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The Bath Half – Race Recap

So last year, my run club decided to all sign up to the same half marathon. Not wanting to miss out, I booked up and then realised that was going to be three half marathon in 4 weeks. I can do that, no worries I thought! Then at last week Vitality Big Half, I really didn’t enjoy it, my foot hurt, the weather was horrible (Read about it here) and it really doubted my ability to run another one so soon.

I have been put on medication recently and it has been making me very tired, and I really didn’t want to start another race, and just not enjoy it! Luckily, as it was a club event, the hotel room was booked and I was lucky enough to catch a ride with others, so I decided to just go with it.

Date: Sunday 17th March 2019

Time: 11:00am

Weather: A sunny and a little windy at time, but not anything like last week!

Course: I knew nothing about this race, but was told it was flat and two loops. I found out, it’s not totally flat, and it is a busy race.  When you look at the course map, it looks potentially like you run either side of the river, and you do, but apart from going over the bridge to turn back, you hardly see it.

Bath Half Route

There were a few sections that were very congested, and a pathway that you had to concentrate on as there was a curb in the middle, and there were a lot of cones on the course, which I saw a few people take a tumble over. The cones were to keep runners on first lap to left, second lap to right, I’m not totally sure that happened.

My race: I started in the green pen with two club mates, and we had all agreed to run our own races, but ran the first few miles together. Luckily it was quite congested at the start, so there was no way you could start too fast. There was a gentle decline at the start, and it was amazing to see the street ahead full of runners.

Pre-race smiles

Both my club mates are faster than me, and I just concentrated on trying to stick with them. I fell behind a few times and then caught up, repeat a number of times . The course was very congested and I got stuck behind people quite a lot.

I was still with them as we headed out for our second lap, but I could feel myself working harder than I thought I should be for that stage of the race. Around 8 miles, my foot started to hurt again, the exact same place as last week and at exactly the same part of the race. All in the mind I kept telling myself. Around 10 miles, the gap between myself and my team mates was increasing, I was all ready to admit defeat and walk, just as Dem came back to check I was ok. I said I wanted to walk, but he told me NO way. He wanted me to work and catch them up, but I knew I didn’t have it in me, so told him to go ahead.

From then onwards, it was a constant battle with myself to not walk! I was sure it was my mind that was failing not my legs! I took on water just after 10 miles and walked whilst drinking, but that was it. I knew club supporters were somewhere up ahead, so that kept me running, as I didn’t want them to see me walking!! hehe

As the start and finish are at the same point, the gentle decline at the start, is not appreciated too much at the end, as it turns into a gentle incline. As I turned the last corner, I didn’t know if I had a faster finish in me or not, but when I looked at the clock, I thought is was going to be very close too a sub 2:10 and that’s exactly what I had hoped for, so I pushed as hard as I could.

I crossed the line and stopped my watch on 2:09:00, official time was clocked at 2:08:58, so my last half marathon of my 3 in 4 weeks was my fastest – can’t complain about that really. This is still a long way off my PB, but I knew I was nowhere near that shape! Maybe it is time to try to get back into that shape!

Lesson learned: Marathon training for Chicago is not too long away, and if I want to improve, I have some hard work ahead of me!

Pros:

  • The crowds and support around the course was amazing. There are section where there isn’t any supporters, but in the centre of town the crowd is deep and very noisy.
  • A weekend of running with my club mates. I had SO much fun, and giggled for most of the weekend.
  • Booking our hotel a long time in advanced meant that we got a really reasonable rate, we had a lovely view and it was a perfect location. 

Cons:

  • It is a very congested course, so if you are wanting a PB, you have to make sure you start in the correct position, so that you don’t get stuck behind people.
  • It was sold as a flat course, but this isn’t true. There aren’t any big hills, but there are a few undulating sections.
  • Personally, I think the medal was a little disappointing, but as they gave you a nice finishers t-shirt, I’ll let them off!
T-shirt and Medal.

If you want a little insight into the weekend, I have added a highlight of my instastories on my instagram page, click here

What is your favourite half marathon?

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The Vitality Big Half – Race recap

Let me start this recap with my comedy moments from the weekend! Firstly, when I got out of the tube station at Tower Bridge, the heavens opened. I put my hood up and was sending a video to my friends asking them why they didn’t want to come to London. You may have already guessed, but my head was down I wasn’t looking where I was going, and I walked into a lamppost!! There were so many people around and I felt so stupid!

So that started the day and this to finish! Last year, Jordan – Project Marathon Girl had a great finishing photo, and she had shared it on Saturday on Instagram.

