When we decided to move back to Budapest, I knew that I had to run this race. I’ve been training constantly and I could say that I’m half marathon ready on any given Saturday but when you sign up for a race the pressure is definately higher.
I was always running the longest distances with the Nike crew back in New York. I was basically marathon ready last year I just didn’t have a race to run. I was either lazy to sign up or just wasn’t there mentally yet. But I figured if somewhere, Budapest would be the best place to run my first official half marathon.
I signed up 6 weeks prior to the race. So I just jumped into it without doing any proper training. I knew that I can run the distance but I was nervous because as much as I wanted to convince myself just to have fun with it I knew that it does’t work this way. My biggest competition is myself so when I set my mind on 1:45 there was no going back. I wanted to run a better time than what I already had on the distance but I didn’t feel like I had it in me. Since we moved back to Budapest I started a running group, Budapest Running Project I’ve been running with them a lot recently so I didn’t train on my own terms. That would be totally fine but I could feel on my solo runs that I was losing fitness, I just didn’t feel like my old self.. I also have to blame all the great but heavy food I’ve been stuffing my face with since we are back home. Hungarian comfort food is no joke and I definitely gained a few pounds.
When this email came in my mailbox things started to get real..
I kept up my Tuesday Tempo runs but I did not gain any confidence from them. None of my runs went well enough. At least not well enough for my expectations. I knew I could run faster I just didn’t find the power in my legs and lungs. My longest training run was a few meters shy of 24k. That run went pretty great except I wasn’t sure if I will be able to keep the pace I wanted to on race day.
When the big day came, I laced up my shoes and told myself “not to worry just put one foot in front of the other” NO BIG DEAL! Done this many many times before.
Was I nervous? YES. Was I even more excited to run my city and have my family cheer for me? HELL YES! At 9am we were off..
During my first mile I felt great but I knew that I had to hold back a little bit, didn’t want the excitement to get the best of me. Headwind was insane all the way until half way. I was struggling to push through. I was questioning everything and I wasn’t sure what the heck I was doing. This was my first race so I was pushing my limits and I was just hoping that my body will cooperate.
I was doing alright considering the wind and that I dropped my candy what I was planning to eat at half way..yep, good bye sugar rush. I had to keep it together since my family was waiting at mile 10 around 16k. I wanted to look somewhat collected for them.
By mile 12/19k I was completely done and exhausted. My vision was blurry and my legs were giving up. There was so much dust and sweat in my eyes, I was beyond uncomfortable. But I knew that these are the signs that I’m running my absolute best. I didn’t wanna stop but I listened to my better judgment and the next and last hydration point I stopped for a minute to eat a piece of banana and drink water with magnesium. Then kept running.. only 2k to go I still felt like that this race will never end. I couldn’t feel the difference between uphill, downhill or flat anymore I had tunnel vision and blocked out everything. Just focused on the last stretch. I crossed the finish line and all my pain went away and happiness took over. Proudly excepted my finisher medal and grabbed my post race package.
I met up with my husband who crossed the finish line 15 minutes before I did. #ProudWife.
My goal was 1:45 and I ran 1:44:59. I know that I have more in me, I will bring that next time with me to the start line. As Nike say it “There’s no finish line”. Training never stops and I feel motivated and excited to be better, stronger and faster. My sister asked me if I would do it again. You probably already know what my answer was 😉
Who else ran their first race recently? Anyone training for any big races where they wanna score a PR? Share your story with me!