Wow what a day… I ran the Wicklow Half Marathon today along with some of my wonderful running buddies from my PositiveRunning group. Wasn’t the weather phenomenal? It really was a perfect day to run.

I have to admit I was extremely apprehensive going into today’s run. I have huge respect for races, I know it sounds very serious of me altogether.  But I honestly believe that preparing properly for these distances is the least I can do, they demand so much from out bodies.  Unfortunately I did the exact opposite of preparing well.

Don’t get me wrong, as a fitness trainer I am very active on a daily basis, but I haven’t been as running focused as I usually am.  I’m studying to be a Yoga Teacher, so most of my spare time right now is taken up with that.  Life is busy and it’s great.  I guess something had to take a backseat over the past few weeks and unfortunately it was my running.

Having said that, I completed the half marathon and am very thankful, especially since I did quite well too!  But most importantly I learned few little things along the way which can only be a great thing I think!

 

I won’t be doing that again soon!

I will never, ever run again… Ok maybe a slight overreaction. What I mean is, I will never, ever run unprepared again, at least I’ll do my very best not to. I think my lack of preparation meant I missed out on the enjoyment of the run. The build-up is usually a fun mix of excitement and anxiety, but this time round it wasn’t fun at all.  I was really unsure, apprehensive and quite petrified to be honest.  I was constantly worried about my body’s ability. Would it give up on me? Would I be able to walk tomorrow? Was I being totally irresponsible running with such little prep?

Next time I’ll be ready to enjoy it more than I did today – well as much as you can enjoy 21.1km!!

 

Sometimes sheer determination will get you through.

Don’t get me wrong, I am fit – I run, spin and am very active daily – but I wasn’t as focused on my running training as I would usually be. The voice in my head was telling me I wouldn’t be able for it and I listened to her right up until the start line. I had myself convinced that I would have a terrible run, it would be gruelling and my legs would probably give in and I would more than likely end up injured. I was totally stressed thinking about my classes and clients for the week ahead. If I’m injured what will they do!? What will I do!?

At the start line I gave myself a good smack in the gob, set my watch to pace me at a good speed and figured I’d give it socks and see how that would work. Well it worked very well. I’m won’t lie, it was gruelling.  It was actually the hardest course I’ve run to date. Wicklow is only gorgeous, but it’s also only the most hilly feckin’ county in Leinster! This poor city girl is traumatised and sore, but chuffed!  I didn’t give up, my mind took me along the entire route, determined not to stop.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, breaking down the ultimate goal of 13.1 miles. I focused on the first quarter, then the second, then on the time lapsed and the time remaining.  Good friends of mine came out to cheer us on so I was focusing on seeing them.  I kept telling myself; “just one more mile, then I’ll see how I am, if I need to ill stop”.  I didn’t.

I thought of people who can’t run, who want to run but are sick or simply unable to take time for themselves. I feel so lucky to run, I am so lucky to run. I kept reminding myself that there is worse pain than running up a few steep hills.  Running is not only a choice I make it’s something I am blessed with and I reminded myself of that during those hilly, hellish moments.

 

Mother Nature reminds us we aren’t all that.

The sun makes everything better, doesn’t it? Wicklow really blew me away today – the colours, smells, silence and sounds. Along the way I was incredibly grateful to have such beauty to remind me that after all it is about a lot more than race times or pace. Nature’s beauty has a way of catapulting you back to what’s really important, what’s really real. It’s not about you and your run; it’s about a lot more than that. Mother Nature calls the shots and we better believe it!

 

wicklow view
People need people.

Oh boy did I need my people today. Saturday night, engulfed in fear, I text the girls telling them I f wasn’t ready – I was contemplating doing the 10K instead of the half. I got this message in return, Oh sweetie I don’t think ANY of us are looking forward to this but we’re alive & the sun is out. We’re gonna pull each other through.”

This is why running with a group is amazing.

I honestly think I would have pulled out if it hadn’t been for the girls I ran with today– Judi, Viv, Nichola and Derv (who couldn’t make it on the day but was there all along and in spirit!). It’s my job to encourage the girls and drag them along on days when they don’t want to get out of bed but in reality they are as much a support to me as I am to them. It truly is a team effort; women empowering each other to give their very best.

Everyone runs for different reasons. Today the girls reminded me why I love exercise and running in particular. The energy we all came away from today’s run with was phenomenal. Each of us went out there today despite many reasons not to and proved something to ourselves, whether it was physical or mental. We silenced the doubt and gave ourselves a massive pat on the back.

I run because I love to run, I love the freedom, the buzz, the laughs, the tears, the chats, the achievement, the energy from the people around you – fellow participants, the crowd, your support network – but mostly I run so I can eat lots and lots of yummy chocolate biscuit cake afterwards, which is what I’m sitting down to right now!

Have a lovely Sunday evening.

Liz x