My first half marathon. And my inner struggle.

Hello!

I took a little break from blogging over the past few weeks. And what a few weeks it has been!

I entered the month of September feeling really off. I didn’t feel motivated at all which isn’t like me. I spent a few days thinking about why that could be, and realised I was longing to see my family back in England. My grandma has dementia, and recently entered a care home which has been a stressful experience for both my grandma and the rest of my family. I think it tipped me over the edge. I decided – at the last minute that I needed to go home for a week and be with them. I actually booked my flight one hour before I had to leave for the airport!

It was really exciting and I had a brilliant whirlwind visit – seeing my grandma and other family members plus my best friends was just the thing I needed and I came back feeling a lot happier for it! However, I do NOT recommend travelling 24 hours in both directions with only eight days there – it was about half the time I’d have liked but I feel so lucky I had the opportunity to do it. Sometimes you have to trust your gut instinct, because 99% of the time it can tell you what you want to know. Here’s a picture of me & my grandma enjoying a glass of sherry at the care home.

Me and Nanny

Me and Nanny

I even managed to keep up my running training while I was overseas. I actually think it reset my body clock as my jetlag was barely noticeable. I landed in London at 6AM, went home, put on my trainers and just ran. It was really therapeutic to run through the english countryside and I really felt “in the moment” as I absorbed my very different surroundings!

When I came back to Sydney it kind of worked the other way, I only felt jetlagged for one or two days. And then I had less than a week until the Blackmores Half Marathon.

I’m pleased to say we ran the whole 21.1KM this weekend with a time of 2.12 (aiming for sub 2.15 so we were pleased with this!) Here’s a picture of me during my sprint finish where I just beat Ben by 1 second. He was trying really hard to catch me, but you know I was determined 😉

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon

The course is fantastic – there are similarities with the Sydney Harbour 10K – but you actually run over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and through the Sydney CBD and Botanic Gardens which is a nice change. There were so many drinks stations and it was really well organised (except for a few strangely placed KM signs – it’s not that inspiring to see the 16KM mark at 13KM – so you think you only have 5KM to go, when in fact you have 8!). I’ll definitely be doing either the half or full marathon next year.

Course Maps

Course Maps

Not ready for marathoning? Well that’s the great thing about this event – there is a family fun run of 4KM and a 9KM “bridge run” for those who fancy something a bit shorter. It was nice to see whole families doing the fun run, and I hope that one day I can do stuff like that with my kids too.

Now I’m really contemplating what my next challenge will be, and I think whilst aiming for a quicker half marathon time is on the cards, I want to complete a full marathon. As positive as this blog is, I also want it to be real. And to be honest I struggle with all the things that go on in life and where I want to go with it all. I want to go out with friends – drink, socialise but I also really want to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve my fitness goals. It’s a bit of a constant battle in my head and my heart, but I know what the answer is and I’ve come to realise that I will have to make some sacrifices to be able to do the things I REALLY want to do in this life i.e. run a full marathon and keep a consistent training schedule where I am feeling my best. I know I’m not alone in this struggle being young and wanting to have fun – but I think it’s important to get your priorities straight and envisage your long term goals so you can make the right decisions in the short term.

That being said, you have to enjoy life so the occasional day/night off isn’t going to hurt. The other thing I realised from the half marathon is that life happens and no one is going to stick to their training schedule exactly, so you need to be flexible but committed. I like the fact that throughout my running “career” I’m learning all the time, I read as much as I can and always ask more experienced people for tips because they are the ones that know the truth!

I have my sights on the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart, Tasmania which is in January – only four months away but since we’re on a training roll I think it could be a good motivator to continue on this path. The registrations haven’t yet opened, so we’ll see. I cannot imagine doing a marathon, but then again I couldn’t even imagine running a half this time last year.

So – my advice is sign up for that race – 5KM, 10KM or whatever distance and just go for it. You only live once.

Coco xo

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