At the beginning of this year I could barely run a mile. Not that I wasn’t keeping fit but running has never been something I feel I’ve been any good at. After being encouraged by my friend to sign up to a 5K wine run in March (you can read about it here) for some crazy reason I then decided to join them in the Los Angeles Rock N Roll Half Marathon on the 29th October.
Going from 5K to 13.1 miles was never going to easy. Add in the fact that the training time was predominantly over summer, in the desert where the days are frequently over 100F, I’m not sure what I actually let myself in for. It’s been a tough few months, and I’ve tried to increase my distance a little each week to prepare me for the 13.1 miles on the day.
I’ve been through highs and lows with my training (I wrote about it here a little while ago) some days I felt great and like I could really add on the miles, sometimes I felt like I couldn’t even run 5K again. I mainly trained at the aqueduct near where I live as it’s so quiet and I can take Charlie with me to run off the lead.
Sunday 29th October arrived and we had spent the night before in a hotel near LA so we didn’t have to drive there in the morning. The race started at 6.45am so it was actually still dark when we go there. I was so nervous before it started, but looking back I don’t really know why… what’s the worst that could happen?!
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series holds events all over the US, with some in the UK and other European cities too. Every couple of miles along the course they have bands playing music which is really encouraging and definitely breaks it up and keeps you going.
My friend and I ran the first 5 miles together which was just what I needed to break the back of it. I was so grateful to her for sticking with me. I could feel myself starting to slow a little so I told her to go off and not to worry about me! I found the next few miles not too bad, although there were a few hills as the streets of downtown LA went over freeways and other roads. By about mile 8 I started to find it tough, but it’s mentally that I struggle with running and I just kept telling myself I only had 5 miles to go, which was a normal easy training run by this point.
At about mile 11 I really hit a wall, but managed to push through and get to the end. The last mile was good though and I sped up to cross the finish line. It was really emotional for me, I went from not being able to run a mile, to completing a half marathon, something I never thought I could do and I’m pretty proud of myself!
I really want to keep up with running. I don’t want to go back to how I was at the start of this year as it would be such a shame to lose all the hard work I’ve put in. However I’m not signing up for another half in a rush. While I would love to improve on my time, I also found that when I was training for this race I didn’t do any other form of exercise other than running as I was really focusing on increasing my mileage. I miss going to the gym, spinning classes and swimming.
I think I’m going to sign up for a 10K, as I will still need to keep up running training to do it, but can also get back to other forms of exercise too. I think without a goal to work towards it would be really easy to find excuses not to run.
So there is my story for my first ever half marathon. All I would say is if you are reading this and think you’re not a runner and could never do that, believe me when I say you can. I have always told myself I’m just not a runner and will never be able to run a few miles but if I can do it so can you!