Sometimes everything comes together, months of training, nutrition, the weather, a bit of luck and you run the perfect race.
Today for me this was not the case.
A 20 miler. A marathon warm up. A race that was not enjoyed last year – but this year I was ready! I’d put in the graft- I’d nailed the pace in a training run just a few weeks ago- bring it on!
Unfortunately, a week off work and too many overconfident miles resulted in a hamstring strain 3 weeks ago, I thought I was over it this morning. Still feeling confident.
Starting right at the back ( after the necessary nervous wee, in the not too horrendous portaloo!) was actually a good thing, thanks to chip timing it helped me relax, and passing a few slower runners I gained confidence.
I hit 9 miles still feeling good- last year’s nemesis mile, yay.
Then 11.5 miles in the headwind started. At first I coped – still managing brief moments of conversation with fellow runners just. Taking a painkiller mid-run, choking on it only to have to spit it out mid choking fit was possibly the first (unfortunately not the last) real low point!
Then mile 14….. possibly the worst 4 miles of running followed, head wind with no shelter, just the view of runners stretched out in front of me with no let-up – turning me into a mess of mardy tantrums aimed towards my running partner- yes I did actually cry at one point. I didn’t think I’d even finish- had it not been for his words of encouragement I would definitely have given up!
Mile 18.5 back in civilisation, I literally had nothing left in the tank and the knowledge from last year of the final hill I had to climb around the next turn, but another girl struggling reminded me – “I can do this” – I’ve come this far. I think I blurted out, “we can do this – it’s less than a parkrun!”
I did it- I got up the hill 32 seconds slower than last year and having discovered for the second time in my life, 20 mile races are just not my thing.
But I did it, and do you know what – it’s okay because I’m not giving up on my dream marathon time. The weather will be better, my hamstring will be better and I will run another race!