Valerie's 20k Birthday Run

*Not a professional runner and not offering any running tips, just sharing an experience and personal achievement!

For the longest time I would tell myself that I would never run a half marathon - and then turning 31 year old me had other ideas.

It was a few months in the making. I set myself run goals and mileage goals, slowly building it up each week. It felt good to follow a training plan (of sorts) again and force myself to be disciplined and follow through with it. I watched my diet more and made sure to give myself enough rest days. I clocked 105.5km in total in January which is a lot for me!

Getting my mileage up each time was really tough and as my birthday was approaching I was close to giving up. I also only told a few people in my family about it because I was so nervous about committing!

What kept me going was telling myself not to let all those runs go to waste. I put in so much effort and time over the past months working towards this amidst mom life and work life. Knowing that my family was so excited about it helped too.

The run day itself didn’t go as planned, with me oversleeping and waking up an hour late. I felt defeated before I even began, because I knew that ending an hour+ later than scheduled would mean that it would be scorching hot. I rushed to get ready and tried calling for a ride… but there was none!

Dad to the rescue! In 10 minutes he was downstairs ready to get me to my starting point with a bonus pep talk on the journey there. My sisters were also awake (thankfully) and endured my rants over text so that I could get it out of the way.

I finally got to my starting point, shared my live location with my brother, started my gps and timer and began. After 9km my brother appeared on his bicycle, providing life updates to my family along the way and giving me some much needed moments of company, and he also bought me water!

After crossing the 15km mark, it really felt like I was just dragging myself to the finish line knowing that my kids were waiting there to celebrate. I couldn't wait to see them.

Though I was physically alone for most of the 2 hours and 30 minutes that I spent running, it really didn’t feel like it because my brother would show up randomly and I knew my family was supporting me. What made it all worthwhile was also how excited my son and goddaugther were about making a finish line for me with their arms. My goddaughter even said that she wanted to do a run for her birthday too. A different way to spend a birthday, but one I will remember for a very long time.