Out of all the races I had booked for 2019, the London Landmarks Half Marathon was one of the races I was most looking forward to. I received a ballot entry – the first and only time I had entered a ballot entry race.
I live on the outskirts of London but very rarely do I go into London and see the sights. So on 24th March I decided to run round them!
I’ve been marathon training this year and this was my 4th half marathon in 5 weeks. I'd picked up an injury a month before, being diagnosed with tendinitis in my adductor (hip/thigh). Running had become uncomfortable but I’m very stubborn. If I have entered a race, I will make it to the start line. I worry about the finish line when I’m there.
I'd rested my leg for 4 days prior to LLHM so I was feeling confident I would enjoy it as much as I had hoped. I decided to do a 2-mile warm up before the run, and from the first step, my leg was playing up. How was I going to be able to run 13.1 miles?
I was running with my friend Amy who had received a charity place with Mind Mental Health Charity. Amy knew all about my leg issue and had agreed to run with me. We were just going to run, chat, laugh and get to the finish line. What neither of us expected was I would be complaining the whole way round!
The run starts at Pall Mall, goes up to Holborn, past the Royal Courts of Justice, past Guy Fawkes House, over Waterloo Bridge (and back), along the Embankment, up to St Paul's Cathedral, round Chancery Lane, round London’s Roman Amphitheatre, past Bank of England Museum, through Bank, Mansion House, up to Tower Hill then back up the Embankment to finish at Downing Street.
The weather was warm and sunny, something we hadn’t really prepared for. It’s amazing how much you can actually take in of London when you are running round it. You notice buildings you hadn’t noticed or appreciated before. It was great to see so many landmarks!
My leg was having none of it. The course was slightly undulating so when I was running up an incline my leg would pull so I would stop to walk for a while (whilst apologising to Amy for slowing her down). Any runner knows once you ‘break the seal’ to walking, it then becomes habit.
I was not enjoying this race as much as I wanted to. For some reason I had nothing in me. I'd taken my gels, I'd re-hydrated at the water stations but I realised today was just not my day. I will admit I found the race hard.
The supporters were very encouraging. Our bib numbers had our names on so there were lots of cheers of ‘Go on Vinny’ and ‘you’re doing well Vinny’ – this really kept me going! As much as I wanted to say to people that I’m only walking because I was in pain, not because I couldn’t run. But who would care? I was still out there and I know the only person who was judging me was me. I thought back to my saying about the tortoise and the hare. I would make the finish line, no matter whether I ran, jogged, limped or crawled over the finish line.
As we were heading back towards the finish line, the crowd were incredible! If that doesn’t encourage you to finish strong I don’t know what will!
I finished the race in 2:22:51. Not one of my best times! But it was done, I had finished 13 miles with an injury.
It was a shame I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have hoped – but it goes to show that even those who run every weekend (including me) have bad races and bad days. So now it’s time to taper for Manchester Marathon!
About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.