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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?

Cardiff Half Marathon Race T-Shirt & Medal

IAAF Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships.

When it was announced that there was a masses race on as part of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, I signed up quickly. Who doesn’t want to run in the World Championships!!?? So, here’s what I thought about them:

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Date: Saturday 26th March 2016. When I originally booked this race, I didn’t actually realise it was Easter weekend, and I know I wasn’t the only one that kept thinking it was on the Sunday! It’s seems weird running on a Saturday!

Time: 2:10pm. Most races take place in the morning, so I felt a little bit lost all morning. I kept worrying I had got the time wrong and was missing it all. I always find it difficult to know what to eat when it is a later start too. I had breakfast, but then only managed to have a banana an hour before we started, which was not ideal.

Weather: Hideous! The day before had been gorgeous, but #StormKatie decided that she wanted in on the World Championships too. The rain started at the same time as the women’s race! The sideways rain, hail and gale force winds really kicked in just after mile 4 for me, which was just as I was going across the Cardiff Bay barrage, so we were totally exposed and it hurt when it hit my face. The wind was pushing me sideways and it was hard work!

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Course: The course was fairly flat, and mostly on tarmac. The short sharp hill just after mile 12 was a bit of a shock, but the downhill stretch between mile 11 and 12 was a welcome break. I think the course would have been really pretty had the weather been better. The start had the Cardiff castle as a back drop, the lovely Cardiff Bay area, running past the Millennium Centre and finishing around lakeside would have been lovely on a sunny day! There were water stations every 3 miles, they did get crowded, and I’m sure that I saw some stations were handing out High 5 gels, but I didn’t use any of these as I had my torq gels.

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My race: I felt quite nervous about this race, as Silverstone had felt so hard and I hadn’t really enjoyed it. I had enjoyed my 20 mile run the following week though, so really didn’t know what to expect from this one. It is becoming tradition to not sleep well the night before and this was no exception. I had thought with the late start, I could have enjoyed a lay in too – no such luck. Before the race, my race plan was to run a lot of the race at marathon pace, so I was thinking around 10:20 – 10:30 pace. When I clocked the first mile at 9:42, I could feel myself getting annoyed and I tried to slow down, yet still clocked a 9:42 for the 2nd mile too! My lack of pacing was stressing me, so I decided to stop looking at my watch, and then when the horrendous weather started at mile 4, I just wanted to get the race over and done with, so all pacing went out the window. Every inch of me was soaked through, and my wet trainers did make me feel as though I lifting weights with every step. Around mile 9, I had a little dark patch, where I just wanted it to be over, but the support around Lakeside was amazing and really kept me going. Considering the weather, the volunteers and roadside support was amazing. My name was shouted so many times, and there was music being played, people offering jelly babies etc. The final stretch was quite crowded, but I still managed to up my speed to cross the line. After finishing we were given our medal, t-shirt, water, High 5 Gel and a banana.  I finished in 2:08: 32, which is what it is. I’m not really happy or disappointed with it.

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Lesson learned: I really need to learn my marathon pace. Starting too quickly at London will be a disaster. Also, I think I need to take a packed lunch with me, as I am sure I would have performed better had I got my nutrition better pre race.

Pros

  • I took part in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
  • Flat course.
  • Amazing support and event organisation.
  • Lovely medal and T-shirt.

Cons

  • Weather – I know the event organisers can’t do anything about this, but …
  • Start time – I know this was probably because of tv broadcasting across the globe, but I personally find an afternoon start difficult.
  • Expensive race photos.

As always I ran in my MNDA vest, raising awareness and running for my dad.

If you would like to donate funds to support MNDA you can do here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Anyone else run in Cardiff? Also, what do you think of my new race recap layout? Have a missed any information that you would like adding? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Silverstone half marathon – Race Review 2016

Lots of my RunMND group was signing up for Silverstone half marathon, but for some reason, I didn’t. I think I had entered lots of races in a short space of time, and my bank balance was telling me no! Then I got an email from the MNDA that said that I could have one of their places for a drastically reduced price. At the same time, I saw how many MND runners were going, so I signed up. It’s always so much nicer to run events with friends!

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Silverstone was turned blue and orange!

My training plan said that I needed to run 18 miles the same day as Silverstone, so I planned to get there early to run 5 miles. I thought this meant a very early start, so was shocked when I read on twitter that the race didn’t start until noon!

My preparation for the race was not ideal, as my husband and I had tickets to a theatre show in London on the Saturday night. So my fuelling and nutrition was not brilliant the day before, and then our train was cancelled on the way home, so I didn’t end up getting to bed until 1:15am! I was relieved for the noon start now.

I left early as planned and parked up at 9:30am. I was surprised how many people were there that early. I wasn’t sure where to run, and when greeted by dense fog, I decided to walk to the start to try to get my bearings.

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I couldn’t even see the road in front of me!

Suffice to say, when I got to the MNDA charity tent, and met up with friends the 5 miles did not happen! I used the main toilets, and there was no queue. I wasn’t sure if this was because I was so early or there were lots. There were vans where you could get hot drinks, and food if you wanted. It was cold, but we were lucky the charity stand was inside and had a single toilet next to them, which we could all use! We also didn’t need to use the baggage drop, as MNDA let us leave our bags with them.

By the time we had to make our way to the start, the fog had lifted and the sun was shining. Lots of people were stripping off, but I still found the wind very cold! Even though, there were lots of people taking part, it didn’t feel crowded at the start.

