Lining up at the start of the Royal Parks 2013 I thought back to this exact weekend one year ago. Standing on the same stretch of road, nervously waiting for the starting to gun to go off on my first ever half marathon.
Following that first race one year ago, I went on to run my second half at Bath in March, my first marathon at Edinburgh in May, my first classic distance duathlon in September, my third half at Ealing in October and now my fourth, the exact same event as my racing debut one year before.
Turns out I don’t totally hate running. Who would of thought?
With a week of cycling lined up on Monday and a big effort at Ealing Half the weekend before I went to Royal Parks with strict instructions to take it easy and just enjoy the atmosphere. A fun jaunt around London with 16,000 runner pals, not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
Normally I am an absolute nightmare before a race, nerves get the better of me and any little thing can cause a meltdown, it’s something I’m working on… Deciding to run Royal Parks for fun and in the process removing all the pressure was an absolute revelation. I dropped my bag at ten to nine and ambled over to starting pens.
The gun went off at 9am and I was over the line in seconds. The next 12 miles went by in a pleasurable blur, running through the parks, past the Houses of Parliament and over Westminster Bridge. The sun was shining and I was having a great time. Things that normally would have caused me concern like bottle-necks and getting cut up at water stations didn’t even cross my mind. I was cruising around London on a sunny Sunday morning through cheering crowds and loving every second.
As I approached the 12 mile marker I thought I had better bring this thing home in style and went flat out for the line. It felt really good to have that much left in the tank at the end of a race and after picking up my second Royal Parks leaf shaped wooden medal I headed back to collect my bag and meet up with the rest of the group.
Royal Parks, once again, it has been an absolute pleasure.