding on brekky (we ended up getting the same thing anyway!)
So many people!!
This was so good my friends!!!

Two slices of rye toast topped with the house-made smokey beans (out of this world!!) 2 poached eggs, avo and mushrooms- hit. the. spot! Especially after waiting quite while with a post-run hanger!! :P

We got lost once again after breakfast trying to find our way to the buses to get back to the train station and instead just ended up walking about 20 mins to the train station following the masses of people which was fine because it was a perfect, sunny day and nice to have a bit of a chat and stretch out those legs! (when we had to climb stairs... not so fun)

Back on the train, she got off a few stops ahead of me and then I was back in the car with the mother who surprised me with the most perfect simple Pandora bracelet with a small 21.1km charm to start my fitness highlights bracelet :)

Sweaty, smelly mess ^^ But HAPPYYYY :D :D

As you can imagine I was ravenous ALLL day long and so refuelled at lunch with overnight oats simply thrown into an almost empty Chobani yogurt container with 2 kiwifruit and grapes- soooo good!

That night my friend was being confirmed at church, which made the day even more special! And back home once again for another big ol' meal to feed those tired muscles:

Baked sweet tater with crunchy PB and peas and soy milk- perfection!

Lots of 90% dark choc afterwards as well :P

And then off to relax, unwind and then sleep with a nice big smile on my face after a truly perfect day! Happy days :D

1:49:44 <3

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