Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon

half marathon21.09 kms running along Sydney’s most spectacular and historic landmarks with the harbour bridge and the Opera House as backdrops was on Paraplanning Direct – Principal bucket list. On a beautiful September Sunday morning, she did it. Read on….

As I sit on the lawn of the majestic Royal Sydney Botanical Garden and look across the blue expense of water, I sink in my own world of amazement, oblivious of the colourful crowd. I am so thrilled… I have just completed my first ever half marathon ticking off one of my bucket list item.  I have run 21 kms in 2 hours 34 mins and 28seconds.  I do not know it yet but my time puts me in the last 13% for my age group.

So how did I end up at the start line of a half marathon at age 51?

Five weeks earlier, a colleague stated how beautiful the scenery is on the City to Surf run.  Being new to Sydney and always keen on exploring, I pondered on the idea.  So three days before the event, on the spur of the moment, despite no training I decided to do the 14 kms run from Sydney to Bondi.  Well, sort of no training as running is part of my daily exercise regime. In the excitement of comfortably finishing the race I promptly signed up for the half marathon.  I knew if I thought too much about it with only 5 weeks to go, I would find some valid excuse not to do it.   That’s how I ended up on the start line of the Blackmore Sydney Running Festival Half Marathon.

The Run

As for the run, it was uneventful!  The highlight was the run across the Harbour Bridge and having the bridge nearly to myself as my start of the race was delayed because of the long toilet queues.  I felt slightly light headed around the 14 kms mark but pushed on.. determined to finish no matter what.  The last 5 kilometers were part of my training trail, from Barangaroo to the Opera House and I picked the pace as I knew what to expect.

The Training

In the lead up to the race, unlike the City to Surf, I focused on training. I consulted Mr Google about a month long training program.   For the 4 Sundays leading to the race, my weekends were hijacked as I aim for over 14 kms run on a mix of trails from Wynyard station to Woolloomooloo and Barangaroo.  In between the long runs, I fitted in 2 shorter 4 to 6 kms runs with the days in between devoted to yoga.

The Food

Despite asking advice on what to eat, I ended up sticking to my idea of running on shakes, which worked through the training.  Once again I researched high carbohydrates seeds and nuts to put all the chances on my side. So on the day of the race, my shake was made up of   2 bananas, 1 raw egg, oats, sunflower seeds, almond meal and almond milk.

In the week leading to the race, I overloaded on carbohydrates – pasta and potato were on the menu.  And on the eve of the race, more pasta and this time washed down with Guinness.  Having a Guinness was a very deliberate choice, not only because of its high carbohydrate content but also as a relaxant.  Nevertheless, I spent nearly a sleepless night in anticipation.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely… despite coming up 213, with only 250 women participating in my age group, I continued to feel a sense of achievement.  In my mind, running a half marathon was for athletes, well I have just proved it that anyone can do it with some focus and dedication.