17 In half marathon/ running

Royal Parks Half Marathon 2013

Royal Parks Half Marathon 2013 medal

I haven’t run to music since April when I got a Garmin and no longer carried my phone with me. I decided last week that I missed music and that I would run the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday listening to music.

My phone, however, has been a bit stuffed lately so there is no music on it due to a reset I had to do. When I connect the thing to iTunes on my computer, the sync does not happen. When I buy new music, the downloads don’t happen.

I kept trying and trying and trying on Saturday night, using different cables, Googling for possible solutions. No go. I cried and went to bed.

Sunday morning I got up a 6:20 and discovered that we had no oats left in the house. My digestion is a total primadonna and in order to not upset it, I have to be very strict with what I eat.  Not having oats was very close to a disaster.

It was too early to throw a tantrum though so I just made porridge with instant buckwheat and quinoa flakes. I plonked into a thermos to eat on the tube, got dressed, grabbed my bag and went.

Sitting on the tube I realised that I had not taken my Garmin.


I have never run without something to tell me how fast I’m running. This was going to be interesting.

Getting to the starting area was easy, dropping my bag off was easy, standing in the loo queue 3 times was easy 🙂

I attempted to run a bit to warm up but there wasn’t really any room, 5 min before the start I entered the starting area. The weird thing was that no one started running until we’d all walked to the start line, usually the crowds start jogging much earlier.

But anyway, I was off. I could not see any pacers (runners with big flags on their backs indicating in what time they’ll finish) in front of me or around me so I just ran at a pace that was comfortable. I ran all wrong as well, didn’t concentrate on small quick steps. Whether that was a good decision or bad, I’ll never know. I just didn’t want to count my steps, I just wanted to look around, run and enjoy the sunshine.

After the first 5km I all of a sudden caught up to the 1:50 pacers, I passed them and planned not to let them pass me.

After 10km my quads started to tire, same bloody thing as during last month’s Run to the Beat. That to me means I have run the first 10km a bit too hard – during training runs I always get more energy after 10km and feel very loose in my muscles.  It’s strange though how I never get out of breath or pant when I’m running, only maybe at the very end (does that mean my legs are weaker than my cardiovascular system and I should do more weights and less cardio??)

I didn’t feel as horrible as I felt during the last race (see link above) so I just kept pushing on knowing I had slowed down a bit since lots of people were passing me now.

At the 10 mile marker the 1:50 pacers passed me and kept getting further and further away. Darn it! I tried to speed up but didn’t catch up to them.

I threw away my second hand held water bottle and just kept pumping my arms hoping it’d add more momentum to my steps.

At some point the right side of my bum started hurting! That has never happened to me so I had no idea how to deal with it other than just to keep running and hope it’d go away. It never really went away but it didn’t get worse either.

At some point my stomach really cramped up. It had been funky for a couple of days so I was not surprised but there was nothing I could do about it so I just kept going. It cramped on and off until the end.

800m before the end there was a tiny incline in the road. I passed a guy who was moaning very loudly. I passed a guy who was very unstable on his feet and was being escorted off the course by St.John’s ambulance crew.

My legs hurt, my bum hurt, my stomach hurt but I sped up as much as I could and crossed the finish line strong and fast.

After I had run a marathon in April I kept telling people that my next races were ‘just’ half marathons. This autumns’ two half marathons have taught me something though –  there is no such thing as ‘just’ a half marathon.

Half marathons are hard. Much harder than marathons because you’re pushing the speed. Half marathons are long. Many people don’t make it to the finish line. Many people walk. Half marathons are NOT a no-big-deal.

While I was having this epiphany I made my way out of the exit area and picked up my bag, when I checked my phone, the message I had received shocked me.


If I had known that I was only 12 seconds behind my PB from the same race last year, I’m sure I would have found extra energy to get a new PB.

But I didn’t know and it’s ok. It is what it is and I am very happy with that time.

Bag collected, happy message received, I bought a big black coffee, picked up my goodie bag and headed back to the tube.

At home I realised that my dodgy left knee was sore but not too sore. What was worse was a toe of mine that lost a nail after the marathon in Paris – the new nail has barely finished growing and I’m afraid it’s a goner again 😐

Today I was tossing up going to Crossfit but I decided to be kind to the body and let it rest and recover. Instead I went out at lunchtime and bought myself those Mizunos I’ve been eyeing for a while. I hope they will be kind to my feet.


And that is the end of racing for 2013!


For spring of 2014 I’ve signed up for not one but TWO marathons 😀

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  • Reply
    October 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Well it’s one helluva way to see out your race year, I’d say. Well done. 😀

  • Reply
    7 days, 8 workouts | Mind over Matter
    October 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    […] a rest day following the Royal Parks Half Marathon, I hit the ground running […]

  • Reply
    October 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Congrats! It is a great time!

  • Reply
    October 8, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Although my two-lap course this weekend – when I crossed the finish line the first time I kind of did wish I was running ‘just’ the half and not having to go around the course a second time!

    • Reply
      October 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      I could not do a two lap marathon! I have looked a few but as soon as I read those words I’m no longer thinking about signing up. Mentally that would be so so hard to start that second loop.

  • Reply
    October 8, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I loved reading this. Half marathons ARE hard. 1.47 is a superb time, really well done – I’m glad you did it sans music and sans garmin as well. The way it should be 🙂

  • Reply
    October 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Sounds like you had a hard but decent run – well done!
    And, I absolutely agree about half-marathons not ever being ‘just’ a half. I went into one about two months ago feeling very blasé about it and it totally whomped me – I think it’s made me a better runner, but you really need to respect any distance for what it is and a half is both long *and* fast, which is a killer combo.

    • Reply
      October 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

      I felt totally blase about Run to the Beat and it killed me. This time I knew it was going to be tough but it still doesn’t make it easier – somehow even though it hurts running this distance at that speed, the pain is forgotten soon after I’ve crossed the finish line and all I can think about is doing another one. We runners must be a bit crazy in the head 🙂

  • Reply
    TartanJogger tartanjogger.com
    October 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Well done on your run, especially when it didn’t exactly go to plan!

    • Reply
      October 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Not many races to exactly to plan but if I finish and don’t hate running, I’m happy 🙂

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