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  • Writer's picture Irina

The tale of a Monday Half Marathon

Views @Mill Hill, January 25 2021

The Debate

Monday January 25th, early o’clock, coffee in hand, I’ve done the grateful to be alive bit and I am left with only one question, well it’s never only one question, but one MAIN question: am I doing my January half marathon this morning? (Since November I do one each month).

No better way to delay things than to look at my phone.

First app I visit is the weather. Yes, ok, I know I’ve said the weather is the weather, but it’s worth checking if there are any dry days this week, given I will be running for over 2 hours. The phone predicts bright sunshine. I cannot see it yet, it’s still dark. Yes, it’s that early. Should I trust the phone?

Next stop, the inevitable app: Strava. I look at my stats and January challenges. If I am to achieve the 200km challenge, I need to run another 67km. I need some hills, 500m worth, to reach the 2,000m elevation challenge, and I need to run the half marathon. All this needs to happen by Sunday. So really, I should do the half marathon today, choosing a somewhat hilly route. Doing so, gives me a fighting chance to hit my goals for the month. That’s the theory anyway…

“It’s ok if you don’t make the challenges”, says the very familiar voice in my head. “You do enough, I am sure it’s fine if you run a shorter distance today. Leave the half marathon for another day. It’s fine, really don’t worry about it”. For a moment, I am convinced and feel more relaxed but still not settled.

Wait for it…

The other familiar voice takes over. “Oh just get dressed and go. Just run the bloody thing. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t. Plus, the weather is good and you had a rest day yesterday and how cool will it be to run a half marathon before work on a Monday morning? and then you’re on track to finish January on a high. Go on, get up.”

Third voice joins the discussion. The mediator. “Why don’t we settle on getting out, open to the idea of a half marathon but not feeling guilty if you decide to run less in the end? Just get out there and see how you feel. Promise that you will not over stress yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, you can just turn around and come home. How’s that? Makes sense? Feel better now? Good! Get dressed before you run out of time.”

Consensus is reached. The voices, which by the way converse in English and Greek go quiet.

Time to move

I get dressed and I head out. It’s still dark, it is freezing cold (-1, feels like -6 said the phone). But it’s dry and there’s no wind. I start running and by the time I’ve done 5km, the sun is coming up and is super bright! We have an expression in Greece for this kind of weather, sunny and cold. We say the sun is showing its teeth. Nature all around me is at its best. The river, the trees, the hills further away, even the cows seem to be celebrating the sunshine. I run past some kind and smiley people and we greet each other and my legs are behaving and my breathing is stable and I then decide that it really is the right time for a half marathon. If not now, when? If not here, where?

If not now, when? If not here, where? @Mill Hill, January 25 2021

So I run it. No more second thoughts. I stay focused on the route and avoid looking at my watch too often. Checking the distance cannot be a priority. That always helps me. I visualize the road ahead and knowing that I’ve run it before gives me confidence I can do it again. I eventually start feeling tired when I have to go up a serious hill on the 8th km, and that’s when I bring out the big guns.

An energy gummie and a placebo type of thinking that always works wonders for me; Instead of thinking, oh shit, I’ve got to run 21.1km, I convince myself that it’s important I run 10-11km and then all I have to do is turn around and go home. I know I can run 11km without too many issues. Great. As long as I can do that, the rest is easy, it’s just getting home. You may find this outrageous, but it always does the trick for me.

I get to 11km and turn around. I’ve got this. What comes up must come down, and the hills I ran up are now downhills. Love that. Only they were so icy I had to take it really slow. Like really, really slow. I get on the final stretch and a few km and one more energy gummie later, I am home!

Woohoo and hurray and whoop whoop whoop. I completed 21.7km with an average pace of 6:26. With a stop to take photos it took me 2h19m. Not too bad! Running again tomorrow, Wednesday. Aiming for 10-11km but we’ll see what the voices will have to say about it.

Happy ending! Half marathon done! January 25 2021

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Apr 16, 2021

"...I convince myself that it’s important I run 10-11km and then all I have to do is turn around and go home..." hahahaha i do exactly the same when things go "south"

Apr 17, 2021
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Guarantees success 🥴


Jan 27, 2021

So glad for you Irina. Keep it going. I am following and admiring you!


Jan 27, 2021

I love you re liu


Jan 27, 2021

So many questions so many thoughts and droughts gets you tired before starting .and after all this you start going !!!bravo irina!!!!


Jan 27, 2021

Whoop whoop🙌🙌

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