I have run every Cambridge half Marathon event since it started in 2011. Today was the first time I actually enjoyed it. Previously there has always been something that has not gone my way – from falling over to being ill. Not so this year.
I set out with the idea that this was another training with the added bonus of a medal at the end. I was under no pressure to get a time, I was just going to get round. This year, as with nearly every other, they had changed the route but this was a big change: 1 loop instead of 2. On paper I was dreading this as I thought it would feel a long way out to Granchester as it is a long way from the centre of the city and the crowds.
In reality it was lovely. The miles ticked by nicely and there was good support along much of the route which makes a huge difference. The sun came out, I met some lovely people along the way and had a good chat. There were a couple of bands along the way (the drummers along Elizabeth Way Bridge was awesome).
Deciding what to wear was a bit of a dilemma as it was really cold first thing. I decided on a long-sleeved top under my vest but as we were waiting to hand our bags in the sun came out and I had a sudden change of heart. I would wear just my vest with my arm warmers. As we set off along the first mile I thought that I had made a huge mistake but as we got going I knew I had been correct. The sun even came out. 🙂
A Slight Blip
As it had been cold, I hadn’t realised just how cold my body had got and as I started off I really couldn’t feel my feet and my fingers got pins and needles as the warmth returned. The trouble with not feeling my feet was that my running style changed as I was slapping my feet down on the ground. This meant I had real pain along my left shin. To begin with I was worried that I would have to drop out or run the risk of getting shin splints which could jeopardise my marathon. Luckily after 2 miles the pain went and I could run properly again. I did stop to loosen my laces a bit later as it felt like the blood off from my toes and I worried I might lose one of them. This really helped and I had no more issues for the rest of the race.
My mile times say it all: The first was 10.05 followed by 5 consistent miles of 9.47, 9,.45, 9.44, 9.50, 9.44. There was then a mile of 10.01. I think this was the mile where I stopped to loosen my shoelace. Mile 8 was 9.56 followed by 9.53, 9.20, 9.30, 9.29 and then 8.37!!! I could obviously smell the finish line. There was a moment when I wondered if I was being a bit silly but I dismissed these thoughts. I had something to prove to myself!
I am so very, very happy with myself. It has been a real revelation that you can run that sort of distance and not die half way around. I thought that was just my lot. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it and not just the end. I have high hopes for the marathon now. Because I am the mouthy sort of person that I am when I saw someone really struggling I tried to say something positive to them to try to encourage them. I knew exactly what they were going through and can remember how much everyone’s kind words to me meant. It is my way of giving back a little to the running community.