I messaged her, saying it was a great photo and that I was going to try to recreate it when I finished. So, as I approach the finish line, I put my arms out wide, but forget to check if anyone is next to me, and hit the poor lady next to me! What an absolute tool! She was lovely about it, and we ended up hugging at the finish line, but I dreaded the finish line photos coming out. I also received a message via Facebook saying someone had just seen me cross the finish line on the TV. My heart sank, I could just see that moment on replay! Luckily it was just my head on the TV!

Date: Sunday 10th March 2019

Time: 9:00am

Weather: A bit of everything, sun, rain, hail stones, but mostly WIND!

Course: Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and The Cutty Sark are all the highlights, between those sections the course is not that spectacular.

My race: Last year I had a bit of a nightmare at this race, so much so that when I tried to look for my race recap, I didn’t even write one! I started too fast, and ended up run/walking from 5k! This year, I was determined to not repeat that.

I was SO cold at the start of the race, I could not stop myself shivering. I was relieved when we started as I just wanted to warm up. I tried to settle into my running, but was surprised at how many people seemed to be over taking me. When my watched buzzed the first mile, I decided not to look at the pace and put my sleeve over my watch. I decided to just run on feel.

The start feels like it is mainly down hill, and the tunnel goes on forever! Canary Wharf was busy with support and sections were really windy. We were mostly protected by the buildings, but at one section a gust of wind came from between the buildings and pushed me sideways!

Running across Tower Bridge is always special, but it was SO windy, so quite hard work. Shortly after this, I felt myself questioning why I was doing this. I was running on my own (even though there were so many people around me) and I just wanted it to be over. As silly as this sounds, I felt bored! I kept plodding on, but at the 10 mile marker, I stopped to walk and give myself a talking too. I carried on, but now my foot started hurting. I had a feeling as though the outside of my left foot was bruised. It was bearable, but I ended up run/walking for the last 3 miles. It also started to rain as I approached the end, and I remember just laughing to myself, I just wanted it to be over!

 

I was so relieved to see the finish line, and when I looked at my watch and it said 2:13, I was disappointed. This disappointment was doubled when I received my text telling me my official time, as it had last years time above, and I was slower this year! WTAF!

Brighton two weeks ago had given me confidence, and I thought I would be able to go a little faster this time, so I think that’s why I was a little disappointed. On reflection, I think I had talked myself out of this race before it even started. I have a lot going on outside of running at the moment, and may be that is taking more out of me than I realise. Also, when I did 3 half marathons in 4 weeks last year, that was off the back of a solid training block from New York. This year I have trained, but not as hard, so I may just have to cut myself some slack. I have Bath half this weekend with lots of my club mates, so hopefully I will get to run with someone and just enjoy the moment.

Lesson learned: Finish lines, not finish times!

Pros:

  • London Marathon Events are always very well organised.
  • The support around London is amazing.
  • Very nice finishers t-shirt.
  • The race photographs were by sportograf, and I have to give them a big shout out, as it cost £19.99 for all photos, which I think is very reasonable.

Cons:

  • I HATE running in the wind.
  • I wasn’t so keen on my 5am alarm!
  • I just don’t seem to be able to pace myself well at this race! Oh well, suppose that means i’ll be back again next year – 3rd time lucky!

What weather conditions do you hate running in the most?

Brighton Half Marathon 2018 – Race Recap

I have run the Brighton Half marathon three times before, and I pretty much signed up for this year’s race immediately that it opened. This year, I was a little bit more organised and booked accommodation early, as in the past I have paid a fortune for hotels last minute! The race had a little bit of a make over, with new sponsors and colours, but it was just as awesome as always!

 

Date: Sunday 25th February 2018

Time: 9am

Weather: It was SO cold, but the sun was shining and that made everything seem SO much better. Even though it was cold, and for the spectators it must have been awful, I learnt from last weekends half marathon, and didn’t layer up too much. I warmed up so much, that my gloves even came off and were stuff down my vest!

Course: The course was slightly different from previous years, the same route, but just in a different order. The course starts on Maderia Drive, next to the sea, and turns right and heads straight out towards the Marina. This does mean that the hill comes earlier in the race. It’s an out and back, and by the time you arrive back at the pier and head in to town, you are around the 5 mile mark. After the loop, you head right for another out and back. This time heading out towards Hove, you turn just after the Hove Lagoon, on to the sea front. At this point, you are 3 miles from the finish, so getting a little tired, and the cold wind blowing into your face was not welcomed! You run along the sea front until about 1.5 miles from the finish, when you head back up on to the road, run past the pier and to the finish line. The support on this course is always very good.

