Everything is starting to fall into place in relation to one special date in my calendar this year. The trouble is, I had a realisation today that cast itself over my head like a horrible gray rainy mist that wouldn’t clear. Ok, so maybe I’m over exaggerating a little, but when I started wondering what I would be working towards after 23rd April and what my life will look like post London Marathon, six months after I started a ‘loose but dedicated’ training regime, I panicked slightly.
What did I do? I took to Whatsapp to message my friend Pippa, who ran the London Marathon in her early 20s. She said something that I hadn’t even suspected, but rings so true. “It’s like getting married – all of your effort is put into that one day… and then it’s all over so quickly.” Ok, so I wouldn’t know if it was like getting married or not, but I can empathise with that feeling.
I really shouldn’t be thinking about that just yet – I still have 9 weeks to go until the big day. And I’m feeling more and more prepared every time I run. Take today for example, I popped along to the Hampton Court Half Marathon, situated in, you guessed it, Hampton Court (actually, Thames Ditton), and ran my little heart out to secure a half marathon PB – 1 hour and 44 minutes.
Those who know me will know that the three half marathons I have completed in the past were not trained for, so even though in the back of my head I expected to run faster than ever, I was still nervous. What I hadn’t expected is that I would run a whole 10 minutes faster. It just goes to show that training can pay off.
Today was pretty spectacular. I started off at quite a fast pace, which isn’t unusual for me. But when I hit 10k and realised that it was on a par with the PB that I hit during a 10k race a couple of weeks ago, I thought I might have scuppered myself. That isn’t even half way and I had pretty much given all I had up to that point. I heard Pippa’s voice in my head saying, “You can’t sprint a half marathon, Sarah.” But I didn’t really slow down and mile after mile I glanced at my watch and to my surprise, never went over the 5:05m/km pace.
I had heard that the Hampton Court Half Marathon is the perfect race to smash a PB, due to it being so flat. And it was such a lovely course… along the river and past Hampton Court Palace towards the end. Tim from City Runners was there to cheer us all along and as he shouted “Go on Sarah, you’re looking strong” at the 11 mile mark, the rest of the surrounding crowd joined in and I felt euphoric.
I sit here now at home and I feel great. I’m proud of what I have achieved, but it is far from over. As well as another 9 weeks of potentially grueling training, I also now need to fully turn my attention to raising £2,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust. Not an easy feat.
I would welcome any ideas that any of you may have – runner or not. I am already in the process of planning a pub quiz, a sweepstake and an office Olympics game. I have also had suggestions to write a song and sell it and I have asked my friend Seth if he wants to put on a gig – I can then tie it in with my lifelong dream to perform!
Thank you to all who have donated already – if you would like to donate to a great cause and help children with cancer, please head to my Virgin Money Giving page and donate now.