Post Half Marathon / Greetings to the interwebs

"Oh boy!" (Annie quote to get over awkward first post sentence).

Before I hit publish you can bet that the post is only a small fraction of the novel I had written, rewritten and deleted in embarrassment.  Best get my writer's block out the window then!

Bundled up in unseasonably cold autumn weather, I commiserate over my recent running venture. You see, in a fit of family competitiveness, I decided that if my cousin (around my age) could run 21 km, well so could I. It wasn't totally spur of the moment. Ever since I began following the lovely Angela from OhSheGlows I had been playing with the idea, simple curiosity to test the limits of my body. A little push is all I needed, to build on my on/off running circuits of around 5-9 km.

I had five weeks, and it went as well well as expected of a full-time student with a part time job. 'I ran when I could and worked when I should' (bad John Denver paraphrase). The early autumn weather was very stable on the peninsula I reside, and with slowly decreasing morning light, my runs increased in length (I am not a night owl, but I like to run 'fore the sun kisses the eastern horizon). Pushed myself through one long run up some truly dreadful hills every weekend, with one smaller maintenance run in between. Okay, I wasn't wholly prepared when that fateful Sunday in April rolled around. I confess, I had major jitters (I'll attribute that to having nobody available to cheer my on, a case of all my family having places to be) but my dad was a pillar of comfort, dropping me off at 6:30 AM (that's right, he got up at ten to six on a Sunday) and hanging around with me for a whole hour, watching the sun rise, keeping me positive and leaving me after a warm embrace (what is it about a hug from yer pop that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy?).

My confidence spiked after spying some familiar faces. It's funny, but seeing just two people I knew made me feel more secure, a sort of, 'if they can, so can I' mentality. Food for thought, that we feel kinship with people through impending shared ordeal huh?

The race commences...
Time passes as it does. After a last portaloo stop, all runners trooped to the beach starting line.
After some silly group warm-ups, the organisers played haunting music in tribute to the 100th Gallipoli anniversary. And with a blast we were off! I was running on pure adrenaline for a fleeting minute before; with a graceless tumble; I was tripped from behind and performed a glorious slide on the hard sand: phone scattering, arms outstretched. I never found the felon behind the crime, he ran off with a hasty sorry! But my faith in humanity was restored after some kinder runners actually stopped to hand me my phone and showed due concern.

The trip turned out to be a gift, an easy conversation topic when the going got tough, and golly did it ever. Turns out my competitive streak had me streaking ahead of my usual pace, and I was doubting myself before even reaching the turning point. I had a technique: run behind people, decide to run next to them, then try my best to pass them. This method had me gasping at 9 kms, but being stubborn to the bone, I pushed on. Runners passing me on their return route cemented my "they can, I can too" mentality.

Another funny moment when my second portaloo stop was sabotaged. Waiting in vain and at 11 kms, I found they were plainly locked and empty. (There could have been lurkers that kept silent when I knocked I suppose).
Cruel, so cruel to my hopeful bladder.

There were no markers of distance on the course, but thankfully one of the co-ordinators was kind enough to inform us when we reached the last 5 km. "Oh thank God!" I remember the last the best: the way all water stops were utilised as a mini-break, and the feeling of peace and rejuvination I had trekking through the forest, and the last, loooong slog along the beach; the end line in sight but miles away. Catching up to two people I had only seen the back of thusfar was wonderful. My lame joke of "I've been chasing you the whole race" was surprisingly well-received. So we conversed a little. They had apparently not trained nearly as much as I, yet they were still running strong, even after running double the distance they had trained for! Must a a man-thing (ooooh excuse my implied sexism).

Leaving my conversation partners behind as their legs called for a strike, I had a euphoric end-sprint. The crowds were cheering (probably not for me but hey, who gives?), the clock was counting....just over 1 hour and 48 minutes. I passed runners, and was passed and leapt through the finish line arch.
Wow. So much faster than my idyllic goal of 110 minutes! At this point I realised my calves were as flexible as seasoned wood.....

Post race!
The post-race snack-attack had me refuelling with a passion, so I went to bed quite nauseated, but a week later, I was back out the door, laces double-tied, phone music blasting! I plan to keep my running up, since I find I run with ease now, and this will not be the last race I try. All in all, it did feel like an achievement, and I am dearly attached to that free drink bottle I received, and to the memory of crossing that finish line.

PS, in the end this took three weeks to publish, but I hope to stick to weekly updates.

Question: did you like this post? Was it too novel-like, or a decent length, or just plain boring?


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