Back in July 2019, I signed up for the Vitality Big Half in London. Convinced that, by March 2020, I’d be a size 10 and capable of running half-marathons in my sleep. Of course, when the event did come along, I was the same size as when I signed up and the furthest I’d run/walked was 6 very slow miles. So, once again I had a decision to make, do I drop out of another event or do I take advantage of the generous 4 hour cut-off time and give it a go?
The decision was made a bit easier by the fact that my son lives in London and so I’d be traveling to the city to visit him, whether I ran or not. I seemed to me that if I had to get up at 04:45 anyway (because hubby would still do the event) I might as well just run the thing. I told myself that if I was finding it tough I would just stop and get a tube to the finish.
So off we set at 05:15 on Sunday morning, car laden with running kit, change of clothes and food and drink for pre/post and during the run. We crawled along the motorway from Reading to London (50pmh temporary speed limit) but eventually made it to a freezing cold Dalston Junction at 07:30, we parked the car at my sons flat and used the tube to get to Tower Hill for 08:30 before the bag drop closed.
The next hour was spent queuing for the portaloos (and swearing under my breath at the cheeky bugger who walked straight to the front of the line, looked around innocently and then walked straight into the next available loo #outragedfromwiltshire!).
At 09:30 we were off, I kissed hubby goodbye and then watched him as he sped off. I knew that I wouldn’t get far if I tried to run the race and so I decided to run 30% of it, meaning that I ran for 1.5 minutes and then walked for 3.5 minutes. For the first mile runners came streaming past me and I tried my best not to get in anyone’s way, but by 1.5 miles I was already surrounded by others who were run/walking and so I knew I wouldn’t be on my own all race and that I probably wouldn’t finished last.
And so, I plodded along, running a bit every 5 minutes and ticking off the miles every 16 minutes or so. I’d packed my headphones but I found I didn’t want to use them, instead I soaked up the atmosphere and looked at the sights. There weren’t many runners around me but there was always about ten people in front and behind me at one time.
I felt pretty buoyant until mile 7 or 8, when I started to get tired and my legs and feet began to ache. However, I’m rather proud that I managed to keep going and my pace didn’t drop. At 13:00, 3.5 hours after I’d started, I crossed the line at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, cheered on by hubby, my son and his boyfriend. We promptly hit Greenwich Market to refuel with a rather delicious vegan pizza.
At 17:00 we headed home, picked up the dogs from my Mum and Dad’s and finally sat down at 20:30 with a well earned glass of wine. Although I’m not proud of my time, or the fact that I wasn’t able to run more, I am very proud that I gave it a go. It would have been easy to say “I’ve not trained, so I can’t do it” (as I’ve done so many times before) but instead I went for it. Now hopefully my legs will stop aching soon!