I’m currently sat writing this about 6 hours after crossing the finish line, very stiff, knees that are likely to give up when I stand up next, and 3 less toe nails. I’m not joking.
Today (or last Sunday when this goes up) I ran my first (of many) half marathons. I’m feeling a whole load of emotions, I’m overwhelmed, tired, proud and a little bit emosh. But the achievement and pride that has come with this is outweighing all of the not so nice things that subsequently occur after pushing your body to the extreme.
I started running around 3 years ago when I was in a pretty bad place with my mental health, my dad told me the benefits and correlation between the two and I thought, well whats the worst that could happen. The blood, sweat, tears and pain never even crossed my mind at this point. I went on my first run, and no lie failed to reach the end of the road without the assistance of my inhaler, however, 3 years on, I’ve just accomplished my first half marathon, in 1 hour 50 minutes. 1 HOUR BLOODY 50.
A half marathon is no joke, it might not be the full thing but it is just as challenging, both mentally and physically. I whizzed round the first 10 miles, hitting 8 minute miles every time, but come mile 11 my body was aching for the finish line. This is when I struggled in training too – so it didn’t really come as too much of a surprise! Me being me though, blocked out the pain, tuned into my music and focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and making it over the finish line, with a sprint finish, of course!
I would consider myself fairly knowledgeable when it comes to running, so if you’re thinking of taking it up or you’re running a marathon sometime soon, here’s some running truths for ya…
Your Feet Will Never Be Pretty Again
Not that feet are particularly pretty anyway, however once you’re a committed runner, blisters, cracked heels, and missing toe nails are all frequent occurrences. No matter how much moisturiser, foot scrub or ointments, they will never be the same again, believe me.
Consistency Is Key
Running is hard, and it’s easy to just give up once you feel uncomfortable, you can expect to go our on your first run and comeback feeling amazing. You’ll be sweaty, out of breath, and probably a bit sore. However, making it a part of your weekly routine, your body will eventually (probably quite reluctantly) get used to the pressure, and you’ll soon be running marathons like me.
Push Yourself But Know Your Limits
If you want to progress making yourself feel a bit uncomfortable is key. You shouldn’t be running feeling comfortable, not if you want to get faster/increase your distance. Having said this, it’s also key to know when to stop pushing yourself, listening to your body when it’s had enough.
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
You would’ve thought that after 3 years I’ve mastered stretching, I haven’t and in all honestly I find it the most boring thing in the world. Once I’m ready for my run, I just want to get going, however stretching is important if you want to be somewhat of a good runner, also crucial if you don’t want be in constant pain all the time.
You Might Cry (or fall over)
Or do both, if you’re a clumsy old soul like myself. I’ve fallen over, ripped legging and cried after races before (also during, my first ever 10k was a struggle, let me tell you). But it’s all character building, right?
The Harder The Challenge, The Greater The Reward
Like anything in life, really. The first time I ran a 5k, I still remember the incredible sense of achievement. The same with 10k. And even more so with my half marathon. So much so that I was in tears as I crossed the finish line. I did something I never thought possible, and I’m bloody proud of myself.
Hope you also all enjoyed laughing at red, sweaty Han, just to prove a point that if you’re not dripping, you haven’t worked hard enough!