Monday, March 8, 2010
Placed 6962 out of 10858
So I ran the half marathon yesterday and have yet to come down from my high. It was such an amazing experience, and I felt remarkably good for the whole race! I think a large portion of my positive experience had to do with the fact that I consciously avoided freaking out and stressing about the race. There was so much to worry about - guilt for not training while I was in Rome, my less-than-stellar diet this week, lack of sleep. When it came down to it, though, I had trained well and was prepared and I knew it. There's always more that I could have done, but clearly in this case, it was enough, and I'm very proud of my accomplishment.
After a modest breakfast of cereal, yogurt, and rice milk, I took my water bottle and headed down to the city. It was about 9:30 when I got in and there were lots of sporty looking folks flooding into the Runner's Village where I met Kate and Liz, girls I know from the running club at work. Because I'd tried so hard not to think about the race, I wound up having to scrounge for safety pins to attach my number to my shirt (note to self: next time, think about the race at least a little bit to wind up avoiding this situation). I was so glad I'd decided to run for a charity. In addition to feeling good about raising money for the Cats and Dogs Home, it was good to have a home base to leave my stuff (and eat Cadbury Creme Eggs!!!). It was a pretty chilly day all around, and there were lots of people with plastic garbage bags on to keep warm. By the time we were all herded to the gate, the tips of almost all my fingers and toes were frozen, and I don't think I completely thawed until the 4th mile! As there were over 10,000 people running, when I finally got to the start of the race, the clock was already on 00:13! Luckily, we all had chips on our sneakers that were activated when we reached the arch and deactivated when we came back through, giving the race time for each runner.
The atmosphere in the city was really fantastic. There were all sorts of people cheering us on all along the route. It reminded me of a parade atmosphere; it was a beautiful, sunny day, and thousands of people were on the street cheering on 11,000 crazy people who had decided to run 13.1 miles. There was a fantastic drumming group set up in Queen Square at the top of one of the only inclines on the whole route, and as we came down Upper Bristol Road, stereos were blasting all kinds of upbeat music, including "Eye of the Tiger". We were about halfway down that road (about 3-4 miles into our run) when we were lapped by the leaders of the pack. What a humbling experience it was for us to be doing our best and see them just fly right by us like so many wild animals.
Even though I was running for just over two hours, I never got bored. There was always something to see, whether it was a fuel station coming up, another runner's funny costume, or spectators looking for their loved ones (I also kept my eye out for Sweaty Betty clothes, and saw quite a few ladies sporting our goods). My favorite part was the kids on the side of the road holding their hands out for us to slap as we ran by...the BEST was when they saw their parents running and started yelling "Go Mummy!!!". There is really nothing cuter than a kid with a British accent.
Although I'd started out running with both Kate and Liz, we lost Liz on the first lap, so it was me and Kate for the rest of the race. Though we'd never really talked before, it was really nice having the companionship, especially as neither of us had ever done the race before. We chatted a bit and shared water bottles and Lucozade before tossing them away. She had glucose tablets and I had Jelly Babies, a sort of jelly bean/gummy bear hybrid candy that packs a huge sugar rush. Coming around the final mile, the crowd was really encouraging and sweet, particularly considering they'd already been at it for an hour and still had at least another to go! As we passed the 13 mile mark, I realised that I could totally keep running, but was very grateful to stop, which felt pretty amazing. My legs weren't quite sure what to do after moving at a 9:30/mile pace for two hours.
It took about 30 minutes to make my way through the crowd, get my medal and goody bag and get to the shop where I was meeting Chad. All the girls were super encouraging and I felt like I'd really accomplished something. I've never been much of an athlete, but I think I can finally consider myself one. I've gotten the sweetest messages on Facebook congratulating me and telling me that I'm inspiring, and I have to say, it feels awesome to be told that. So, thank you all for your support. I really appreciate it!!
In FACT, it's been such a positive experience that I've registered for the Cardiff Half in October! This time, I'll be raising money for the Christian Lewis Trust for children with cancer in honor of Phoebe Holland-Thompson, the granddaughter of some very good friends of mine, who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. If you'd like to sponsor me, you can click on my Just Giving link on the side of the page or go to my fund raising site. My goal is £200, but I'd love to double that if I can!
Thanks again for all your love and support! It means more to me than I can say.
Posted by Sarah at 3:16 AM