So I've done it! I've completed my personal challenge and run 10 half marathons in 2010; all for Scope! Scope have been brilliant along the way, sending me good luck cards and congratulations certificates and even post race massages and snacks! It's been a tremendous journey from my first half of the year; the Roding Valley Half where I ran 2:10:38, to my longest; the Reading Half where I had the ligament injury that kept me away from the London Marathon, to my PB, which I achieved at the Royal Parks Foundation Half in Hyde Park just days before my 30th birthday! I was really hoping to get a sub 2:00 time, but I pushed as hard as I could and came out with 2:01:39; shaving nearly SIX minutes of my previous PB! So that was none too shabby!
Before this year I had only run one half marathon; Run To The Beat in September 2009, and that was purely by chance! It had never been my intention to get into half marathons, just like it had never been my intention to get into running! In 2009 I had been working up to running 10k, and I had even entered a 10k race in Watford for the April with my bff, come the day though it was rainy and I hadn't done adequate training so it was an easy decision to give it a miss. I did still meet up with my friend later that day and her father-in-law made a comment that made me want to take my running more seriously. That year was the first year I actually made a plan about what races I was going to run and set myself real workable goals in terms of finish times. I got a PB at the Women's 5k Challenge that year and went on to run the Bananaman 10k Chase in Willen Lake, my first 10k race and setting myself a PB of 53:53 that I am still yet to beat! It was this race that lead me to my first half marathon. Leukaemia Research as they were known then are the official charity of RTTB and they had extra places going for the race in just two weeks! As it was such short notice they didn't even want any money; they were just giving the places away and I could hardly say no! I had an 8k race the day before, which I completed and my plan for the day was just to enjoy the atmosphere and get around the course! Leukaemia Research were going for a world record for the number of people dressed as bananas before the race and I was eager to take part in that! I put on my banana suit and warmed up with my fellow bananas, had a photoshoot, signed the register and decided to run the whole 13.1miles wearing the suit! It was such a fantastic experience that I knew I just had to do it again! It's funny how you can be so afraid of something only to realise there's nothing to be scared of at all!
The idea to run 10 in 2010 came to me after my injury, I had just been using the 21.1km distance as preparation for the London Marathon. After my marathon dreams were smashed I wanted to think of a challenge I could do that would be worthy of the kind of support I would expect for the London Marathon. I wasn't particularly enjoying the 13.1 mile race, but I knew that I could recover and train an get back into it. It would be hard work, but not as much hard work as the marathon and if I could maintain that level of fitness for the whole year I knew it would have lots of other benefits for me. I decided to choose my runs carefully as running four halves in four weekends had caused my injury. I laid them out trying not to do two in two weekend, always giving myself a break in between to recover. I also had the London Triathlon in my diary so there was serious cross training to be done as well! It been a hectic year, I've had two respiratory infections that have kept me in bed for weeks and yet I've kept pushing for these halves. They've really kept me going!
Now 13.1 miles is my race; I own it. When I look for races I look for half marathons, there's the odd 10k, 10mile and 5k in my diary too, but 13.1 is where I live; that's me; it's got my name on it and it calls me Mommy! This is the distance that really pushes me, where I can prove something to myself; where I separate the girl from the woman; where I find my own. And to prove the point; I'm not happy with 2:01:39 as a PB I need to get sub 2:00 and as such I'm going to keep running half marathons until I hit a figure that I'm happy with. And yes all you runners out there know that this is just the start; once I hit my goal, I'll simply move the goal post and keep on running. So if you see me out there, come along and run with me; life is for the taking and I'm running with it!