Newbie runner: challenge #1!

Well, I would like to start this post with a disclaimer. What you are about to read is really just about me telling the world how chuffed I am to have ran my first half-marathon last Sunday. But also, and maybe more interestingly, this is about proving that a rather sport-averse gal can turn into a half-decent half-marathon runner (seriously, I even discovered hidden muscles).

The whole process from deciding to do it to the actual race has been quite fun, involving an injury, major amounts of sweat, and loads of series watching on the treadmill. Why I decided to do it in the first place? The idea to take on a real challenge, as I never really fit in the sport lover profile in the past.

So, with a carefully crafted training plan provided by a friend and his wife, who are essentially my sport Gods (François and Solenne, if you read this!), I set out to train 3 to 4 times a week to improve my speed and overall performance. The aim was to run 21km (or 13.1 miles) in 2 hours, meaning an average speed of over 10km per hours. Although I would normally run 30 to 45 minutes quite easily, 2 hours is another story, and keeping such a pace for so long was anticipating to be quite hard.

I managed doing a 2h run in June and I felt quite ready already, until my body decided to rebel! I started having a pain in my shin….which I of course ignored for a little while,…which turned out to be a shin splint. OUPS! Doctors said I had to take at least 6 weeks off from running, and advised not to run the half-marathon at all. I was not impressed! Yet, I behaved and stopped running for 6 weeks, which was very frustrating – especially considering all the efforts it had taken to get there! But then I resumed, carefully, and was able to to the race without any shin pain.

So, a bit about the actual race. The event was the Great Scottish Run, taking place in Glasgow for the 21st time and counting 22,000 runners. I was really excited and a bit stressed as well (mainly from fear of having to loose precious minutes to have a pee-stop!), but it went really well, no pee incident or other incidents for that matter. The atmosphere was fantastic, you could feel the excitement and positivity in the air. A lot of people were running for charities, and you had people from all ages and body types. Every three miles, you’d get supplies of water and energy gels (slightly disgusting in real life, but a true treat when you are dying a bit) and back pipe players to cheers you on. Without mentioning all the local people cheering you all along, especially at the end. It was truly amazing! Although, to be completely honest, I seriously considered walking or stopping altogether several times toward the end. But then, the sweet and soothing voice of Jens Voigt played in my head, saying “Shut up, legs! Shut up, body!”. And I kept going, and completed it in 1h57, full of sweat, red as a beetroot, my legs barely working anymore, but so so happy!

Challenges_Great_Scottish_Run-480x280

I also think that inspiration and support is really important. Running is a solitary sport, but the community of runners is so amazing that this was really not a lonely process. So thank you Solenne & François, Max, and Stevie for your advice and support. Thank you Brian too – a PhD fellow from Nebraska who is a running addict and has a super inspiring blog. Thanks Xiaonan, David, Grant and Angel for being my run buddies. Thanks David for forcing me to stop running when I needed to, thanks Emma for being there all along and feeding me super yummi food afterwards. And most of all, thanks legs!

On to the next challenge now…? I think so!

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