I ran my first half marathon yesterday!

First. Half. Marathon.

It hasn’t properly sunk into my head yet. 21.1km is a loooong way to run.

This is me. Someone who started running in January… 10 minutes around a field thinking this would be fun for a few months. 10 months later a half marathon. Crazy!

So here’s the story of my day.

Yesterday was the Soweto Marathon.

A few months ago, late one night on Twitter, a few moms were chatting about running. We all talked each other into running the half marathon… I thought it was do-able considering the 10kms I’d been running. And over the last few months we’ve been tagging each other with #werunsoweto and egging each other on.

Rene (from Run Walk for Life) and I discussed a training schedule that I found on Runnersworld website… and I was set. Well, physically anyway.

To say that I was nervous about this race would be an understatement. The furthest I’d run was 17.5km 2 weeks ago with Rene and some members of the RunWalkforLife club in Weltevreden Park.  I know 21km is not much further, but OMW it’s far when you’ve already run that far.

A lot of people also told me that your mind and body hits a barrier at some stage, normally 18km, and that after that it’s all in your mind.

I didn’t really sleep on Saturday night, and woke up before my alarm went off at 4:15am!! It’s freaking early for a Sunday morning! It was also earlier than I needed, but I did need to make sure that all the hair dye was out of my hair! LOL I was so worried about black streaks sweating out of my head… I had my hair cut and dyed on Saturday.

Anyhoo, we got there early, thankfully because the parking was a disaster!! We parked miles away from the start, literally miles! Although we’d arrived an hour before the start, we really didn’t have time to relax at all after we finally found the RWFL tent.

It was awesome going with people actually. It was Sharon and my first 21km, and Sam’s first run in over 7 years. We egged each other on the whole way… and I kept the bottles of champagne in my bag 🙂 It was also the first time I’d met Sam in real life 🙂 Bradley thought that was highly dangerous being picked up by someone I’d never met 😉

I’m going to blog through this with my Instagram images… yes, I had my phone on me in my belt, and yes, I stopped along the way to take photos (well, not completely, I took a few while running and the rest while walking)

The start was huge! There were 21000 people that entered the race (between the 10km, 21km and the 42), and although it was jam-packed, I felt that it was well organised! We started running, there wasn’t any walking in the start at all.

I did ignore the start of the race through the industrial areas. I was trying to get my rhythm and make sure that my pace wasn’t too fast. In fact, I only really looked at my watch properly close to 7km, and was pleased that I was already 1/3 of the way through the race! I could’ve probably gone a bit faster then, but I was so worried about hitting that “wall”

I ran most of the race on my own. About 2km before this enormous hill (which was about 12km in), I met Nicole, the manager at Runwalkforlife Sharonlea, and we ran almost until the hill before her knee started giving troubles. This hill was hellova daunting to see looming ahead of you. It stretched for ages!!

The support in the area was amazing! There were so many people on the streets in their pyjamas shouting and singing and clapping.

 

There was also one spot half way up the hill, where drummers were playing. I did smile at their sullen faces though!

 

I decided to heed Rene’s advice, and stop and walk through all the water points. In fact, that’s really the only time I did walk. I managed to run up all the hills apart from the small walk when I took photos of the drummers on that killer hill.

On the way out of Soweto, the hills started again. To be fair, it didn’t seem as steep as what the gradient map made it look like… but OMW that part was tough.

At 19km, I was really tired, and the last km was a stretch. I really had to push and get my body going to get to that finish. I could see from 19km that I was close to my target time of 2h30, so I knew I had to keep running and not stop to walk.

And I did it! I forgot to stop my watch… so I did it in 2h24 🙂

I am so very pleased with myself!

And I actually did drink champagne with Sharon and Sam afterwards. See the jackets? By then it was raining… so we were sitting on the grass sipping gorgeous bubbles out of paper cups with hashtags graffitied on them

 

 

I loved seeing my RWFL buddies at the tent. Samson did amazingly well, and finished the 21km in 1h47… and Kathy finished her 10km in an awesome time too. It’s a pity Rene didn’t run… she hurt her ankle training last week and caught a cold but still got up at the crack of dawn to support us 🙂

So… now that I’ve done that, I need to find the next one to do!

Lance reckons I should try for a marathon next year! Not likely. I think I’m going to try get better at this 21km lark first.

I actually feel fine today, apart from my hips that are a little sore if I sit in one place for too long. It’s amazing how fast my body has recovered actually.