Race Report: The Royal Parks Half Marathon 2017

In 2016 I ran my first half marathon. In 2017 I ran three more including the same one a year later! Thanks to Runners Need I won a place to run one of the most popular half marathons in London. When the time came, my body was tired and I had run the Lululemon Seawheeze Half as well as the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.

I wanted to run 5ks again. I wanted to sit down for a week and not move. But this was my last hurrah for 2017. After this there were no more half marathons planned for the rest of year. So I dragged my very tired self into London on Sunday October the 8th and prepared myself to run another 13.1 miles.

Secretly I wanted to smash by Seawheeze hilly PB. Of course I did – this was a flat course through MY city. But…but…could I?

No.

Sadly no I couldn’t. I was slower by two minutes and had to stop running multiple times and walk to mentally regroup. THIS WAS A HARD RACE and I wasn’t expecting that at all. When did I start thinking that 13.1 miles was easy? I don’t know why but that almost undid me. It isn’t easy. And it isn’t always fun for the whole time.

After meeting, and taking a photo with the Runners Needs team, I made my way to my coral and started to run. The first half was amazing – I was making excellent time and there was no pain at all. (I had been so worried about my knee because after Disney it had hurt.) I was having a good time, laughing and smiling as I made my way along the course.

But it was if the start of the second half was a sign and almost as soon as I passed it, my left leg started to dully ache. This pain became steadily worse and by the time I finished I was wondering if:

  1. My leg would fall off and if not that then
  2. If my leg wouldn’t be able to hold my own weight anymore and I would crumble.

How do so many people run 13.1 miles with no pain in under 2 hours and look amazing at the end? I think the pain was etched on my face and I was definitely running lopsided! One day I will break 2 hours I am sure of it but I think it will take me a long, long time.

However it’s really unfair of me to say that I didn’t enjoy myself – I really, really did. It was a stereotypical Autumnal day – cold and sunny, the perfect running conditions. The course was stunning and as always the parks were really, really beautiful. The support was INCREDIBLE as were the other runners running with me. I feel in love with running and racing all over again and I found it surprisingly easy (at times) to block the pain and enjoy the weather and the crowds.

Now with a month’s hindsight I am glad I didn’t cancel the race even though up to the morning before that was all I wanted to do. Even when I finished I wished I had cancelled my pace – my leg really hurt. But then the medal was handed to me. Reclaimed wood and in the shape of leaf. It was beautiful. It was the perfect end to a painful, brilliant race.

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