Of confessions and cramps

Of confessions and cramps

Nearly 8 years ago, when I was a newly minted half-marathoner, I wrote a blog post right here about the craziness of being disappointed in one’s results, when you have just achieved something pretty darn impressive – aka running 21.097 km.

Here is the link and (in all modesty) I think it bears re-reading, especially the outpouring of comments, with everyone supporting my view that we HAVE to stop downplaying our achievements.

Fast forward to today, when I have just run the slowest half marathon of my 10 year-old running “career”…and have been very downcast all day.

I got silver in my age category, which is obviously very nice, but:

a) the lady who beat me was nearly 30 minutes faster than me, so super hats off to her!

b) I only got silver because of my age. Absolutely not speed.

So, yes, I have been feeling disappointed. I cannot lie.


For God’s sake, woman, you are now 70, a cancer survivor and have just run a half marathon.

So STOP feeling disappointed.

It’ll take a few days to get both my running confidence and running mo-jo back, and start to feel proud of my race, but for now – I’m talking sternly to myself 😛

There are actually NO excuses for my less than stellar performance today – other than lack of training.

And that is TOTALLY on me.

I simply didn’t train properly or enough.

So that is something I have to remedy, as I now start the seemingly impossible task of getting myself marathon ready by January.

I haven’t run a marathon since 2019, so it’s going to be one heck of a challenge.

Watch this space.

I just said there were no excuses, but I must state in my own defence that I had agonising calf cramps, and stopped 3 times at medical stations along the race route for a blast of Volini. This all slowed me down – but definitely not enough to have caught the lady who came in first.

Once I’d collected my medal and was leaving the venue, I nearly collapsed as my right leg spasmed excruciatingly. I grabbed hold of the person nearest to me, a kind young woman, who held onto me, and then a young man (they were both runners) rushed up and they helped me hobble to the medical station, where I was once again Volini-ed.

I was walking v-e-r-y slowly to the car on the street outside the stadium, and repeated the drama – screaming with pain and grabbing hold of a kind woman (also a runner), who held me whilst another young man (also a runner) massaged my calf, and another woman (also a runner) told me to keep water under my tongue for a minute – gotta check that tip out.

Said my grateful thank yous to these kind souls, and continued hobbling to my car and – yup -3rd time unlucky. Yelping in pain, I tried stretching, using the car as support and another young man (also a runner) asked if I needed help and advised electrolytes, citing the unusually humid day.

What a spectacle! And, as ever, the kindness of strangers.

Won’t bore you with the persistent yelling, as my legs have continued spasm-ing all day, but it is all very odd, since I was chugging electrolytes all day yesterday and during my run.

So, yeah, I have a small excuse for being less than stellar, but the fact of the matter cannot be denied – I was under-trained.

Final thought of the day.

In my 2015 blog post, I mentioned that there were 7983 HM finishers.


I’ll try and find out the stats for today, but I can tell you one thing – there has been an exponential increase in participation, and I don’t need any official stats to tell me that. I think there must have been 7983 people just in my starting zone alone 🙂

See what I mean? This was Zone C slowly shuffling our way to the start line at 5.24 this morning.

I finally crossed the line at 5.37 so that gives you some idea of the crowd.

Let me end with a photo of me twinning with one of my lovely running girls, Sana, a brand new half-marathoner as of today:


  1. Dear Christine, I wish I had your strength and courage to run a marathon or even an half one. The last time I did a run with my daughter was in september on a hot day. And really I was overheated. I ran very slowly wishing there was water . I don’t know if you understand as I say that the heat was in my legs. . It was heavy. At the moment I have an infection in my leg, so I stopped running, at least for a while.
    I really find you strong and I must say, I look up at you. . Keep on the good spirit. Greetings Myriam

    Myriam Sleeckx
  2. I’m so sorry to hear that you were so uncomfortable Christine. There are always bad days just as there are great days. You inspire irrespective and should rightly so feel so proud of yourself!

    Sneh Wadhwaney
  3. Sorry to hear about the cramps. They sound excruciating. Hope you are okay now and have put your feet up? Well done on completing the race—despite those painful hurdles—with a podium finish to boot. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to training. And the older we get, the more it hits home.
    We had a fantastic run in sunny, seaside Portsmouth this morning. The conditions were perfect and the atmosphere was, as always, stellar. I high fived every kid along the way. Since I was so undertrained, I held myself back and kept a slow but steady pace. So my heart was not leaping out of my chest. Past couple of weeks I trained to do continuous 60 mins run without worrying about my speed and that helped to keep my going. After an hour, I asked myself, do I need to take a break? The answer was a surprising and emphatic, no. Today I was 21 mins slower than when I did it in 2018. But I am still very pleased. I just realised it’s the longest distance I have run since lockdown! So onwards and upwards. Dave too is super chuffed with his race. His training has been triathlon focussed lately, so he was very happy with his time.

    Kathakoli Dasgupta
  4. I think you were very brave (or just plain foolhardy?) to run the marathon when you hadn’t trained and in this heat! I do hope you are better now, Those cramps sound pretty awful.
    Do look after yourself, dear Christine.

    Brinda Dubey
    1. Got a bit of a lecture from my lovely trainer this morning who says it’s all my own fault for not running enough to prep for the race…and he’s probably right…how are you feeling today?

  5. Sorry to hear that you got cramps, Christine. That’s sad.
    I did come out to see you at 5.45am, but I think you had already gone ahead and I missed you. A huge number of participants in the race!

    Ena Mehra

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