 

My race: When I originally entered the race, I was determined  to train for it and attempt to go sub 2. This didn’t quite happen, but my bib was for the sub 2 pen start. I had planned to move back a pen, but when we arrived it was so congested, myself and my cousin Katie decided to just get in to the Yellow pen, and go to the back. I was concerned about starting too fast, and the fact that last weekend had not been a great run.

We started, and I just ran with my cousin. I did look down at my watch and when the pace was reading 9:xx I was concerned. But I actually felt ok, so thought I’m going to just run on feel, and if it all goes wrong, I’ll deal with it. We ran along chatting, and I felt pretty comfortable, but I was constantly worried that I was going to struggle at the end. The 4 mile marker popped up, when I thought we were  only 3 miles in, and I was ready for water when I finally came across a water station just after mile 5.

I had brief patches between mile 5 and 10 when I thought I am going too fast, but I just kept tagging on to Katie. At mile 10, turning on to the sea front and the cold head wind blowing in my face, I was finding it tough. I just kept thinking, put one foot in front of the other, that is it, it’s easy! (It wasn’t)

I thought there was a chance of seeing my husband and daughter around mile 11.5/12, so I concentrated on looking for them. About half a miles from the finish Katie sped up, I thought about trying to stick with her, but it was already hurting, and I have another half marathon this weekend, so let her go. I’m not totally sure I would have been able to stick with her if I had tried, to be honest.

I finished it in 2:04:14. SIXTEEN minutes faster than last week! Happy with that!

 

Lesson learned: I WILL one day run a sub 2 hour half marathon.

Pros

  • I LOVE running by the sea
  • This is my 4th time running Brighton half and it never disappoints.
  • The organisation, support and volunteers were great.

Cons

  • They let all the spectators down to the start and it is so congested. The same happens at the end of the race – as runners are trying to get out, most of the supporters are walking against the runners and it can be hectic
  • The water stations seemed a little random – 2 miles, 5 miles and then 10 miles.

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#brightonhalfmarathon completed ✅ 16 minutes faster than last week, and felt SO much better than last week. . I was really unsure how this run would go, but @kteeea was making me work hard the whole way. This has given me the believe that I will be able to achieve a sub 2 hour half this year. Today was 2:04, and I may have been able to push on but I have @officialbighalf next weekend so I needed to be sensible. . This is my 4th year running #brightonhalf and I LOVE this race. I will definitely be back next year. . I have had some pretty shocking experiences with hotels, so I have to give a shout out to @holidayinn who were VERY good value and excellent hosts. . Hey his post also fits perfectly with my #photochallenge which is #medals today. This is my latest to add to the collection 😍 . . #rularunsphotochallenge #halfmarathon #instarunners #runnersofinstagram #runstagram #ukrunclub #runmummyrun #runner #running #worlderunners #race #runnershigh #thisgirlcan #thisgirlruns

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Next week, will be half marathon number three in as many weeks! I’m running The Big Half – anyone else running The Big Half?

 

MK Winter Half Marathon – Race Recap

So, this is the race that was supposed to happen back in December 2017, but the weather decided it had other ideas. Back in December, I wasn’t entered for this race! Well, actually I wasn’t planning to run this race until about Thursday last week!

Last weekend, we had the really sad, devastating news that a member of our RunMND family Dave Solomon had lost his battle with MND. He was one of the nicest men you could ever meet, and his love of life was evident for all to see! Dave’s wife had planned to run this race, and when she said that she still would, I knew then that I wanted to run it too; To support Paula and run it for Dave.

Date: Sunday 18th February 2018

Time: 10am

Weather: It was cold, frosty and misty early on in the day, and a few of us running, had decided to keep our jackets on. By mile three, we knew that had been a bad idea, as Dave had sent us the sun, and had I not been layered up and hot, it would have been perfect weather for running.

Course: The course is one loop, which on the odd occasion that I wasn’t struggling and managed to look up, did look lovely. Along the canal’s and through very pretty villages. It is quite undulating, but I think my lack of fitness made this feel harder than it actually was. There is limited supporters on the course, so sections are quiet.

 

 

My race: Even though I have Brighton Half and the Big Half in the next two weeks, AND they have been in the diary for a while, I am still not fit, so always knew this was going to hurt! I also did not run AT ALL this week, as family commitments got in the way little, but I also used this as an excuse, as my mojo seems to be MIA!

We started right at the back, and the first mile was congested and fairly slow. I wasn’t too bothered about this as I thought it would probably help me towards the end. My legs felt heavy, my calves were stiff and I knew early on it was going to be a LONG race.

