Finding happiness on a 13.1 mile journey

Photo 16-10-2016, 17 45 34

As I write this blog post I can’t help but smile. The Amsterdam half marathon has left a handprint on my heart. I’d completed my first half exactly 7 days before I took to Amsterdam but this race was different. On the outside looking in, not much had changed. My pace was identical to the previous race but I felt different when I crossed the finish line. Last week I was in pain, this time I felt overwhelmed with a huge sense of relief.

If I’m honest, in the days leading up to the half marathon’s I was feeling quite lost. Actually, it wasn’t days…it was more like months.  2016 has been… it’s been difficult. I think we all get to a point in life when we feel like we are standing in front of a brick wall that is too strong to knock down and to tall to climb over. I have been staring at that brick wall for most of this year, wondering how to get around it and I didn’t think it would take a 13.1 mile run to help me find the courage needed to be able to walk straight through the wall. I crossed the finish line was a heart bursting with pride and tears in my eyes because my strength and determination gave me the courage to complete the course with a (minor) injury. I fought for every mile and in return I’d found my happy place and that positive mental attitude that used to shine so brightly. I found myself.

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The course wasn’t as smooth as the Royal Parks. The scenery was beautiful but the roads were narrow which meant that I sometimes found myself trotting behind a queue of runners who were equally as agitate as I was. But I kept my calm and managed to find my pace with the help of my new Polar M400 watch. I didn’t think I needed a running watch, until I did my first half marathon. I was faced with a cross road and had to make the tough decision of choosing between listening to music or tracking my pace on my IPhone. I knew that my IPhone battery wouldn’t be able to handle me using both for the best part of 2 hours. Due to the fear of needing my power tunes and the inaccuracy of my running apps, the music won and I ran the Royal parks with no idea of my pace. I did have a pacer with me but he wouldn’t tell me the pace anyway!  Every time I ran through another mile check point, I wish I knew my pace. So I took my new running watch with me to Amsterdam and I was so pleased to see that there was only one rogue 3 minute something km in there. What can I say, I’m a sprinter, a speed fiend. I thrive off running fast!

 

The less I have to worry about, the more I can focus on my running and with this watch I could find our my pace with just a simple flick of the wrist. That means no more fiddling with iPhone arm bands or trying to unlock you phone with sweaty fingers.

As well as tracking your pace, it also records your running index which is the feature that caught my attention the most. Your running index shows how efficient your running is. It’s based on your heart rate, speed and duration of run. Ultimately it’s a fitness test that helps you to become a better runner. You might be running faster or longer but are you running better? I scored “Very good”, just a few points off “elite”, which isn’t bad to say that this was only my second half marathon.

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I think I am going to do the Amsterdam half every year and if you’re thinking about doing your first long distance race, i’d recommend this one. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, run 100m in 9.56 seconds or a marathon in 6 hours. Who cares about how fast you can run! just give it your best shot. It’s challenging but the rewards make every mile worth while and who knows what you will feel when you cross the finish line.

 

This post was in collaboration with Polar

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