On Sunday I did my first ever 1/2 marathon. Yes, I know you’re probably sick of my talking about it. I’m
sorry not sorry. For me, it’s a big deal. To understand why it matters to me, it’s important to realise that I’m not a runner — not in the least.
In the past two years [ish] I’ve been on a mission to lose weight. It’s been going well [24kg down so far; 6-8kg more to go, best-case]. As part of that mission I’ve been running, starting with more walking than anything else on a treadmill, right through to weekly Parkruns and, eventually to my first 10km [did a 1:03.13 — an on-road PB] and then, on Sunday, the 1/2 marathon. I hated it in the beginning, and to a certain extent I still hate it now. Running still hurts as much as it did then; the only difference is that I can run further and faster before it starts to hurt. But it still hurts like hell.
When I started, my goal was to finish 1km on the treadmill in 20 minutes. Yep, 1km! That’s all I was capable of doing before a combination of shin splints, fatigue and a near-exploding heart got the better of me. That’s where I come from on this mission…and that’s why Sunday feels like such an accomplishment. 21.1km is far, but I ran it.
In terms of the route… It wasn’t that difficult, truth be told. Running in Glenwood, Durban, has the potential to be really difficult because it’s a hilly suburb. Fortunately, the Durban Runner Athletics Club, which hosted the race, chose a route that was challenging without being overly difficult — I mean, I was able to finish it comfortably. The most difficult bit was the over 2km climb to finish both the 10km and the 21.1km. Those 2000m burnt like hell. There was also a very steep deviation shortly after 1/2 way of the half marathon — and I, unashamedly, walked almost all of that deviation [look at the dark red line on the route map, below, and you can see exactly where it was].
Now, after a few days’ rest, I’ll begin the training for the Mandela Day [1/2] Marathon on August 30. It’s a tough route, at altitude, but it’ll be a jol. After Sunday, I’m now seriously looking forward to it. Applications were extended until August 10, so pop online and give it a go with me.