After a slightly disappointing end to my training (I didn’t really recover from the lingering cold/bug that I caught), I managed to complete my longest run of 8 miles two weeks before the half marathon.
So, feeling under prepared, nervous and excited I took my place in the start queue of the North London Half. I am used to running by myself as most of my runs are solo but I admit to feeling a bit lonely in amongst the groups of friends in the start pen.
I took my place near the back of the queue and put on my workout playlist, I’d spent a few hours the night before adding more songs to it which I hoped would give me a boost mid run.
Before long we were off, doing a slow shuffle that stopped and start for what felt like forever before running up the first hill of the day and over the start line.
The first hill of many, my lingering memory of the run are the hills…so many hills. Yes there are probably other courses with more hills but my East London training runs were flat as pancakes in comparison with North West London.
I took the race slow and steady and yes, I walked up many of the hills. The course was a little boring in many places but it was nice to see local residents cheering us on their pavements.
At around the halfway mark we ran in to the Allianz Stadium. One of the perks of being a slower runner meant that there weren’t too many other runners running round the track at the same time as me. I got to see my name and number projected on to the massive screen used during athletics and rugby matches which was a great boost.
Running out of the stadium was a little disheartening and most of the route was now a loop back from where we had just came. There were a few points on the home leg where I thought I was closer to the finish than I was (by quite a way). I chatted to some other runners to break up the run which was nice.
The hardest part of the course was running back up the hills at the end of the course that we’d covered at the start. By this point my legs were burning and I could wait to see the famous Wembley arch.
I was just rounding the corner towards Wembley Stadium when I saw something more welcome than the arch- my friend Kiera on the sidelines cheering me on. I have never been so happy to see a familiar face before. Brilliant morale boost and of course Kiera was delighted to get a sweaty hug from me in return.
I jogged/ran/walked towards the stadium with Kiera keeping pace beside me- it is deceptively long to get to the stadium along the walkway.
Unfortunately Kiera wasn’t allowed in the stadium with me so I left her outside and made my way in towards the finish line.
Well…what can I say. The finish line was well worth every hill, every step, every mile. As my first ever time inside Wembley it was a special moment.
We got to run round the side of the pitch (on fake grass layed on top of the famous pitch) and I can only imagine what it must be like to actually play a match to a sell out crowd in the stadium.
I was so happy to have finished. I mostly enjoyed the half marathon and would like to do another in the Autumn (I’ll be looking for a flat course). I loved the finish line and parts of the course but probably won’t run the North London Half again as I’ve had my special moment inside the stadium.
After the race we headed to get some food…make that all the food. One of the reasons I enjoy running is definately because I can treat myself afterwards 🙂
I am going to take a break from entering any running races over Summer as I don’t really enjoy running in the heat as much. Does anyone have any suggestions for half marathons n the Autumn?
I have lined up a few very different races to keep my occupied over Summer. I’ll be blogging about them very soon!