I did it! On Sunday 22nd September 2013 I completed the Tonbridge Half Marathon in aid of Oxfam. If you’ve read my pre-race post you’d know that I wasn’t overly confident and hadn’t trained as much as I ought to have done. In the hour leading up to the race, I found myself in fits of laughter – I think I just found it hilarious that I was about to take part in a half marathon! I’ve never liked sport, I didn’t join any PE clubs in school and only did the bare minimum required, and before the race I’d never even run a whole mile without stopping!
I can’t say that I had a race plan. My intention was pretty simple – to finish. Using my average pace from my training sessions (which were usually only 3 or 4 miles) I was able to calculate that I should be able to finish around the 3 hour mark, but I had no idea what kind of pace I would be able to keep over 13 miles!
It was quite a slow start once the clock was set, so I felt pretty comfortable to keep pace with everyone around me, and I was feeling pretty good! I kept my head down and tried to maintain my pace, and I was really happy when I saw the 1 mile mark ahead – I was finally able to run my first whole mile! I was mindful that I didn’t want to overdo it too early in the race, so I slowed to a walk for a while, and continued on the following few miles with walking and running intervals. The first few miles definitely seemed to progress quite slowly – I was always expecting the next mile marker to be just around the corner when it wasn’t! After the 4th mile I felt like I got into my stride and I was really starting to enjoy myself, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t really hard work! I was excited to get to the half way point, and from there count down the miles to the finish! From about mile 8 I decided to walk the following miles – I was struggling a lot with hip and knee pain, (I think my joints might be old for my age!), so I wanted to make sure I didn’t push myself too much, and I wanted to be able to run the 400m sprint finish! I had a couple of short running bursts in the final few miles, when I was coming back through Leigh where crowds were gathered to cheer us on, and when I passed the official event photographers – gotta give a good impression, haven’t you?!
The last two miles were a huge struggle – just after I passed the 11 mile marker I had some shooting pain through my right knee, and felt like I started to limp on my right leg. It was at this point that I began to think quite seriously that I might need a hip replacement! Of course I feel much better now! I kept pushing on through those last two miles, and looking back at my RunKeeper I’m surprised that I managed to maintain a pace just under 15 min/mile – I thought I was going a lot slower!
With the 400m sprint finish in sight, I was just happy that it would all be over soon, and I managed to run to the finish line with my family, and even some strangers, cheering me on!
I finished the race with a chip time of 02:54:46 – I’m super pleased to have come in under 3 hours! A very happy achievement!
My Dad used some video of my start and finish, as well as some pictures that were taken on the day, to put together this cool little video…
It wasn’t an easy challenge, and I think that perhaps I’m maybe more suited to something like yoga than running, but I cannot say how pleased I am that I completed the Tonbridge Half Marathon. I’m so thankful for the support and encouragement I’ve received all along the way – it’s made the whole journey worthwhile! I did all of this to raise vital funds for Oxfam, so please, if you can, visit my JustGiving page and spare a little to save someone’s life. Thank you.