So when I am writing this, it’s two days ago that I have been running my half-Marathon.
And there is a reason why I actually am just typing this now – on Sunday I was in no mental shape to really comprehend what had happened (I finished my first half marathon – totally odd, looking at the fact I had hated running until last year March or so), and on Sunday I was busy traveling. And even less in any shape to catch a clear thought.
Now that I am sitting here and enjoying the calming view onto the garden, it´s time to recapture and enjoy looking back to this event that I had worked for so hard during all those months.
So, let’s get started!
On Sunday I woke up literally every couple of hours, fearing i might have overslept and would be too late to get to the start in time.
I didn’t oversleep, but I felt kinda off track and eating as well as drinking was quite a problem. I really had to force myself, and that though I wasn’t really nervous anymore. It was calm excitement of what was to come, nothing more.
With my specially chosen playlist on my headphones I started my trip to St. Pauli, as the start was at the Reeperbahn. It was crowded, and I was happy that I was able to store my stuff with my mum and stepdad so I could warm up properly, all focused. With music. And then queueing for the toilet…needless to say, it took ages and did stress me out. The starting time came closer and closer and where was I?! Yep, waiting for my turn.
At least I had a short distance to get to the pacemakers of the 2:15h finish time, because there had been my goal.
First off: amazing and fun people, our pacemakers. Motivating, caring…already when being there and waiting for the fun to start, I met new people and soon it got clear that I had a running partner. Usually I don’t run with anyone, but with her it was fun.
I think up until kilometre 7 we were able to keep up with the pacemmakers, and then at the first drinking supply stop we lost them -because they had their bottles and we had to grab something and lost a lot of time with that. But we were still together so we kept pushing ourselves, even though it started to be tough for me early on – my asthmatic problems were back full force, and that was frustrating and made running a bloody hell.
Km 7 – or as my motivational quote on the paper said: “you still look good, keep going!”. What quote? What paper?! My stepdad had written me each a little statement on a piece of folded paper for I’m 8, 14, 17 and 19. And only at this kilometre I was allowed to open and read it. At that moment it made me smile and nearly cry, because I felt terrible but knew I had to keep pushing and keep going no matter how warm it was and no matter how hard breathing was.
We ran along the harbor, and and the organizers called it a Sightseeing run- Well okay, to be fair, I cannot remember much of where I was running. I remember the people supporting, but that’s it pretty much.
So yeah, my highlight on the route was actually run into through a tunnel with a DJ making music in there – it was goosebumps feeling, really. Such moments give you new energy, and new bits of will to just keep going when you don’t want to anymore. And I didn’t want to anymore already at that time – aka km 9/10.
At km11 my stepdad was waiting for me – and easy lot of help! Nose spray against my blocked nose (made breathing so much easier again) and my drinking bottle that later on saved my was pretty much. And it’s so good to see familiar faces that support you. So essential. No words how important that it. And I kept going and going and it became hotter, the sun was seemingly burning down and the wind that blew from the front didn’t really cool you down but just made it harder to keep running. At least for me.
The set up “showers” where you were able to run through were hilarious (except the last one) , the water hardly reached the body because it’s been so warm hahahah but it was a nice try and got everyone excited every time from new.
At some point the water places had ran out of their damned plastic cups – well fuck, for those that needed one. I was so happy to have my water bottle that they just had to fill up every time…I would have freaked out otherwise. Because I needed drinking a lot, far more than I had expected.
Km 14 – my legs hurt, my ankles hurt and my legs felt like being filled with something heavy. I was annoyed and…urghs. but time for opening another of the motivational papers: “turning around now would be pretty dumb…”. Indeed. 7km to go, 14 done already. It was the time when I ended up having to read out loud the statement, and the other runners also had a good laugh about it. Spot on,because I felt like returning but nope. Keep running. Just like all the people around me who all did not look that happy anymore to say the least.
I always and again and again had times where breathing was massively tough, and where I needed my asthmatic spray. Haven’t had such troubles for ages, and battling this and the general exhaustion was mentally tiring. But my running mate kept pushing me and kept pushing her. Giving up never was an option, no matter if it was feeling dizzy, having cramps in the legs or what not. But I got slower. Much slower. But at that time I already had given up on my planned finish time, it didn’t matter anymore. Finishing itself had become the goal again.
Km17 – or: “now you gotta grit your teeth” – again, on spot. Everything hurt. Every bloody muscle in my body hurt. “Only 4m left, only 4!” became a mantra. Luckily one of my running mate’s friends accompanied and pushed us biking along as much as she could. I had moments where I just wanted to curl up and cry.
Okay, I shed a teat or two , but only during kilometre 19. Because that last paper said “nearly there! We’re waiting for you!“. 2 more kilometres. And during km 20 my stepdad was there again to cheer on me and support me and even ran with me for a while.
Km20 was the worst one – not quite there but so close and yet so far away. And then it went uphill. And I don’t mean my running became better or easier. No, the finish line meant you had to run uphill. Worst thing ever. Every muscle burnt, and I felt like I was a bunny on drugs and between pain and manically smiling.
My mum can confirm that, having waited and cheered on me just a bit before the finish line 😉 I even tried posing for a photo but I was too fast still xD it was good to have someone so close to the finish line waiting for me again!
And then I checked the time: 2:24:02 – and I had still had a bit to go to the finish line. My head said: finish under 2:25. My legs said “well fuck you but…okay”- and the last bits of energy that my body had hidden somewhere were released and even though it felt like themselves inky upper legs were ripping into pieces, I ran. One step, a second one. And pulled through.
2:24:52h . Close call and 10min slower than my goal finish time. But I made it. I survived.
And I didn’t bother too long anymore about having been slower than planned.
I was happy I was there and it felt amazing to get this beautiful medal. Got the time stamped into the back of it as well, and then didn’t stay for too long anymore after some chatting her and there, because I needed some calm time.
To relax. To shower. To realize what I had just achieved because I didn’t feel anything. Except pain and exhaustion. It was like this emptiness, not in a negative way just…I was too exhausted to feel or think anything.
Later on we went to have dinner at an Italian restaurant close by my flat and then afterwards I had my timeout and enjoyed the silence. And for the first time realized what I really had achieved.
Things I have learned for the next time (yes, there WILL be a next time for sure!):
– get a bottle or drinking belt to avoid times waiting for grabbing sth to drink
– drink more the days before the run and really avoid doing anythig exhausting during those days
– eat less carbs compared to this time before running – I felt like a bloated whale stranded on the beach
– get new running socks
– pack even more dextro energy bars (because sharing is caring)