 

It wasn’t until mile 5 that my legs decided they did know how to run, and I ran a relaxed, fairly pleasant, 5 miles. By the time we got to mile 10, I was ready for the race to be over. There were times that I wanted to stop, but then Dave would pop into my mind, and I knew he would love the be running this race, so I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The little inclines and bridges hurt a lot towards the end, and my right hamstring was sore, which wasn’t helping, but the sun shinning did make it more bearable! There is a nice downhill section just before mile 13 marker, which really helps you wind up for the finish.

It may not have been my best run; actually it was a PW, but I loved running with my RunMND family, and we made sure we had some fun.

 

 

Lesson learned: If it was easy, everyone would do it!

Pros

  • #DoingItForDave
  • Running in my MND kit and raising more awareness
  • Nice organisation for the race, easy parking, baggage and the start was seamless, and drink stations were every 3 miles I think.
  • The running community – I just love the supportive nature of everyone.
  • They gave you a link to some free race photos, which is awesome as they can cost a fortune.

Cons

  • Little inclines that appear lots throughout the course.
  • I am NOT fit – this is maybe the kick up the backside that I needed.
  • The reason that I chose to run – MND sucks!

RIP DAVE

 

 

 

Race Recap-Silverstone Half 2017; The agony of my very first DNF!

After running Brighton Half two weeks ago (Read about it here) I picked up a niggle, so knew that this race was always going to be touch-and-go. In between Brighton and Silverstone, I got the news about the New York Marathon, so that got me super motivated, hence not really wanting to DNS this race.

Date: Sunday 12th March 2017

Time: Noon

Weather: Heavy rain had been predicted all week, but we were actually very lucky, as it drizzled at most and when the sun came out it was actually quite warm.

Course: I had remember from last year, that this is not a course that I liked! The weaving  around the track was quite disorientating and with no spectators for most of the course, it is eerily quiet!

My race: So, as you have probably gathered from the title of this post, this race wasn’t one of my finest! I have been struggling with a pulling on the outside of my left knee. I knew this was due to my tight hamstrings, and went to have a sports massage last Wednesday. Oh my, the pain was indescribable! I had to bite my jumper to stop myself screaming! I had hoped that the pain was going to be worth it, as it would let me run on Sunday. I ran Thursday night at club, and although not totally comfortable, I did feel I was on the mend!

I was still unsure as to whether to run or not, even up to an hour before the start. But so many of my RunMND group were running it, and I didn’t want to miss out! I hadn’t had any discomfort for a day or two, so thought I was possibly fixed!

When we started, I wasn’t totally comfortable, but was unsure if it was going to be something that as I warmed up more, would just ease. There were a large group of us running together, and we were carrying a huge banner, so I knew the pace was going to remain reasonable, so I just carried on. I ran along, chatting and really enjoying myself. Around 4 miles I felt so comfortable and remember thinking how much I was enjoying running with my friends! The course is weird and so quiet, I remember hating it last year, but running with people made it so much more fun.

I really must stop the funny crazy faces during a race hehe

As we approached 5 miles, I started to get twinges in the back of my knee/top of calf. I carried on for another 100 metres, but I just remembered so many people telling me not to injure myself more, so quickly made the decision to stop. I tried to stretch , but the pain now was so much worse, putting weight on my left leg was not comfortable. I asked a marshal how to get back to the start, and was told I would just have to walk the next eight miles, or wait until the race was over and someone would come and collect me! As you can imagine, I chose the walking option. My knee is weird as one step will be VERY painful, and then the next nothing! I found walking eased it a bit, and I saw another group of RunMND runners just behind so waited for them. If I was going to be run/walking, I wanted to do it with more friends. I managed another 2 miles, but quickly spotted a short cut back to the start/finish area. Although, I desperately wanted to finish the race, my sensible head took over and I quit the race. I limped back to the finish area, and that was that! No medal for me!

Lesson learned: I desperately need to do strength work to complement my running. The imbalances I have, are only going to get worse as I start to up the mileage!

Pros

  • Running with such a big team is amazing. There were so many MNDA runners on the course, it was fun.
  • Running with a HUGE banners gets lots of attention, which equals greater awareness for MNDA
  • The organisation for the race was awesome. The baggage area in particular were SO efficient and helpful.

Cons

  • I really need to look at race maps. When I stopped at mile 5, and asked the direction back to the start/finish area, no one seemed to know!
  • Not finishing = no medal! Although I had to go through to the finishers area, to take back my timing chip, I could have easily picked up a race bag, but I didn’t!
  • I’m not a fan of a midday start. I had a huge breakfast, but just as the race was starting, I was so hungry!
  • BEING INJURED!

