For the first time in almost a year, I have managed to run a half marathon (21 km = 13 miles) again yesterday. I ran at Eton, a small town situated west of London, which forms one community with the town of Windsor, home to the oldest still inhabited castle in the world.
The run was held at Dorney Lake which will be the site for the rowing events at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (While running, it occurred to me that Britain should actually not have been awarded the “Summer” Olympics, but at best the “Mixed Weather with some Sunshine and scattered Showers” Olympics because the local definition of “summer” might disappoint many visitors.) Running around the same lake for 4 laps might not sound too interesting, but when you’re on your last legs, you don’t have much of an eye for the beauty of nature anyway.
The course was almost completely flat, perfect to run at an even pace. The organisers had pace-setters and I decided to run in the 9-minute-per-mile flock, aiming at a total time of 2 hours. The first 10 km are always relatively easy for me, so I could break out of the pack, albeit not by much. I maintained a very steady pace, not even slowing down in the third quarter although this was the one where my feet and muscles began aching and I was thinking “what a stupid idea; why didn’t I just go for a long walk instead?” The last quarter is psychologically easier because you’re already counting down the mile markers: 11, 12 and finally 13. With the goal of a race time of under 2 hours in sight, I managed to carry on regardless of physical pain and fatigue, fighting for every minute.
Usually lacking the energy for a final sprint, this time I had prepared myself: In addition to the standard podcasts on my MP3 about revolutions in the Middle East, book reviews and other information supposed to prevent my obsession about wasting valuable brain-time to set in, I had downloaded some music of which I believed it would catapult my body into über-human speed. I opted for the soundtrack of “Matrix Reloaded”. It worked: On the last 1.5 miles, I managed quite a sprint and finished in 1 hour, 57 minutes and 10 seconds.
Now I am going to ache and limp for 2 days, but the sense of achievement is worth it.