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  • Yee Yeoman

My First Half Marathon in 14 Years: Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving My Goal

It had been 14 years since my last half marathon, where I set a personal best of 1:59. This year, I decided to challenge myself again and set a goal to complete the Orewa Half Marathon in under 2 hours. With the help of a Runna coach, I committed to a 6-week training plan that included three runs per week, one swim session, and two Pilates sessions. I trained up to 19 kms and felt ready, with no niggles and high hopes.

However, timing is everything, especially when it comes to training and hormonal cycles. My periods are like clockwork every 27 days, and unfortunately, I hit day 28 the day before my run with no sign of my period arriving. I felt the familiar cramps and bloating leading up to the race and, just my luck, got my period the night before.

There is some fascinating research on how female hormones affect training cycles, and ideally, I wouldn't recommend running a half marathon during your period due to the low levels of estrogen and progesterone. Typically, my periods are quite heavy on the first day, requiring me to change my tampon or cup every 1-2 hours, so I was unsure how I would cope during the run.

Despite these challenges, I managed to get a good night's sleep, did my stretches, and packed my family in the car with an hour to spare to collect my bib and make last-minute toilet stops. Fortunately, my daily bowel habit came through, and I had a decent bowel movement that morning.

For fuel, I had two shots of espresso, a glass of water, and a gel. I experienced some usual reflux during the run, but it passed, and I felt fine. I took gels at the 7km and 11km marks and paced myself around 5:30-5:40 /km. To my delight, I finished with a time of 1:57, achieving my goal of completing the half marathon in under 2 hours despite the additional challenge of running on my period.

Interestingly, my period was lighter than usual, and I didn’t experience the usual pain or inflammation in my body. Normally, I would do nothing on my period and feel achy, but perhaps the movement actually helped. This experience showed me that if you set a goal, stick to your training plan, and turn up for all your runs, you will see results over time.

Now, I’m looking forward to my next half marathon in August and ultimately, the Auckland Marathon in November. Here’s hoping my body continues to hold up as I pursue these new goals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Training Consistency: Stick to your training plan and trust the process.

  • Listen to Your Body: Adapt and adjust based on how you feel, especially with female hormonal cycles.

  • Overcoming Challenges: Even with unexpected obstacles, you can still achieve your goals with determination and preparation.

Stay tuned for more updates on my training journey and upcoming races!

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