By Scott Mills
Nothing prepares you better for your first official half-marathon, then spending a week living on your own whilst having to balance the pleasures of work, house-sitting chores, training and often having to clean up dogs mess on a regular basis.
With the Hampton Court Half-Marathon on the horizon and my parents away soaking up the sun rays in Thailand, this weeks training was slightly unusual to those I have so far encountered.
Instead of having a training session every day, this week would only include runs on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday in order to prepare myself for Sunday.
Starting off with a nice 15 mile run the day after I had a football match, the evening session was surprisingly a comfortable one as I set off for Kingsmeadow Athletics track dressed like Queen legend Freddie Mercury in my finest lycra.
That same run however, wasn’t as comfortable or as enjoyable on the Wednesday.
As soon as I stepped out of the door, the weather seemed to have gone from relatively calm and tolerable to that from the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ pretty quickly.
Finally, after trekking it out in this monsoon with extremely damp and wet socks alongside my hair being transformed into such a fine mop that it could’ve probably been used to clean floors, I reached the track.
Never before have I been so pleased to hear Jenny’s voice in my life…until she told me that I had to run home!
Having experienced this uncomfortable run in extremely bad weather conditions. I now wish that come April that it does not rain on race day.
By the time Friday came around, my mileage had tailed down completely and a light 6 mile jog was enough to prepare me for Sunday.
Despite having to wake up at 6am on race day and the fact they were playing music on the surround system that made Jedward sound like Elton John, the Hampton Court Half-Marathon was one of the best experiences I have encountered.
With the run being my first ever official running event, I didn’t quite know what to expect having never actually experienced running with such a large number of people before.
In training, when I would complete long distance runs, I would often find myself in a constant battle in my mind where the positive thoughts would be conflicting with negative ones that had more comebacks then the Terminator.
But throughout those 13.1 miles, I couldn’t even tell you anything that crossed my mind or the sights that I saw on the run because it was almost a blur.
The way the atmosphere was where people were cheering you on, children high fiving you as you ran past, whilst a geezer dressed as Henry VIII stood next to them going crazy like a middle-aged woman at a Take That concert, the half marathon flew by.
In fact, I think the way in which I was constantly having to over-take fellow runners allowed me to maintain a decent pace and push all my concentration towards my running strategy more than anything else.
The only time I came against a barrier was within the last half a mile of the finish line when I was rewarded with a stitch in my abdominal muscles, something that I forgot I even had!
This caused me to slow down to such a point that the runners behind me must’ve thought I was in dire need of a trip to the bathroom.
However, for my first ever half-marathon I couldn’t have been more pleased to find out that I finished with a personal time of 01:36:29 which had placed me 398th out of 3818 participants.
Even though it was tough, having Jenny tell me how extremely proud she was and that I had done exceptionally well was nice but what meant the most to me more than any medal was knowing that I had done my family proud.
Having the pleasure of experiencing the encouragement and support from that type of crowd I am already looking forward to seeing what the London Marathon is going to be like.
If you would like to sponsor me in my efforts to run the London Marathon for Get Kids Going! you can do so here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=ScottMills1