You don’t wake up one day and decide to run a 100k race. It’s a long process. Frankly, despite really committing to the training, I didn’t know whether I was going to make it in one piece. But I did. So here it is: I completed my very first 100k race last Saturday. Yep, you read it right: I ran (well, sometimes I walked) 100k last Saturday. And I survived.
I know that some of you like numbers, so here it is: I came 15th female out of c. 400, and 49th overall (out of c. 1000 participants). My time was a little over 13hours30 minutes (with lunch & dinner breaks). That said, it was never about a time, it was about pushing myself to the limits, and raising funds for ActionAid UK.
The training had been brutal. It’s clear that fitness-wise, I am in a better shape than I have ever been. That said, the race was a lot harder than I thought. Nothing can prepare you for such a distance. Believe me, it was a killer. To cut a long story short, I toyed with the idea of a DNF (Do Not Finish in running lingo) at least a couple of times.
Initially, things went more or less according to plan. I ran 28k in 3 hours or so. I had a good break at the first check point, and ended up doing 50k in 6 hours. So far so good, I tought. I went into a walk/run routine with Kellie, a lovely army medic who kept calling me ‘Mate’. She was still as fresh as a daisy after a few hours. I wasn’t.
I had a massive meltdown with tears and self-doubt at km 72, and thought I had no more running left in me. I indulged in some self-pity; I was shivering –it was pouring-, and I honestly thought that I was the most miserable person on earth. It’s my meridional side, you see, I don’t do things by halves.
I walked to check point at km 78, thinking of calling my husband to pick me up. I had a baked potato, and realised that a supporter had made a generous (and anonymous) donation. Damn it. I felt compelled to continue. I started listening to music and tried to walk during a song, and run the following one. It worked. Thanks to Bon Jovi and an anonymous supporter, I had picked myself up. Woohoo!
Secondary meltdown at km 88. It was starting to get darker, and I was a bit scared to get lost. I pulled myself together after fifteen minutes or so. I was still shivering, and came to the conclusion that the only way not to get cold was to run, even if everything was hurting. It made me think of when I was in labour, delivering my daughters: the only way not to feel the pain of the contractions was to push as hard as I could. So I pushed.
I ran until the end. I even ran faster than hubby who came to meet me up at km 99. I was so pleased to have completed the challenge that I kept smiling and thanking everybody. Am I mad? Probably. Have I made a difference? I hope so.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me. It is very clear that I wouldn’t have done it without all the words of encouragement. Huge thanks again -emotions are still running high, and I am humbled by your generosity ( https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Muriel-Demarcus )