That 21k Magic: First Half Marathon Experience

First off, I don’t know how I survived. But I did and I am alive!

17505001_10155984648619148_2475006518340841354_o.jpg

First 21km. First Time running alone. First Night run! Told a random auntie to take this photo. Thank you, kind soul. Haha!

After training for months (strengthening and improving my running pace), I finally am able to say that I am a half marathon runner now! (*Happy dance*). Always wanted to tick that off my unwritten bucketlist– and I did!

17545401_10155984648444148_1808742473932134089_o.jpgLast March 28th, I joined my very first half marathon race. I signed up for it end last year — with no expectations and with zero knowledge how to train myself. But thanks to free Nike Training Plans and couple of google research, I was able to work with a simple training plan of my own.

I did not have a target pace. Simply put, I just really wanted to finish the race and prove to myself that I can actually do it. Discipline was the hardest challenge. I tried to eat right (and highlight on try). I had to dedicate some nights and early mornings for running, as well as I had to really make time to go gym for strengthening. I’ve always been running 10ks before. So about three months leading up to the race, I just increased my run distance by 2ks every week.

Nearing the race date, I almost wanted to quit… for two things: (1) Stupid me, of course it was a night race. But I did not expect for the half marathon to start at 1am. But alas, yes. (2) Since I signed up by myself, I felt a bit alone in this journey. I felt discouraged that no one could welcome me at the finish line after. I know it’s a petty excuse, but it would be nice to be welcomed by the people you love. Nonetheless, Family and friends still showed their support even if they’re miles away.

My family did a video call with me at 1am to support and my mum waited till I finished my run. (Thank you, love!). Thank you as well to my friend/flatmate Janina for making those witty and nice posters for encouragement (and for sneaking at work to photoshop it haha!). And Thank youuu to all my other lovely friends for reminding me constantly to train, especially for the times I felt like skipping— Thank youuuu all for making it happen!

When I was nearing the finish line, I got all teary eyed. I felt a lot stronger and accomplished. It was a truly humbling experience to run along side people with the same heart and passion as you do. Though people run with different reasons, I find joining marathons inspiring. Never really understood why before– I mean, why pay / join something when you can run freely /the same outside?

I guess, it’s about the magic of community. It’s so nice to be enveloped with the feeling of belonging. Ah, the runner’s high.

So uplifting to belong in a positive group that just encourages you to keep. on. going.

To keep on moving, just as how most things in life are.

I won’t say I am the best at this. And Heck, I am not even the fastest. But running saved me in a lot of ways than you can imagine.

 

And I am happy with that. And to continue with this high, as well as to continue working on that #TwentySevenThin health and mind goals– I am joining another half marathon this coming May.  I hope I don’t die of fatigue.

17390627_10155984648354148_3731098101157020460_oHopefully, I can train myself enough to beat my previous time (It wasn’t glorious.. but I finished a little before 2hrs and 30mins). If I can do enough sprints, more training and strengthening , maybe I can try to accomplish sub 2 or at least 2:15.

Who knows? If I keep at this, the maybe someday I can actually push to run a full marathon one!

There’s a couple more running marathons around the world I would love to try. My friend mentioned to me a Pyongyang marathon over at North Korea.

(And yes…you read that right, over at North Korea!!!!)

I think it would be lovely to join those. If not, there are a couple more on my list. Like perhaps, fly over Athens and experience the real first races or complete the Big Five Marathon– especially when it has a marathon race in Africa. Hello, literal running with the wild!

We are five months in 2017, let’s continue making the most out of it shall we? To more firsts and adventures!

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