Dear Running…

Dear Running,

I think we should take a break…

We have had our good times, but recently not so much…and after Sunday I think I have reached my limit!

I may be willing to flirt with you in the future…but it will never be a serious thing!

I composed this in my head, many many times over on Sunday as I tried to find ways to get myself to the finish the dreaded half marathon without flagging down a passing cyclist and demanding a lift! Actually the one I composed had many more rude words and absolutes in it than this one, but I have calmed down now!

I didn’t do that by the way…I made it…all the way to the end…under my own power and everything πŸ˜€

And to prove it is true…I got one of these!!

look at my massive medal
look at my massive medal

It is a massive medal! And you know what it blooming well should be after 13.1 miles (21km) it was really very very hard!

I am showing you the medal first because I am proud of it! Woohoo medal!

I know I have started this story in an odd place but is was that kind of day, I am not sure my brain remembers it in a linear fashion. More akin to flashes like a montage in a movie.

Sadly, much as i tried to make it feel that way, there was nothing montage-y about the race its self!

I will start at the start, and tell you of the highlights and lowlights of the followingΒ 13.1 miles!

In the pink (zone)
In the pink (zone)

So as the morning of the race rolled around I say that I was (and had been for about 3 days) terrified and panicking! I had no idea how I was going to get through the race, I knew I hadn’t done enough training and I had no idea what sort of plan I was going to follow during the race…

I did at least know I should follow a plan…but generally I was massively over thinking the whole thing and getting myself in a tizzy…

Once I was talked down by various people I was no less terrified, but I was less tizzy-ish…and I cam up with a plan…I was going to run what I could run and walk what I couldn’t run…

That was it, that was the extent of my plan!

We set off bright and early (we had to park by 8:30 am!) and after nearly 2 hours wondering about the “race village” we found our way to our start zone…the pink zone!

This was the special zone at the back for anyone who was likely to take longer than 2hrs 20 mins…well of course I am!

Yeay the start of the race…

yeay…there is no possible way I can get out of this now!!

There really wasn’t…there were so many people, I was hemmed in!

so many people!
so many people!

SO, after standing around for 2 hours, shuffling forward occasionally for another 1/2 we were eventually off!

Off and running and not running and trying to convince my legs that they were going to be ok and they weren’t stiff form all the standing!

Yes, that was the first mile, an argument between me and my legs that where they complained and I told them they had no choice and that I would appreciate it if they eased off on the aching because they had a long way to go!

Miraculously I won this argument…

I managed to progress in run/walk intervals reasonably well until about mile 6… on balance there was more running than walking and there were even a couple of moment when I thought this isn’t so bad…

There were was a confusing moment when I forgot that my name was printed on my rave number and was really freaked out when people were cheering for me by name!! Then I remembered, and I got less freaked out…but only a little bit less…

they were shouting / saying such things as “come on Samantha”

which even though it was written on my race number is not really my name.

well it is…but it is not the name anyone calls me…ever! Literally noone in the world calls me Samantha, except my friend Rebecca and then only when she wants to make a point.

anyway…up to about mile 6 things were not going toooo badly, I was only mildly grumpy and I wasn’t angry with the people shouting encouragement, which s is a new thing for me!

miles 6- 8 were in Reading town centre, somewhere in the middle of mile 6 all of the stress, anticipation and worry about this race that had been building up for weeks hit me, I was practically on my own in a place I didn’t know and a road sweeping van started sweeping the road in front of me…

it set off with whirling brushes, making dust!
it set off with whirling brushes, making dust!

At this point I started to cry!

Big choaky sobby gasps which made it very hard to breathe…

but for some reason I carried on attempting to run…which didn’t help because then I couldn’t breathe and I briefly thought I was going to die…or possibly pass out.

I overtook the roadsweeper, I may have shouted at it but I can’t remember.

I had to walk after that because I needed to make myself calm down ans start breathing like a person again or things would go very bad!

The miles through the middle were made a little better by the people who had hung on to encourage the last people, Β and a lot worse by the fact that mile marker 7 was missing…meaning I thought that mile 7 was the longest mile in the world and that this race would ever end!

mind you was I ever pleased to see mile 8 on the next marker πŸ˜€ I cheered up a little when I discovered that the longest mile had been 2 miles and then I became in capable of subtracting 8 form 13 as I was convinced I only had 4 miles to go. I used my fingers and everything!