The group of runners that are part of RunMND are just amazing. Everyone stayed and cheered all the runners over the finish line. Loosing my dad to MND was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced, but through this experience I have met the most amazing bunch of people.

“There is no finish line, until there is a cure”

Race Recap – Brighton Half Marathon 2017

It’s been a long time since I have toed the start line of a race. I have had so many DNS of late, and again I can’t say that I had fully trained for this race (stupid work gets in the way of training FAR too much)! But I LOVE the Brighton Half Marathon, and having run it for the last three years, so there was no chance of a DNS for this race!

Date: Sunday 26th February 2017

Time: 9am

Weather: Storm Doris had been calling the shots all across England in the week prior to the race, and when I woke on Sunday morning, the wind was still strong! Luckily, as the morning progressed it did calm down a little, but gust were strong, there was fine rain and it was cold! The silver lining was that the sun poked through the clouds just as I was approaching the finish line 🙂

Course: The course runs along the sea front, and is out and back in one direction, and then the same again towards Hove. As I’ve said MANY times before, I love this type of race, as I spend most of my time watching the speedies on the other side of the road. In previous years, I found the hills between miles 2 to 4 tough, but I must be getting stronger now (or paced better) as I didn’t find them too taxing this year.

My race: I had originally targeted this race, as my race to finally train and attempt to gain a sub 2 hour half marathon PB. I was given a great training plan from one of the coaches at my run club, and I knew that if I worked hard and followed the plan it was doable. Due to changing jobs at Christmas, I soon realised that following the plan was going to be too difficult, so I had to be realistic and train when I could, respect the distance, but also not beat myself up when I couldn’t follow the plan completely.

I had been saying to everyone, that I had to go and just enjoy the race, as if I pushed mile 13 was going to hurt ALOT! I moved myself back a pen, so that I started with the 2-2:15 runners and started the race very aware that in previous races, I have always started too fast.

It was very congested at the start, and very hard to get in any kind of rhythm. I was very happy when I clocked the first mile in 9:54. Just after mile 1, I started chatting to a lady for the Run Mummy Run community and we ran along chatting, and it felt very comfortable. The miles ticked by at 9:26, 9:23 and 9:15 – I think this one increased slightly as you can see the turn around point that naturally makes you want to speed up, as when you have turned you know that you are heading down hill!

The downhill wasn’t as pleasant as I had anticipated, as the strong side wind really kicked in at this point. Around mile 6, I was feeling comfortable and my competitiveness was eating away at me. I could keep running comfortably, and finish around 2:10 or I could work hard now, and see how close I would get to the 2 hour mark. I knew that if I took the second option, mile 13 was going to hurt, but I went anyway. For mile 7 I clocked a 9:08 mile, which was probably a little too fast, but I still felt ok. The course was quite congested in parts, but I kept telling myself that was good as it was keeping me from pushing too hard too soon.

Mile 10 is the turning point and you are heading along the sea front back to the finish. I repeated continually that it was only a park run, and had hoped to be pushing a little harder. I was starting feel it around mile 12, and I definitely slowed for this mile, but I justified this, by setting myself a target that my last mile had to be my fastest. I had hoped that it would start 8:xx for mile 13. This made me dig deep! It hurt and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but I was so glad I had pushed on. I crossed the line in 2:02:42, which is only 30 seconds slower than last year! It was much better than I had expected and I was very happy with that. (My last mile was my fastest, but frustratingly, it was a 9:00 minute mile!)

Lesson learned: I still love the big races, and I definitely want to be on the start line of Brighton Half in 2018!

Pros

  • High profile race with great organisation.
  • Crowd support is always amazing.
  • My finish time gives me the confidence that if I put in the training and hard work, I can PB at this distance soon!

Cons

  • The accommodation can be expensive in Brighton, especially if you are a muppet like me and leave it to the last minute (again)! Although, I must add here, that I stayed at the Jury’s Inn, Waterfront hotel, and they were amazing. They put on an early breakfast for the runners, and even gave me a bin bag to use for the start of the race.
  • The course was quite narrow in parts (I think it may have been due to road works)
  • There was no race T-Shirt! I’m sure last year we were given a Brooks finishers technical t-shirt!?
  • According to my Garmin, the course came up short! I only clocked 13.06 miles!!!

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#medalmonday 😍

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Anyone else run Brighton Half? Add your race report links below, I would love to read them.