Towards the end of September, whilst I was out I came across a sign that said there would be a half marathon taking place soon and, on this day, the road would be closed. When I saw the sign, it was just under three days until the race.
This event pulled me in and I instantly started to think about what it would be like to take part. For about a day after this, I was thinking about whether I should take the next step or not and soon enough, I decided to go for it.
Part of me believed that I had what it took to complete the 13.1 miles, while another, smaller part of me wasn't sure. As I regularly walk, workout, run around 6 miles on average and I had run ten miles at the start of the year without feeling exhausted at the end, I knew I could do it.
The other part of me that wasn't so sure was concerned that I would end up experiencing a lot of pain and have to stop. So, although this part of me just wanted to complete it, the other part of me wasn't just taking part to make up the numbers, it was taking part to do well.
On the day I was feeling confident and, after learning that the first part should be run with my head, the second part with my personality and the third with my heart, I was ready to pace myself. I did pace myself for much of the race and although I felt fairly worn out after I made it to the halfway point, I kept going.
In addition to being helped by the energy chews and drink that I took, the support of the spectators also played a massive part. Each time I received this support, I was filled with a bit more energy.
The Final Part
After I had run around 9 miles, I started to increase my speed but towards the end, I was taken out by a fairly steep hill. I wasn't willing to stop but I did run up the hill very slowly and once I got to the top, I was knackered, to say the least.
When I looked forward, the closest runner was a little way away so I didn't see the point in speeding up. Soon enough, I was at the finish line and while I was worn out at the end, I didn't feel like I was about to die or anything, so I was pleased that I was able to finish the race.
The Next Stage
Even so, once I started to settle down, I ended up feeling angry that I hadn't done better. I felt that I could have pushed myself more and attained a far better time - my time was 1:52.
I messaged a friend and he told me that this was just the beginning and next time I would do a lot better. I ended up spending the next few days analysing my run and where I could have done better and what I needed to do differently next time.
Race Number Two
At the end of my first race, someone told me about a castle run but it was only a week after and I ended up finding out that it had sold out. This was a good thing as while I was able to run my body was nowhere near ready to run another half marathon so soon.
After a week had passed, I ended up finding a race that wasn't too far away and this would take place in two weeks time. This time I knew that I had what it took to run the whole thing, so I was ready to push myself.
Raring To Go
At the start point, I was filled with energy and felt excited and confident. This time, I increased my speed more or less right from the beginning as I knew I had to go for it.
I hadn't done a great deal of running since my last race but after not feeling totally warm out last time, I knew I had the energy to go faster and to attain a better time. At around the 7-mile point, I ended up putting my foot on the gas and I ended up running through an area that I had driven through when I was visiting a castle a while back, which was totally unexpected by it gave me a boost.
The Wall Was Close
However, it was long until the small hills started to appear, this was an 'undulated' course, and this was when I started to feel it. I hadn't 'hit the wall' but I was centrally running low on energy.
At this moment, I ended up imagining my late father, grandfather and two uncles. I heard that they can support me but they can't run for me and after this, I was able to tap into more energy and I increased my speed.
The hills went on and on and I soon felt as though my energy had left me and there were about two miles left. Fortunately, I was able to tap into more energy and I ran pretty first until I was close to the finish line.
Once I got to this point I was totally washed out and while I didn't want to throw away the progress that I had made by running faster through most of the course, I simply didn't have the energy to maintain my speed. I looked up at the clock it said 1:3 something, so I knew I had done a lot better.
At the end, I was exhausted and I needed a little while to settle down but it wasn't long until I was back to normal. Towards the end of the day, I found out that my time was 1:39, so I was very pleased with the 13 minutes that I had shaved off my previous time.
Onwards and Upwards
Interestingly, as the days went by, my body wasn't as sore as it was after the previous run even though I had run faster and the course was a lot hard. Now that I have run two half marathons and seen how fast the people are who are at the front, to win a race I would need to have a time of around 1:15, I can see that I need to be in very good to get to the next level.
After completing my first half marathon, I was filled with confidence and belief and I wondered what else I was capable of achieving. Have you ever run a half or a full marathon? If so, what effect did it have on you?
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.