Last weekend I attempted to do something that I tried once before but failed to complete; a half marathon. Three years ago (roughly) I attempted one at Freckleton and if I’m honest I was totally unprepared. I hadn’t really trained nor was I really fit enough to run one but despite that I was determined to try. There are other reasons why I was running but there best left in the past but in any case as I passed 11 miles I couldn’t go any further. I tried walking the final two miles but every single inch of me hurt with my feet in complete agony with every step. In the end I decided my ability to walk the next day far outweighed getting to the finish so I pulled up, knocked on a door and called the wife to get someone to pick me up. When I clambered out the back of the pickup vehicle I saw Cat who was very upset and could see that I was devastated not to have completed it.
Those feelings and that image has hung around with me and despite completing the Bristol 10K a wee while after that I could never quite lay Freckleton to rest, not finishing it bugged me. Anyway after I signed up for the Weston Ride in preparation for my charity London to Brighton Ride I toyed with the idea of doing a half marathon again. I wasn’t overly convinced though and figured I’d wait to see how things went with my first long distance ride. So after I completed the Weston I thought to myself ‘if I want to get fit I need targets, let’s do it!’ What I also did at that point was get my boss from work involved who also did the Weston with me; well I say with me, he finished a couple of hours ahead of me! You see what I learned from doing the Weston Ride and the subsequent rides I did with my boss was that if I had someone to do it with and sort of push me I’d be more likely to do it. You see my boss and I have, since we both started using Endomondo, challenged each other. Whether it’d be the fastest 3 miles on a bike or the fastest 5k running we can see how each other has done and try to beat them. It also gave bragging rights in work which at times generated some rather amusing conversations. So knowing the boss was game to run the Cardiff Half Marathon I signed up knowing that if I did he would too.
So there I was, last Sunday, at the start line of the Cardiff Half Marathon wondering and worrying about what lay ahead. I’d done a race distance trial run the Sunday before but even knowing I could run the distance I still worried that something would happen that would force me to stop. The gun went and, after shuffling to the start line, my race started and then slowly but surely the miles passed by and the further I got the more confident I was that I would indeed finish. One thing’s for sure was that once I passed the 11 mile marker it pushed home to me how different things are from that day. I’m fitter, healthier, slimmer and happier than I was then and things are just generally in a better place mentally and physically. I can’t describe to you all how it felt to cross that finish line and knowing that I beat my goal of sub 2 hr 15 mins (my official time was 02:07:21). One thing’s for sure is that Freckleton bothers me no more and while I won’t be running half marathons every month or whatever I will certainly want to go out to improve my time at some point but Sunday was a good day.