My First Half Marathon

XXXI Medio Maratón Rockero de Villaverde

Date: 16th November, 2014

Time: 2 hours 8 minutes

The day had finally arrived…the day where I questioned my sanity. 21 kilometres…on a sunday morning? Had I finally taken it too far, I asked myself as I shuffled onto the metro. Yes that’s right, I was choosing to do a run which wasn’t even walking distance from my flat. I could tell that the passengers on the train (the majority still drunk from antics of the previous night) were judging me… I couldn’t blame them.

My running buddy, Lauren Haynes, dragged herself out of bed to be my personal cheerleader – the true hero of the day! As we travelled further and further from the centre of Madrid, I began to doubt the likelihood that I would be able to finish the race.

Once we arrived, I realised I would be running the vast majority of the race through parkland terrain, which I later realised would be a godsend! I found my number and pinned it proudly to my t shirt. I was lucky that the weather seemed pretty mild and the sun was breaking through the clouds – I probably would have felt very differently had it been raining. Though, in true British style, I would have grit my teeth and carried on! (She says in hindsight..)

At exactly 09:30, (or more like 09:37 – it was a Sunday morning, I’ll let them off) we started the race. I immediately knew I was going to struggle as within the first kilometre I already had the telling signs of the shin splints (perhaps not the correct term, but it accurately describes the pain shooting down my right shin) which I seem to be prone to when I haven’t stretched enough (let that be a lesson to you!) So as I was half-running half-lumbering along the dirt-beaten track, wondering whether I stop to do some stretches without looking like a prat, I also had a sinking feeling in my stomach… …I needed the toilet.

I was 10 minutes into the race, a mere 3 kilometres down (18 more to go!) and I needed the bloody toilet. Panic sets in…I’m not going to be able to do it.

Thank god I am as stubborn, (and perhaps stupid) as this is the only way I was able to continue the race. By the 6th kilometre, I couldn’t take it anymore and I found a perfectly positioned bush to squat behind, ever-so-classy, thank you very much.

So I find myself, no longer in need and also with the pain subsiding from my shin, I felt like a whole new woman! (Okay, slight exaggeration) but I finally started to believe that I could finish the race. Thanks to the wonderful photographers on site that day who documented the progress of the runners, I can watch my rapidly dishevelling self reach and pass by each kilometre. As my smile slowly changed to a grimace (check out the images in my gallery!), the end was beginning to look like an achievable reality, rather than a distant dream. As I finally passed Lauren, I knew I had got to the final hurdle. I saw the clock said 2 hours and 7 minutes, and I grit my teeth and made it over the finishing line! I guzzled down my free drink and sat down, waiting for Lauren to come and find me (I was not able to move) feeling proud and grinning like an idiot – I had done it!

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