Exactly two weeks ago I ran my first Half Marathon. In a special place for me: Mostar, because I’m born in Mostar. In this blogpost I will tell you everything about this race, why I decided to run the Mostar Half Marathon, how I trained, how it went and which time I ran.

So keep reading..

The decision

I’m running for approximately 8 years now. It got inspired by a good friend of mine Jan. He encouraged me to run a race. My first race was the Singelloop in Enschede.

Although I lost (with more than 5 minutes) from a man 23 years older than me, I got motivated to run more often.

During all these years I had periodes in which I run more often, and of course periodes where I didn’t run at all.

Running competitions where there to keep me motivated. That’s why we (Jan and I) run almost every year the 10K in Enschede during the Enschede Marathon.

We talked about how cool and exciting it would be to run a Half Marathon. Every year I told myself: this year I’m going to prepare for a Half Marathon.

But it didn’t happen. Until something changed.

I got motivated by something that happened at the end of 2017. My ex-girlfriend broke up with me and that somehow changed my mind about being fit.

Since then I started to train even more in the gym, and to build some habits that would help me towards my goal. I read a lot about creating habits from the blog by James Clear. This guy is a mastermind on this topic!

I also decided to run my first Half Marathon this year in Sarajevo.

They organise a Half Marathon every year in September, which meant that I would have enough time to prepare myself.

Somewhere end of January I visited the website of the Sarajevo Half Marathon. I saw that the race was held on 16 September. 16 September?!

Noooo! That weekend is my sister’s marriage. My first reaction: shit, what now?

After a couple of seconds I thought, what other place would I like to run? I realized there was one other place even more magical: Mostar!

I visited their website and saw that the competition was held on 24 March of 2018. It was the second edition.

At that moment I realized that I had only two months to prepare myself. And I wasn’t really in shape at that time. But I made a decision: I WILL!

Preparation

That’s when I started calculating. If I would run every weekend 2 kilometers further – starting with a 10 K run – I would make it.

Because I wanted to complete the run within a particular time limit, I realized that I would need some good shoes.

I immediately decide that I needed new running shoes. My running shoes were already a couple of years old. It was time to buy some new fresh ones.

So I went to the Runnersworld Store in Enschede. They are specialized in selling running shoes and equipment.

The shop assistent made an analysis about my running technique. He advised me three different pairs of running shoes.

I decided to buy the Asics Gel-Pursue 4 (http://shop.runnersworld.nl/collectie/hardloopschoenen-heren/alle/asics/15560-gel-pursue-4.html), because I’m running for years on Asics.

Feet injury

And that’s when I started to train. I ran 12 km. It went ok, but my toes hurt. I ran a shorter distance. The week after that I ran 15 km.

But after every run I felt pain in my toes. At first I thought the shoes will stretch. After the 15 km run I realized they wouldn’t stretch.

I felt bad. What now? Going back to the store to change them felt like mission impossible. But I hadn’t any other choice.

So I decided to go back and explain them the situation. That’s what I did.

The shop assistent looked at the shoes and immediately saw that the size was to small. He told me that he would order new ones. For free!

I was flabbergasted. What an amazing service! I felt so happy! Now I knew I could train maximally for the race.

And that’s what I tried. I ran every weekend further and reach 20.4 km two weekend before the race.

The weekend for the race I had a small party on Friday, and I drunk on Saturday evening. And that wasn’t a good idea.

That Sunday I tried to run 21 km. But I just hadn’t the power to do it. I ran 13 km. To be honest, I was not amused about my decision to drink.

On Wednesday I flew to Bosnia. That week I didn’t ran any distance.

The day before the run I almost didn’t eat anything, which was not a good sign. That evening I received a lot of message from friends, wishing me good look.

The one from my buddy Niels gave me just that little bit of power that I needed.

The Mostar Half Marathon

Saturday morning, the 24th of March. I woke up before 7 am. I had a little breakfast, eat a banana and dressed up.

I drove to Mostar and parked my car in the Mepas Mall. That’s where the busses where which brought us to the starting line.

In the bus I met a nice guy from Kosovo called Gazmend. He was 59 years old and running his entire life. His goal was to run 1 hour and 37 min (his time was 1 hour and 32 min!).

As we spoke he encouraged me and said to me that today I would run an amazing time. He encouraged me to try to run it in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

My goal was to run it in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Everything faster would be amazing. But I promised him that I would try and do my best to run faster.

The run started 5 minutes later than scheduled. The first couple of kilometers went good. I ran with the 1:45 guy within sight.

Every 2 km there was a sign. After 8 km I realized that I was almost running 12 km per hour. Which for me is really fast.

Between 12 and 14 km there was a climb with steep slopes, for my feeling 10%. It was tough, but I love these kind of challenges.

During the descent I compensated my average speed. After 16 km (because I missed 14 km sign trying to pose for a photographer – haha) I looked at my watch: 1 hour and 20 minutes and a couple of seconds.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was still running almost 12 km per hour. Because I didn’t believe it I asked a young guy next to me.

He looked at his watch and confirmed what I already knew. Keep up this speed and you will run a good time, he said to me.

Running towards 18 km we run on a bridge next to the Stari Most (Old Bridge). It was such a nice experience running there next to this iconic symbol! It felt magic and gave me strength to keep up running.

In the old part of the town the organization was bad! There were everywhere people walking. Even in one street there was a taxi on the road, so I had to avoid him by using the pavement.

I was angry at that moment. But I realized, I was just 2 km from the finish line. So I had to keep focus.

The last couple of kilometers where tough. I fought to not loose any speed. Running towards the finish and looking to the race clock felt amazing.

Right after I ran over the finish line I stoped my stopwacht. Time: 1 hour 46 minutes and 22 seconds.

That’s when I realized: I DID IT! I RAN MY FIRST HALF MARATHON.

And what an amazing time! Later on the official time came on the website: 1 hour, 46 minutes and 1 second.

I still can’t believe it.

I felt so proud! And still am.

I can definitely recommend you to run next year the Half Marathon of Mostar. The organization needs some improvement, but it’s definitely a nice run.

Now I’m preparing myself for the next one: the Half Marathon of Enschede.

Excited about how it will go. I will keep you update here at my blog.

I’m curious about you: have you ever run a Half Marathon? Or a whole? Tell me about your experience in the comments!