I managed to keep on with intervals until about mile 10…but the walks got longer and the runs shorter until after mile 10 I couldn’t run any more…so I set my legs to walk as fast as possible and got into a stride. By this point, I couldn’t stop or deviate from my stride lest I never move again! I think at this point I had completely run out of energy, breakfast was at 7am and everything I had was completely used up 😦

the last 2 – 3 miles were done on shear stubbornness! I had no option but to carry on until the end, no matter what I wanted to do! at mile 11 I made a friend, a woman called Lindsay who was struggling as much as I was and we powered on to the end together!

Right now I have no idea how I finished. My toes were numb, I was too hot my hands were swollen and my legs were threatening to divorce me!

The end was in the reading football stadium, and somehow I even managed to run from the stadium entry until the end…although there is a video of it on line and it is more a fast shuffle. It blooming well felt like running! I crossed the line 3hrs 23 mins after I started!!

they gave me a cape!!
they gave me a cape!!

Then I got a medal and cape!

Although apparently it was supposed to be a foil blanket!

I didn’t want a foil blanket so i tied it on like a cape…which made me look like I had no neck…not flattering! on top of my t-shirt over thermal running top combination…also not flattering…and too hot as it turns out!

I have to say, it was not the most successful race I could have done, but when I got to the end I was very proud! Proud of me and proud of Rachel who by virtue of having longer legs then me finished 15 mins earlier! Nearly everything I could have got wrong, I did get wrong…

but I have learned these things:

  • You need to do more training than I did if you want to run a half marathon
  • You need a plan to run one, winging it is not the best idea, unless you have don it before!
  • Sunglasses hide the fact that you are crying so you can pretend everything is ok when people cheer!
  • Don’t trust the weather forecast in the UK Wear several thin layers so you can take them off when you get hot not one thick one
  • Caffeine will only get you so far…
  • 3 hours of running needed more mid race food than I had.
  • You need more than 5 hours sleep before you run that far (I may have even got less…I couldn’t sleep)
  • Never Never run a half marathon…no mater who tells you it is a good idea!!!

There were some positives however…

The main ad biggest positive is:

I have done it! Despite my doubts and getting everything wrong I could get wrong…Have completed a half marathon and I am proud of it despite a part of me being disappointed with my time!

here is what strava thinks I was doing that day…

reading splits
Strava think I did 22.3km…


28 thoughts on “Dear Running…

  1. Okay – before I get into my comment, one thing I’ve noticed with your last two posts: I see the feed in Facebook, and I come on over, but neither appeared in my current Reader feed. But if I scroll back to days ago they are there. Which is crazy because you presumably just published more recently. So…why does the post have a publication date of 03/24??? Well, thank goodness for the facebook feed directing me here or else I’d be thinking you never wrote a race recap post!

    Secondly, you rock! I can’t imagine how nasty and disgusting and painful and horrific this was. I think 10ks are the work of the devil, so doing more than double that is just…crazy. But you did it!!

    I’d definitely be writing a Dear John letter to running, too, if I were you. although, I suspect that if someone asked you to sign up for a marathon, you might say yes. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that is craziness! It might be to do with the fact that started writing it a couple of days ago and saved the draft, but it should still show up on the day i published it!! grrr! maybe I will reblog it just to be sure!

      It was crazy!!

      I will never sign up for a marathon!! I even wrote it up as one of my goals for this year…it says:
      ” do not sign up for a marathon…really don’t, you don’t want to run a marathon!”
      this was awful, but there are so many things I could have done better that I now have to resist the temptation to sign up for another one just to see if I could beat my time!
      I really don’t want to but am my own worst enemy sometimes!!


      1. Okay – it’s all coming back to me now – I had this happen to me before with my post. So here’s the deal: If you start a post and save to drafts, then keep working on it for several days, then finally hit the publish button, it will publish it with a date stamp of the day you STARTED writing it (first draft save date). So, you’d have to scroll back to THAT day in the WP Reader to see the feed in WP. Fret not though! The workaround is this: If you write a post that you save to drafts and keep working on at a later date, you need to be tricky! Instead of hitting “Publish” when you are ready, you’ll hit “Schedule” then pick a day/time to publish. It can be 5 mins from now! By using the Schedule function though, your post will “publish” on the current day – and hit the Reader accordingly. πŸ™‚



  2. WOW!!!!! I am soooo impressed that you did this race. You need serious mental toughness to do it, I can see that. I think I would be crying around mile 8, since I haven’t gone further than that. Or perhaps mile 2, who knows. Anyways, you so totally deserve that medal!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Midsummer 365 Projects and commented:

    Throwback tuesday!!
    Ok…I know that isn’t a thing but it is a thing today!!

    This was a year ago today…can you believe it!!

    I am still a little bit cross with running for this…but it isn’t really running’s fault and I am slowly getting back into it!


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