How awesome to this again! 🙂 I’m afraid I’ll be cruising on endorphins for the rest of the evening so bear with me.
Today I ran my second ever half marathon. I ran it pretty much unprepared. (Not wise, but you know…)
Since I had done very little running in the past two months – with my longest run this summer just 15km – and rested couple of weeks because of the knee injury I acquired at my previous HM at the end of June, I had people telling me I really shouldn’t be running it all.
I mean my knees are still iffy, my average run lately has been 7km at a 6.30 pace and I hardly ever run on asphalt. The entire half marathon was on asphalt.
My compromise with myself was that I would run my own race. Run it, not race it.
Best decision ever.
It dawned amazing early September weather. All blue skies, sunshine and about 18°C. Kinda like custom order running weather.
I’d set my alarm for eight, but woke on my own half an hour before that after an excellent night’s sleep. Then I made my super-breakfast of oatmeal, oat fibre, chia seeds, honey, cinnamon and a banana.
This is to die for good. If it weren’t so nutritious, I’d have it every day, but my waistline can afford it only on long run days.
This was the only thing I ate before the race. I also had a cup of coffee and two cups of water.
At 11.25 I was standing in the starting corridor waving at shouting at the first (insane-fast) marathon finishers. The full had started at nine.
And then we were off! I happily shuffled onwards to Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself, which is still my favourite running song. People were pushing past me, but quite relaxedly maintained my 8 min/km pace feeling like I was almost dancing on the spot with my quick cadence and tiny steps.
This was how I ran. Smiling like a loon, jumping on the spot, sometimes singing along to the songs and picking up a very moderate amount of speed on the way. From the third kilometre I ran a 7ish pace for the first third of the HM.
I also struck up a conversation with a girl next to me whose shorts I admired. :p (This is a big deal. I’m usually shy enough that for me to be talking to a stranger, I already had to be high.)
At the 7th kilometres I was feeling so bloody amazing like the whole world was mine, that I started going a bit faster. I was still worried about injury, but the atmosphere was so awesome I really wanted to move.
From the 10th kilometre onwards it was already a sub-six pace, and I kept dancing around and past people. I heard a couple of guys mention that the way my feet were moving, I’d be exhausted in minutes and they’d pass me again soon.
That was at the 16th km. Never saw those guys again. 😉
Overall, I ran the second half of the HM over 10 minutes faster. 😀 My finishing time of 2:15:17 was five minutes slower than the HM I ran in spring after a rigorous training plan.
The second difference? I ran this entire half marathon with a smile on my face. I ran it for fun. I ran it on feet that felt light all the way through. I ran it without gels or food or anything but the half litre bottle of water I held in my hand. I held two packets of gel in my palm, but didn’t feel like I needed them so they came back home with me.
I ran it forefoot-landing, which I’ve been practicing for months. (I think that, and the attention to cadence helped loads.) I ran high-fiveing kids and waving at spectators. I ran shouting encouragement at the marathoners coming from the opposite direction.
I also ran it so that after a post-finish Snickers bar and about an hour of moving about in the finishers area… I jog-walked home. That was 5km in 40 min. So more jog than walk.
Yup. Because I was feeling that overflowing with energy.
(I’m kinda sad that I bowed out of the full marathon, but so happy for a half marathon experience like this.)
In other awesomeness. Half an hour of the time spent in the finishers area, was spent on getting my feet digitally analysed and tested.
And what my instincts have been telling me are true.
I stood on the analysis thing and followed that up with squats, one-legged squats, toe flexing exercises and a treadmill jog…
To be told that while I might have flat feet, I also have strong enough feet and arches that I most definitely should not be wearing support shoes.
Turns out the change in my foot biomechanics over two years of running is immense. My arches are more high than low, my flexibility seems to be excellent and my ground impact is low. (This all after a half marathon.)
Basically, I got told I could wear pretty much anything I want.
I talked to the guy at length about my desire to try minimalistic – debated some shoes I’d looked at, he seemed to know his stuff – and ended up with with this suggestion: go and get yourself a cheap pair of lightly cushioned neutral shoes – like Mizuno Wave Riders or Cruisers run in them for a month or two and then start carefully experimenting with minimalistic.
So. I was on the right track when I chucked my orthotics in winter. And went wholly in the wrong direction when I bought up pairs of stability shoes after my Inspires started giving me trouble. Instead of going less stability I went for more.
And came away with aching knees.
I know better now. 🙂
I’m just sad I’ll have excellent stability shoes that have been worn only twice sitting on a shelf now…
It’s time for a long bath, chocolate ice cream and Eat & Run. 😉