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 Рthe 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!