Monday, 23 May 2011

The gory details

Ok. I'm slightly less exhausted tonight, so a bit more of a detailed blog post about yesterday's adventure.

For anyone who has been asleep for the last week and hasn't already heard me rabbit on about this, yesterday saw me running my first ever half marathon. It was in Edinburgh as part of the Marathon Festival, and I finished in a very creditable (in my opinion as a first timer) time of 2:20:06. I was aiming for 2:20 or under so those 6 seconds are a bit of a nuisance, but in reality just finishing was achievement enough for me! However, to put it in perspective, the winner of the overall marathon completed his 26 miles in a minute less than it took me to complete my 13! Hmm.

It was a tough gig, and really has made me wonder if I will be fit enough to complete my marathon madness challenge for the year, competing with the awesome Just Frances at the Loch Ness marathon in October. My time was pretty good for a newbie - remember I only took up running last year - and is pretty consistent with my 10 minute mile pace, although it did fall off as the race went on yesterday. Miles 8 to 11 were my own personal 'wall' experience - legs locking up, feelings of failure setting in, extreme exhaustion - there was nothing for it but to lock down and just grind it out, pace after pace after pace. I was living from mile marker to mile marker - you can see the pain on my race photos, which I'll post online when I get the download link.

And then miraculously the mile marker read 12 and there was just over a mile to go to the finish line. The crowds started appearing, cheering us runners on and then, it was round the roundabout and there was the finish line. A final spurt of speed - oh please, let this be over - propelled me across the finish line and saw me complete the race. Oh the bliss - except I was too stone tired to feel anything other than dizzy. Ok, dizzy and strangely emotional. If I hadn't been so tired I think I would have cried - instead I started hyperventilating, not a pleasant experience after running for over 2 hours.

The final challenge was to negotiate my way through the finish palaver - water, medals, t-shirts, photos, race pack, bags. There was no end to it. But fortunately, eventually I found my way to the reunion area and my own personal guardian angel, the amazing Sue who stepped in at the last minute to be my one woman support team. She was waiting with hugs, bottles of juice, sweets and moral support. She even carried my bag to the shuttle bus. What a woman, couldn't have done it without you!!

When I eventually got myself back to Stirling it was all I could do to drag myself home, run a hot bath and (much to Cat's delight) slump on the couch for the next few hours. Perfect protein/carb meal of baked beans and cheese on toast rounded the day off, in bed by 9.30 pm, fast asleep by not much later. I was a tired, happy, sore, exhilarated, excited, exhausted bunny, that's for sure.

Today has been spent recuperating. I'm so pleased I had the sense to book the day off. I managed a quick trip into Stirling for coffee and that's about it. An afternoon of alternatively watching movies and the weather was about all I could manage.

So the big question remains - if I do my training for real from now, will I be ready for a marathon in October? The honest answer is, I don't know. I realised yesterday (and today, ouch!) what a seriously big undertaking this is. I can't really imagine running twice as far as I did yesterday. But then again, that's what I thought after my first 10k, and I managed that yesterday.

Watch this space, that's probably the most I can say for now.


Colin Tipping said...

Hi Rebecca,
Congratulations on your run on Sunday - don't let 6 seconds matter! Having seen you're in Stirling (I'm in Crieff), if you're concerned enough about your marathon training to share some of it with a (generally harmless) old bloke, happy to do so. If you'd also like a copy of my 16-week training schedule for Edinburgh, you're welcome; email me at if so.
Regards, Colin Tipping

Bex said...

Thanks Colin.
As you can probably tell, it was a big achievement for me on Sunday and I'm glad to say that I'm feeling almost back to normal and recovered today!
I may well take you up on your offer of sharing some of the training. But for now, i'm taking a short break before I start pounding the pavements again. But only a short one!
best wishes and thanks for your supportive comment