It seems that I’ve built a bit of a reputation of being a regular marathon runner, but if anyone saw me today they’d realise that that is definitely not the case. I’m broken.
Yesterday, I ran my first half marathon – the Hackney Half. It was a great route – taking in the Olympic Park, Broadway Market, and Hackney Downs – but also incredibly hot.
Somewhat controversially, I wasn’t really raising sponsorship for it. I’d made a slightly half-hearted effort, but given that I’d already asked friends to support me three times in the last year, I felt unable to ask yet again.
But in the days leading up to the run I began to feel really stressed. My training had completely slipped over the last month or so – I was averaging one or two runs a week, over which my pace was steadily slowing. I was unprepared and in bad shape, and started to wonder why on earth I was doing it. So much so that the night before I found myself caving in to my week of alcohol abstinence (the one thing I’d been doing right) and deciding that partying was more important than running…
But I’m rather stubborn, so I didn’t cave in altogether. At 7.30am on Sunday morning I was lacing up my running shoes ready for the race.
As the miles ticked by, I pondered over why I had found training so hard – for previous challenges the single biggest motivator to pull myself off the sofa and go for a run has been the thought of the personal actions and efforts people were doing in sponsorship of me. “If Mark of all people is starting to recycle, then I can go for one more run”, “If Pavey is giving up tea for me*, I’d better bloomin’ well pull my finger out and go for a swim”.
Without their support spurring me on, my commitment to training for the Hackney Half Marathon was so much weaker, and I almost gave up. But thankfully, the atmosphere created by 12,000 fellow runners, many supportive GoodGym-ers, and the cheering crowds spurred me on no end on the day.
I ended up completing the run in a respectable 2:01:57 – two minutes over my target of 2 hours. Whether I blame those two minutes on the scorching heat, the Prosecco, or the lack of sponsorship, I’ve not yet decided…
*We don’t actually have a DoAction for giving up tea – Lord no! – she just used some artistic license on Tea Time.