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
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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!
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?