My first half marathon experience (& a weekend in Ljubljana)
Last weekend I had participated in my first half marathon ever! I was soo excited and nervous I can't even explain. Running has always just been a hobby or part of a sport I'd train, but with this I think it become something more for me.
At the beginning of August, and a year of working out with BBG, I have decided that I want to challenge myself a bit more and have made a decision to apply for a half marthon in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The date of the half marathon was set to 30th of October, 2016.
This left me with 3 months to get ready. Since I was not a part of any running team (definitely planning to become a part of one now though), and with zero knowledge how should one apporoach getting ready for a half marathon, if I'm being completely honest I've tried to wing it haha :D So what I did (except for google stuff) is I've downloaded nike running plus app and more or less followed their training regime. With BBG workouts, work and life in between I could have stuck with the regime better, but in the 3 months i've managed to run a little more than 200 km. In that I've managed to do 3 long runs - 15 km, 17 km and 18,5 km which gave me an apporoximate idea how challenging the race will be.
The week of the race I only did two 5k runs just to keep myself moving, since week before that I was traveling and felt out of my game. I've streched and did yoga to prevent the hip pain that comes with running for me.
As the race day was approaching, I was becoming more and more nervous. Could i do it? Was the 3 months of preparing enough? What should I eat beforehand? So many questions in my head..I've contacted Lisa who was kind enough to share some of her tips with me which helped me so much. She also pointed me to this article which I found very uplifting & motivating.
We arrived to Ljubljana a day before to pick up the numbers, spent the evening strolling around the city center and having a drink and went home to get 8 hours of sleep (luckily the clock moved one hour back that night so we got an hour more :D).
The race day was here! As I was moving through huge amount of people to get to my spot I was overwhelmed with feelings. So many people ready to run. So many people on the streets cheering them on. Truly, something I have never experienced before. It was magical.
I've started the race with my friend Vedran whose goal was to run the half marathon under 2 hours..That meant that the pace was pretty challenging for me, and after first 9 km I could not keep it anymore. Which was okay, because my biggest goal was to finish the half marathon even if that meant running with a slower pace.
On 10th km I've caught up with Tanja and Matija from Zagreb Runners and kept running with them. Matija was running a marathon for the first time, so they kept a steady pace as he was keeping his energy for the whole 42 km and Tanja was running the half marathon to keep him company (talking about support <3). Those 11 km I ran with them were amazing. My mind was not set on how challenging this was as my pace was slower and I genuinely enjoyed the run, the cheering, the scenery. Before I even knew it, we passed 18km and we only had 3 more to go. Last km though, when we said goodbye to Matija as he proceeded to marathon, Tanja picked up the pace and we almost sprinted to the finish (way to go to finish strong omg I nearly collapsed haha).
Seeing all those people at the finish, feeling all the support, crossing the finish line and seeing your result, the happiness, all the feelings at once..Honestly I felt like I'm not in my own body, it was like I'm floating away in my own bubble.
Looking back at it after few days when everything settled, I feel incredible proud and happy. I have set a goal for myself, one that really challenged me both physically and mentally, did my best and I have achieved it. Honestly still buzzing with happiness.
So what's next? Who knows, we'll see..but one thing I know for sure is that may have been my first half marathon, but it definitely wasn't the last :)