After at least 2 weeks of very restful sleep, we woke up at 5:30am on Sunday morning and put on my very attractive full-length skins and black and pink clown shoes. Mr Connor kitted up in his best support crew outfit, yes my husband woke up at 5:30am to come and support me for my first half-marathon, he is a keeper thats for sure!
So, yeah, I ran a half-marathon…
I was an absolute ball of nerves, I almost burst into tears when I had to head off to the start-line but I bid farewell to Mr Connor and set off to join the 15,000 others who were crazy enough to do this race. Apparently it was the biggest half-marathon ever, don’t quote me on that though. As I was huddling in with the other members of the red group, the guy on the microphone asked if there were any debut half-marathoners in the crowd? My hands went up and as I looked around I realised that NO-ONE else had raised their hand, I put mine sheepishly back down and hoped that everyone else was just too cool to put their hand up or didn’t hear him ask?
The gun fired, I didn’t hear it.It didnt matter, the crowd in my group surged forward and then came to an abrupt halt. We had about 300 metres from our start line to the official start line where our bib timing chips would activate. So there was definitely an increased pace as soon as we went across that line! We were off, I was running my first half-marathon.
The first 4km was pretty much downhill, which was heaven for my tight despite countless evenings on the foam roller calves, then down around the newly re-designed Barangaroo it was time to head over to Pyrmont and as I was coming up Kent Street I saw Mr Connor for the first time for an encouraging high-5! (High-5’s make you go faster, its scientific fact). I was right on track to be clear for the first cut-off, the 7km in 50 minutes, so I was pretty happy. Although it was also the point when we had seen the runners in the lead heading down towards the 13km mark, they were running faster than I could over 100m yet they had been doing it for a lot longer and judging by their times, they continued to do it for the full 21km!
Across the freeway was a difficult one, it was on quite a slant and was quite tricky to run on, something I was not expecting, but it wasnt too long so I was able to get past that easy enough. Coming off the freeway there was a little hill and I was about at the 45 minute mark so I decided to have one of my gel shots to keep my energy up. Luckily shortly after that I saw Mr Connor again, this time he had run into a mate of his from his old work who was also cheering on his girlfriend in the race. Down past the 7km marker and who should I see? My friend, the bike rider stuck in the middle of a river of runners going in each direction. My “morning” was met with a casual “morning” reply, a swift knock to the shoulder before he realised it was me and I got some more encouraging cheering.
As I turned around in Pyrmont and headed back along the same track but on the other side of the road, I realised that I was not in fact coming last. So many people had passed me on the route I was too scared to look behind me. There were people still running at the 7km mark when I reached the 10km marker, so I didnt feel too bad. Although I was a little worried that I was only at the 10km marker when I should have been at the 11km marker in order to avoid the cut off. A short while later I sailed past the 11km mark without a course marshall in sight.
From the 11km to the 14km mark was a blur of pavement, St John’s ambulance people, dodging gel sachets and realising I still had about 8km left.
At the 15km mark I entered unknown territory, my longest training run was only 15km, so getting an extra 6km under my belt was relying on the energy of race day and the fact that I HAD to finish this race. This was also my first sighting of the race marshall and a sign with the cut off time – I was 2 minutes under the cut off… eep! I wasnt stopping to chat, I just kept on running up onto the Harbour Bridge and down around and onto the Cahill expressway, I wish I had my camera, it is such a beautiful place to run, looking out over the harbour.
Up and into Hyde Park to go PAST the finish line, that would have been mighty depressing except for these wonderful fairy’s from Lululemon in Mosman with their awesome signs. There was actually a guy on the other side of the road with a sign saying “Keep going, Keep going (that’s what she said)” – seriously had me giggling for another half a kilometre.
The team from Lululemon Mosman
Up ahead was a drink station, as I had run out of water and gatorade, I grabbed a slurp of each and pushed on. I saw my husband for the second last time and it was at this point I had passed the last cut off point and I knew I could do it. I said with a huge smile on my face; “I can do it!”, until that point I really wasnt so sure. Although there was not a lot of people still around at that point. Here I am just before the 18km marker, less than 4km to go!
The next 3km were the hardest and the easiest. Mentally they were the easiest, I was so close to the finish line, I could taste it. Physically, my legs had carried me further than they ever had before, nothing was giving me a lot of grief, but I was just out of gas for lack of a better term. Still, I managed to jog most of these remaining kilometres there were so many people at this stage of the course cheering everyone on that you got cheers if you were running but not so much if you were walking – I needed all the cheers I could get!
I also realised how devestating it would have been to be coming last, as I rounded the 20km marker, there was a woman going down into the last leg (about 18km mark) who was coming last. She had 2 police on motorbikes behind her.
It was a mater of rounding the last marker, then burning along the finishing stretch! One (probably the only) advantage of being at the back of the field is that the announcer says your name as you approach the finish line, so then you have all the crowd yelling “Go Sarah!!!” as you muster a little more speed and get to the finish line and… stand there? I just finished a half-marathon!! I wanted my medal dammit! I thought the medals and the fruit and some water would all be right there but nope, I just wandered towards the exit and realised it was all further along. Yay! Medal time!!
My aim was to finish, which meant doing it in under 3 hours due to the road closures. I finished and I managed to sneak under 3 hours by 8 minutes, a definite win in my book!
Yesterday I was telling myself I was never going to do it again, but I am already considering trying again next year and seeing if I can run faster and beat my time.
Labels: Fitness Tags: running