If you had told me 2 years ago that I would one day run a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. I was never much of a runner until I started going to Parkrun every Saturday morning (or to be more realistic, every second Saturday) that’s when I realised 5km’s is much further than you think. I absolutely hated Parkrun, Its free self-willing torture where I would wake up at a ridiculous hour on a Saturday morning to run for what feels like the longest half hour of my life. I think my endorphins at the end over ruled the feeling of torture because I just carried on going back setting small goals for myself; I am now very close to doing my 50thParkrun. I went from 5km Parkruns to doing one 10km (Just one) to a half a marathon in just a few months. I don’t often half-ass things. I either give it my all or I just give up. I think when I entered my first half marathon I had a moment of optimism.
A week before my first half marathon Jason wanted to do a 10km training run for my half marathon and his marathon, but I was meeting family at Gilroys Brewery for lunch and couldn’t do both, unless I ran there (its funny how my mind works isn’t it?) I think another moment of optimism because it was 21km from my house to Giroys. I was waiting for a “just kidding” but those words just didn’t come. We quickly got dressed and headed off telling my parents to keep an eye out for us incase we needed a lift. We started off with a little trot, thinking this isn’t so bad, but that was quickly replaced by “woah, you have clearly forgotten that you have never run more than 10km in your life” but at that point quitting was not an option and forced my legs to push harder. Once I start something I will always finish it, no matter how hard I have to push myself. We got to a seriously long hill; I was really wondering what I had gotten myself into as I felt my throat close up in a panic. I felt a serge of adrenaline and I eventually got into the rhythm and I could feel my heart beating in my feet as they hit the ground. I felt okay except for the occasional uphill where my muscles would hurt and my lungs desperate for air, more air. We ran 15km in 1hour 40minutes and that was when we saw my parents anxiously waiting for us but we stupidly decided not to take their offer to drive us as we only had 6km left (That’s like a Parkrun, its easy). We quickly stopped at the garage for a coke and carried on running. I think that was our biggest mistake because it’s much harder than you think to get those little legs moving again. The last 4 km with about 3 km uphill (I might be exaggerating there) was the hardest thing I have ever done, everything in my body just said no. My muscles were sore and it felt like my footsteps echoed down the road as I stomped one foot in front of the other, but I tackled that long hill after my legs were ready to quit. I continued running for what seemed like longer than it should have taken to get to the parking lot but it was probably because I was so desperate to finish. We took 45 minutes to run the last 6km but we were done and there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that beer at the end never tasted so good. I was so tired I couldn’t even lift my beer mug, which is funny because I didn’t run with my arms, although at some point I’m pretty sure I was crawling.
Official half marathon race day came. I couldn’t believe I woke up at a ridiculous hour to stand in the freezing cold to put myself through that torture again. The timer started and the crowd of runners started moving, I quickly I felt the warmth seep into my muscles and my breathing matched the beat of my feet hitting the round, it suddenly felt so easy as though I was flying in autopilot. 5km seemed to have come very quickly, which was such a relief. All I can say about that race is that I just ran and ran and ran and it felt so good, oh and it’s harder than you think trying to drink out of a cup while running, but it just felt so unnatural to walk. I finished my first official half marathon in 2 hours 8 minutes and still felt strong as I moved my legs as fast as I could towards the finish line. My mind was blown; I did not expect it to go that well, what a relief.
I still have no idea why I run, why I carried on doing Parkrun even though I hated it. I just can’t stop, maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishing something I never imagined, even those small little goals I set for myself made me feel so good and I just begged for more.