Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Fitness Journey: Couch to Half Marathon, The Finale

12th March 2017. The day I ran the Bath Half Marathon. 
I am writing this two days after completing the half, and it still all feels like a bit of a dream. The only thing that makes me think it isn't a dream is the agony that my body is in. I'm not even sure where to begin when describing the day - in one word, it was incredible. 
On the morning of the half, I woke up in a cold sweat at 3:30 am. I had a nightmare that I was running and the finishing line kept moving further and further away. I managed to get myself back off to sleep and woke up to my 7 am alarm. I had my pre-planned breakfast of a bagel and peanut butter. I had this as soon as I woke up, allowing four hours for this to digest before the race started at 11 am. I was getting my bag sorted ready to leave when I noticed I was physically shaking. A mixture of adrenaline and nerves was pumping around my body. 
My Mum and Dad came to watch, so we headed off for the 9 am train into Bath. The platform was absolutely jam packed full of people also heading to the Bath Half. I knew it was a popular event - but I didn't expect it to be as popular as it was. Once in Bath, I made my way to the runner's village and got myself ready. At this point, I had half a banana to top up my energy levels. I had intended to eat the whole thing, but nerves had turned into a sick feeling at this point. I met up with my friends who were also running and we made our way to the start line. We were in the orange pen - so this meant we would be starting last. Whilst waiting for 11 am, we spent the time warming up and trying to calm our nerves. I was wearing my FitBit and noticed my heart rate was 110 - we thought I'd be needing a defibrillator before I even started. 11 am came and went and we still hadn't moved due to the sheer amount of people running. I crossed the start line at about 11:09:47, and from then on there was no going back. 
In all honestly, I thought the Half would be so much worse than it was. For the first 7-8 miles, I really found my pace and I was feeling strong and capable. All the people cheering your name and seeing family gave me a real boost. I felt really emotional the whole way around, there were some moments where I thought I was going to burst into tears. I just couldn't believe I was actually running a half marathon. The last 3 miles was the toughest part for me. I had started to feel sick from the Lucozade I had been drinking and I had developed a real stabbing pain in my lower back. My knees, on the other hand, didn't cause me any problems at all. 
I was so nice to see the amount of people out, pushing their bodies to the limit, in aid of some amazing charities. Some of the outfits people were wearing kept me occupied throughout the run - a camel and a couple of toilets spring to mind. Even though, it was slightly disheartening to be overtaken by them. All in all, I crossed the finish line (chip time) in 3:08 hours. I was over the moon at this time. I'm not fast, and I never promised to be, but finishing meant everything to me. I saw my Mum, Dad, my best friend her boyfriend as I crossed the line. Then I proceeded to burst into tears. I have never felt so proud of myself.

I left my family and friends to go get my medal, or so I thought. I was told that they had run out of medals, t-shirts and goody bags. The latter items mean nothing to me, but the medal signifies completion of the race and something to show for what I had achieved that day. Following the race, it turned out that I was one of 700 people who had missed out. While this didn't take away from how proud I felt - it was really disappointing. The medal in the picture below was actually my friends who also completed. I could go on about this disappointment, but actually, I don't want that to take away from what was an incredible day. I'll just have to wait a bit longer for mine.
If you have ever thought about signing up for anything that will push you out of your comfort zone - I say go for it! What have you got to lose? 6 months ago, I couldn't run for 1 minute without stopping and here I am now.... a half marathon finisher. Will this be my last running event....I highly doubt it. Have I got the bug - maybe! 

Love, Kate xx

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