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Truthfully, I could say that about both of the half marathons I have run. In April I had decided not to run, when my good friend and running partner talked me into going. This time it was my first “solo” half marathon, in the sense that I didn’t have someone who started with me and waited for me on the other side of the finishing line. So it was a bit scary.

I was debating whether or not I’d run until about fifteen minutes before I absolutely had to leave home. I had already prepared everything just in case, but I was definitely not feeling the enthusiasm. I had slept really badly (didn’t help that I didn’t even get home until one at night) and could barely get out of bed. When I get really, really stressed and overwhelmed, I sometimes feel physically paralysed. Weird feeling. So I started the day with a complete mental breakdown (oh God not this again I cannot be like this again I thought I was over it), then had my breakfast, and then I was out the door. Which was a HUGE victory.

The “look what I’m about to do” photo for Instagram. This is the route overview.

The half marathon was this one: http://knarvikmilauk.idrettenonline.no/p/11159/half-marathon and it was BEAUTIFUL. We ran over three bridges (two of them twice), it was sunny, the volunteers along the way were friendly and encouraging, and they had prepared enough water and energy drinks that there was plenty even for the last ones. That was a problem in Bergen City Marathon in April, actually – there was nothing left to drink or eat for the last two stations. The only problem, if you can call it that, was the wind. I think I could have gotten a better time if I didn’t have to spend so much energy running against the wind, and on one of the bridges it was so windy (from the side) that I was seriously wondering if I’d be able to run straight ahead. Still, it could easily have become far too hot without it.

Half way over the second bridge (where we turned and ran back the same way for a while) I realised that there was a woman who had held approximately the same pace as I did, and somehow we got talking. And kept talking, more or less, throughout the race. Why run five metres ahead of each other when we keep the same pace anyway, and we can run together? So we did. Neither of us had any very ambitious goals for the race, and for my part it’s easier to keep my pace up and my motivation in check when I have someone to keep up with. It was really nice!

Contrary to Bergen City Marathon, this one seemed to have more athletic people, more “proper” runners, and so we soon realised that we were nearly the last ones. We thought we were actually the last ones for a while, but somehow it didn’t matter. With my preparation and training I had decided I would be happy to just cross the finish line and, hopefully, get a better time than in April. Also hopefully get across the finish line before they stopped taking the time after three hours (which tells you something about my current fitness level), which didn’t happen – but when I checked the website today, my time was actually registered. I ran on 3:12:53, which is exactly five minutes faster than in April, when my time was 3:17:59. I am happy with that!

Anyway, when we had a third of the course left, we heard someone come running full speed behind us, and it was a woman who had run with a friend who had decided to not continue, and one of the Red Cross guys had told her that we were not far ahead. So she ran to catch up with us and ran/walked with us all the way to the finish. She was great!

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When we finished, we of course got the medal – isn’t it nice? I now have two proper race medals, and they hang side by side very visibly in my living room. If you got it, flaunt it! We also got a banana and a sports drink, but I wish they also had T-shirts. BUT we actually got flowers! A bouquet of roses each. Isn’t it nice? (Never mind the mess on my dining table…) Flowers, a medal, new friends, a personal record and a great experience – can it be better?

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I ran with my new shoes, too, and while it felt a bit risky and I am a bit sore, they were very good. Actually, very good is an understatement.

Today I’m exhausted. I never sleep well when I’m this tired, but even so I went to bed around ten and fell asleep about an hour later, I think, but I woke up fairly frequently through the night. And then I got up at half past seven today – it was a beautiful sunrise, and I get so much energy after a race.

So I’ve been cleaning up a bit here at home. I don’t have the energy for a lot of it, but I put a thing or two in their proper place, then relax a bit, then do another thing. And I’ve decided to say the final farewell to some of my favourite running shoes.

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I wore them almost to pieces – they are Gore Tex shoes, and living in a city as rainy as Bergen that has been invaluable. Particularly when you practically live in running shoes/trainers every day. But eventually they became too old and worn out to be worn in public, and I started using them for Storehesten Opp, a race (one that you can also participate in just for the social side of it, without being timed) up a mountain near my hometown. My brother and I have a tradition of going there, even if we couldn’t make it this year. The outer soles are still very good in these shoes, so they were great for walking in the muddy and wet terrain that is there. But I think their time is up now. They are heavy, stiff and lumpy now, and I realised that now that I have actual terrain running shoes (Salomon Fellraiser, which are GREAT) I am probably never going to wear them again. So out they go, along with another pair that is slightly ill-fitting. Why I bought them I have no idea, except that they felt good in the store.

Anyway! Just thought I’d write a little update about the race. Now I’m going to tidy up a little more here, then prepare tomorrow’s lessons, and make myself something to eat – and enjoy the fact that I did something I almost didn’t dare to do, something that I would have thought was completely crazy less than a year ago. And I had fun doing it!

But next year I’ll run in less than three hours, just saying… In other words: I will actually prepare and train for it. 😉

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