1. Flat courses aren’t actually easier
I spent this entire time wishing I could run a half marathon on a flat course. I got all excited when I saw that the route of the Wellington one was flat as a pancake. Turns out that pancakes as metaphors for course altitude are actually pretty boring (as oppose to real pancakes you get to eat, which are, of course, more than a bit awesome). A flat course means your body is always performing the same movements, with the same force (or, in my case, lack thereof). Boring. This flat course taught me how to love the hills.
2. No training = No PR
It’s actually a pretty obvious equation, when you think about. I didn’t. I came out of that mammoth 35k in the bush at the end of May and barely moved for the following couple of weeks, thinking I had time to train for Wellington. I didn’t. Next thing I knew, it was time to fly to the capital and harden up. Not my worst time but certainly not my best. Mental note: to run faster, run often.
3. Do not go to a yoga session (or anything you haven’t done in months) 3 days before the half marathon
Your body will ache. Three days isn’t actually enough time for me to get it all back to normal, as it turns out, especially since my back had already been hurting. On that note…
4. If your back hurts, running is not going to fix it.
Contrary to what my mind likes to tell me, running is not the solution to all of life’s problems. Almost all of them, yes, but not quite. Like back pain. Running made it worse. Oh-so-much-worse. Voltaren is my new BFF.
5. If you are told not to wear the same pair of running shoes longer than 700km, don’t be a tight-ass about it, buy a new pair of shoes and shut the hell up.
Running 1200km+ on the same pair of shoes and then assuming they’ll still be comfortable for a further 21km? Stupid move.
6. You better just come to terms with the fact that you’re not going to enjoy some runs. It’s okay.
You wake up some days and you don’t really feel like running, for one reason or another. It’s okay. Sometimes that happens to be the day you not only paid the entry fee to a half marathon but you also flew to that city for that particular reason. Harden up. Whatever. Get over it. Onto the next one.
7. Don’t panic about the weather.
Just because you nearly got blown off a pier while trying to walk along it the day before, it does not mean you can’t wake up to beautiful sunshine and almost no wind the next day. Case in point: Wellington’s schizophrenic weather which was very much a pleasant surprise on race day. Stop worrying, damn it.
8. Good or bad, you’re 21km closer to where you want to be.
I know this sounds like terribly hippie new-age crap but it’s a comforting thought for when you finish a half marathon that you didn’t particularly enjoy and that leaves you wondering why you even bother.
9. Running events are the perfect excuse for a weekend away.
I may not have had the best time during the run but the weekend in Wellington was all kinds of lovely. Flying to another city just because of a running event might sound silly to some but that’s only if you make it solely about that couple of hours and nothing else.
10. Stop whining.
Running 21km and crossing the finish line is pretty damn awesome. No one cares that it took you five minutes longer compared to your previous PR. You shouldn’t either.