I did it!
I fucking did it!
If someone had told me, a year ago, that I would not only enthusiastically sign up to run the Cambridge Half, but also complete the fucking thing I would have laughed in their face.
9000 people signed up for this year’s Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon and 7264 people finished it.
I’m genuinely impressed by every single one, but perhaps more so by the partially sighted woman who I ran past at around the half-way mark—she ran with a sighted partner who led the way—only to have her run past me on the last kilometre. Well done you!
No but seriously, as if running a half marathon of 21.4 km (13.1 miles) isn’t hard enough, she did it whilst partially sighted. Some people are really just showing off, aren’t they?
But that’s enough about all the thousands of people who finished faster than me, I’m sure you’re curious how I did?
After all, my estimated finish time was 2:19:45.
I’m proud to say that I finished 4233th out of 7264. With a time of 02:01:34.
To give you an idea of how well I stack up against other runner, the average time to finish was 01:56:48.
The winner on the other hand, did it in 01:07:57.
In all honesty I would have loved to have finished in under 2 hours but I’m nonetheless really happy with this. It was my first half marathon after all and now I have something to beat. This is how it starts isn’t it?
A sense of purpose
Of course this run wasn’t just about me.
It is, about giving this year purpose. It’s about making it count.
It’s about making Amanda’s death mean something more.
That’s why I also raised money for cancer research. Thank you, to you all of you who supported my run, with money, by sharing and liking my numerous posts. By your kind words of encouragement. It all matters.
And together, we raised £288.98 towards getting cancer to fuck off.
And in searching for a purpose, in searching for a sense of calm, it looks like I’ve found something more than that. Something more meaningful.
Running is more than just the repeated hits of my feet touching the ground, it gives me peace and strength. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It allows me to push myself beyond, to a place I didn’t know existed.
And even though I’m running on my own, I’m never running alone.
I now get why runners talk about running the way they do. I get it.
I’ve danced with the Beast and now I’m hungry for more.
Of course, no experience comes without its lessons and it’s with that in mind that we come to the educational portion of this entry.
What I learned from running a half marathon
As any experiences runner will attest to, there are a few basic rules that it’s advised to follow whilst running, even more so when running a major event.
These are some highlights from the 25 Golden Rules of Running, courtesy of Runner’s World.
- To keep safe, run facing traffic.
- You should be able to talk in complete sentences while running.
- Sleep one extra minute per night for each mile per week that you train.
- Dress for runs as if it’s 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer actually reads.
- Don’t wear any new gear during a race
- Don’t eat or drink anything new before or during a race.
Some pretty good basic rules there, especially that last one.
Which I didn’t know about.
Not only did I definitely drink something new during the race, as I had Isotonic Gels for the first time in my life.
I had about 12 of them.
In less than two hours.
As any experiences runner can probably imagine at this point, I was in for a treat.
Everything was fine, until the last kilometre, as I gave it my all, sprinting towards to finish line and my body decided to go, “Heeeeeey buddy, remember those liquid maltodextrins you’ve been chugging like there’s no tomorrow? Yeah those ones. Want to see what they looks like now? No? Well you’re gonna!”
I’m sorry to all the spectators standing at the finish line, expecting a display of peak human performance and endurance as they were instead met with #8399, Carlos Eriksson running across the finish line whilst violently puking bright orange everywhere.
As I crossed the finish line, disoriented from my sudden reversed bowel movements, a volunteer grabbed me by the arm, asking me, “Are you okay? Do you know where you are?”
To which I replied, still catching my breath, “Did I finish?”
And finish I fucking did.