I am excited to say that yesterday I ran the Great North Run Half Marathon here in Newcastle-upon-Tyne!
It was an awesome day; there was no rain during our run, and there was a wonderful atmosphere at the event.
Here is my little summary of race day:
6-7am: My day started with checking over my list of things to pack. I had already put everything aside the night before, so it didn’t take too long to pack for the day.
I got dressed in my Parkinson’s UK charity shirt, and my red skirt from my days running with my original USA running group.
I ate breakfast, being careful to stick with what I usually eat, but also making sure it was substantial enough that I wouldn’t be hungry later on, and then I left home around 8am.
I got a ride with another running friend to the running track where we normally train. We met with many other runners from our UK running group and took a pre-ordered mini bus taxi into the city.
We had plenty of time for toilet stops and final preparations once we arrived at the race, including taking some group photos. I also ate a sandwich I had packed, as I knew the time of day I’d be running would be when I’d normally be eating lunch (11am-2pm).
We took our official places at the event and did a quick warm-up of stretching and aerobics which was so fun among the thousands of people attending the race.
We gradually walked closer to the starting line as each group began running in front of us, and then it was our turn to begin the race!
I ran over the Tyne Bridge and saw the 2 mile marker shortly afterwards. When I saw the 3 mile marker I thought to myself: “Just 10 miles to go; it is going to be okay!” … and it was!
I ran slowly up to the 9 mile point, feeling happy and relieved along the way when spotting the “halfway point” just before the 7 mile marker.
I took one bathroom break (which was an improvement from my first half marathon where I took two bathroom breaks).
By the 9 mile point my body was starting to feel very tired. I knew I had just over 4 miles to go, so I kept working on keeping my motivation up psychologically, and the excited and supportive crowds really helped with that as well.
Around the 10 mile point I decided to walk for a bit and then alternate some walking with running between miles 10-12. I ate some crackers (I had packed these in my tiny Camel Pak back-pack, thankfully!) and this really helped with the nausea that had first started around the 9-10 mile point.
When I got to the 12 mile marker I began slowly running again, and it was very exciting getting to the 20km marker (the total distance of the race is 21km or 13.1 miles).
It was a great feeling running through the finish line and receiving my Finisher’s Medal, and goody bag with T-shirt and snacks included.
The half marathon took me 20 minutes longer this year than my first half marathon (which took place back in May of 2015). I didn’t mind though, as I wasn’t in it to break my previous record or to go as fast as I could. I was doing it for the experience and my goal was simply to finish!
I met up with members of my running group afterwards and we took some more photos, and then I met with my family and headed to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and well-earned ham and cheese toasted sandwich!
It felt so good to finish this event which I have been working towards for such a long time (three months of physical preparation with running and weights training, and also about eight months of mental preparation since finding out I had a place in the event back in February).
My mantra for 2017 is “Adventure” and it certainly has been, with an international relocation back in January plus participating in yesterday’s amazing race!
Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement. I was lucky enough to raise more than my goal fundraising amount for Parkinson’s UK, so thanks again! I really appreciate it!
See you again soon,
Bridget @ Hot Tea Travel & Thyme x