And here I am, 11 months after finding that I couldn't walk the length of a mall because of my lifstyle choices...stiff and sore from walking my first half marathon, also because of my lifestyle choices. Besides the high of finishing the distance, I have the added high of completing a runner's event within the cut-off time...and I beat a few runner's to the finish line too :-)
Here's my tale of the most memorable day of my life so far:
After weeks of training and preparation, I found myself at the start, a nervous wreck. I was so nervous that I wasn't sure whether to cry or vomit, so I cried and saved my dignity. With my iPod playing the selection of music I put together for this event, I started my race with jelly legs that just wouldn't co-operate. It took every ounce of mental energy to get on top of that!
I've had unwavering support from my family on my quest to reach my goals, from my husband to my sisters, they have given me every inch of encouragement that I needed. My sister the personal trainer sent me long emails telling me how to prepare myself mentally and physically, what to expect and what to take on the race with me. Without that knowledge, I may just have given up with the difficult conditions I met on the actual route.
My mom and dad had sponsored a really cool backpack as a good luck gift, it is a cycling pack which comes complete with a water bag...I didn't have a clue how much I'd need that water on the race.
1 hour into the race, the heat was so unbearable that participants were dropping out like flies from heat exhaustion. I managed to keep myself from going the same way by grabbing additional water sachets at the watering points and spraying them on my head and down my shirt...I started carrying extras and keeping them wiith me for when I felt light-headed from the heat.
The route was spectacular, with truly gorgeous surroundings but I was blind-sided with 5kms of trail which I hadn't expected. Trail is a different discipline to road and I wasn't prepared for this at all but I got through it by just putting one foot in front of the other and slowing down a litle to avoid falling and injuring myself.
The last distance marker came at 18kms and thereafter I didn't have a clue how far the end was...it was mentally exhausting as I tried to motivate myself to keep going without knowing if I'd make it. As a walker at a running event, your only companions at the back are the runners that are struggling, they can't motivate you in any way and the other walkers you come across are just as focused as you are with no energy to pump someone else up. It's lonely and hard and a few times I wanted to quit. Probably the only reason I kept going was because I knew I wouldn't have a ride home because I didn't know where I was to call for help...lol!
Finally, I heard my family cheering for me and realised that I had reached the end...it was cleverly hidden so I couldn't see the finish line at first. As I heard them telling me that I could make the cut-off I found a last surge in my tired legs and crossed the line.
2:58:07 - a little less than 2 minutes to spare before cut-off and worthy of a medal
After that, it was a case of hydrating myself again...no time to wait for a glass so I just drank from the bottle instead.
I'll do this again without a doubt, there is something highly addictive about completing a challenge that is not only physical but mental too. It's one more experience to build the person I've become and I'll definitely be back for more.
Besides, who can resist medals and cheap T-shirts to show off?