Half Marathon .. DONE!

Today I ran the Ranelagh Harriers Richmond Half Marathon.

And I didn’t even die like I thought I might.

The best part of running endurance races around London is that I’m always so in awe of my surroundings that it gives me a lift when I’m feeling sore or tired.

Today the race started at Richmond Park and we ran all the way to Twickenham, Teddington and down to Hampton Court which was the 6 mile mark (I know I’m an Aussie and it’s practically illegal there to use imperial measurements but I live in England). Then it wound up along the river through Kingston and Richmond and then back to Ham.

Anyway I’ve been plagued with a calf injury lately and my legs get really sore much quicker than usual, and at around 6 miles, the race turned off the main road and I was greeted by this …

hampton court

Hampton Court Palace. It’s not every day you get to run past Henry VIII’s old digs, is it?

It gave me a bit of a boost and I continued running along the riverside at Hampton and Hampton Wick. I have a bit of an obsession with the Thames .. to most people it’s an ugly, cold and muddy river, but there is something very magical about it and unless you’ve spent a lot of time on or around it it’s hard to understand. We are lucky enough to live right by it and I spend hours and hours running around it and love it.

At mile 11 I hit a wall. I ran out of the pink jelly beans Holly had wrapped up for me and there were no more water stations to come. The mild cramp that had been niggling in my butt since mile 2 totally seized up and I had to slow down to a limping run while I tried to massage it out. Alongside me was a guy who had the same problem, I’d seen him stopping to stretch and I’d pass him and then he’d overtake me and stop again, etc. and we started limping along together.

I told him we were going to finish this together without stopping even if we had to crawl across the finish line and he agreed. We chatted about anything to make the time go faster and he told me he was in the Navy and only got given his race place on friday by his friend who was injured and couldn’t run. And here I was in training since November.

I had trained so hard for this half marathon. Nothing was going to get in the way of me finishing it. I totally understand athletes that push through injuries and make them worse, it’s such a difficult thing to do to withdraw from a race you have your heart set on when you’re injured. It’s why people risk it and end up even more injured.

Mile 12 and I thought I was going to faint. My arse had cramped so badly and I probably would have stopped if I hadn’t seen some ridiculously fit runner who had finished his race and was running back home. Like 13.1 miles wasn’t enough for him.

So I did it. I ran 21km without stopping in two hours and seven minutes.

No drug on earth can beat that feeling.

The finish line!

The finish line!

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