IMG_8890I started towards the back with other RunMND runners, and it took us about 8 minutes to cross the start line. I really wanted to run a slow/steady pace and then put in some marathon pace miles, but at present my pace seems to be out the window. I am really struggling to run the pace I want too. My first mile started with a 9:xx, which was what I didn’t want to do! I was consciously trying to slow myself down, but it felt hard. Considering how many other people I knew there, I ended up running from mile 3 on my own! I found the course bizarre, as I really didn’t know where I was. At times there were people running on both sides of me, yet I didn’t have a clue if they were ahead or behind me! I had been told it was much more hilly than most people realise, and there were some bridges to go over, but I didn’t mind that too much. It was a very quiet half marathon, not only are there not supporters all round the course, the runners were actually quite quiet too. I am used to chatting away to people in the first few miles, but this just didn’t happen. I finished in 2:12, but felt disappointed, as the race felt much harder than I wanted it too. I wasn’t running too fast, it wasn’t hilly, but I think my poor nutrition, hydration, lack of sleep and the heat, was making me pay.

I thought about doing the extra 5 at the end, by I was shattered and again didn’t!

Pros

  • Huge amount of parking.
  • Noon start.
  • Easy access to toilets. For anyone that worries about toilets on the course, there were lots!
  • Being part of a huge team.
  • Meeting up with my friends I have made through RunMND, and meeting new people who have joined the group.
  • Raising awareness for MNDA
  • The support and encouragement from MNDA
  • Amazing marshalls.
  • Runners world paces were available if you were going for a time. I think the 2:29 pacer was quite pleasing on the eye too, according to some of the other runners!!
  • The start was totally stress free.
  • My favourite Protein nuts from Graze in my goody bag.
  • Medal
  • I have to put this in here, as she would be very upset if I didn’t – JOSIE!

Cons

  • Noon start – I know I have put it in both as I like the lie in, but I was very hungry by mile 10!
  • Long stretches without any support.
  • Quiet race, almost eery at times.
  • Not completing my 18 miles, as the plan said.
  • I know that you should expect this when running on a F1 racecourse, but you did feel like you were going around in circles. I was totally disoriented for most of the race.
  • Queues to get out of the car park at the end of the race. (I know this can’t be helped when so many people take part, but I think it took me 45 minutes to get out of the car park!)
  • A cotton T-shirt given at the finish. When a race is sponsored by Adidas, I at least expected a technical t-shirt.
  • Race photographs are so expensive. £19.95 for a single download seems ALOT!
  • The goody bag at the end of the race contained nuts – for me I like this, as they were my favourite, but another runner raised the point that for others who have a nut allergy that could have been dangerous.

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So, would I do it again? The course did not inspire me, but the amazing feeling you get from being part of such an amazing team might just persuade me again.

Please donate www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Anyone else race at the weekend? How did you get on?

Brighton Half Marathon 2016

For the third year in a row, I lined up on Sunday to run the Brighton Half Marathon. This has become a favourite of mine, and Sunday did not disappoint. I arrived in Brighton on the Saturday and it was FREEZING. It was the kind of cold, that makes you want to get in bed to warm up and not move!

I stayed in a hotel 5 minutes from the start, so Sunday morning should have been a breeze. I say should, as 3 hours sleep due to being in a room located above a nightclub, meant that I was just a little tired on race morning. I layered up, gloved up, jacket on too, left the hotel and was pleasantly surprised at the temperature. It was perfect for run. Bright, little wind and only a nip in the air, rather than freezing.

I was so lucky as my mum came with me, so I removed some layers and gave them to her. We didn’t need to worry about baggage, so I managed to have a nice cup of tea prior to the start! I left my mum 15 minutes before the start of the race, and made my way to my pen. It was obviously busy, but pretty much hassle free. I had only been in the pen 10 minutes before we were off.

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So very British!!

I knew exactly where my mum would be, so kept to the right side of the course looking for her. As I went over the start line, I spotted that Sally Gunnell had been the starter. She was cheering, waving and wishing everyone good luck. As I approached my mum, I felt myself get emotional. Not sure why, but I just felt very lucky to be running this race, and even though I feel my dad is with me on every run, having my mum there made it just that little bit more special.

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In action #brightonhalf

A post shared by 🧡Ruth | R.U.N.N.E.R.💙 (@rularuns) on

I wasn’t too sure how to approach this race. I didn’t think I was fast enough to PB, but wasn’t sure I would be happy plodding round. I decided to just go with it and see what happened. When mile 1 clocked up as 9:41 I thought it felt pretty comfortable, so I’d just stick at that pace. Mile 2 passed and I knew that mile 3 and 4 was going up hill, so just got my head down and worked hard. When I saw that these miles were 9:06 and 9:05 I started to think about a sub 2. I was convinced I could pick up time on the down hill and I will still feeling comfortable. All was good, until mile 8 became quite congested. There were road works going on in Brighton, and the course had been moved over slightly from previous years, and one traffic lane just wasn’t enough room. I was constantly checking my step and weaving to get by people. My pace dropped, but I just thought keep pushing and then it will open up again around mile 10. I thought that I could push on from there. When I reached the turn around and knew I was on the homeward stretch, I tried to pick up the pace, but it just didn’t happen. I knew it was slipping, but I kept thinking, if I can clock 12 miles by 1 hour 50 I can do this. When my watch read 1:52 at 12 miles, my chance had gone, but it still didn’t stop me gritting my teeth and giving it everything. The last mile ended up being my fastest of the entire run, which I was happy with. I finished in a time of 2:02:11. One minute, 39 seconds off my PB, but it was the fastest half I have run in the last 5 years, so I was thrilled.

I love running by the sea, I love running an out and back (watching the front-runners takes my mind off the fact I’m running!) and I really love the Brighton Half Marathon. The organisation is spot on, the volunteers are great and to top it off this year, we got a great Brooks finishers T-shirt too! It’s not 3 in a row, and I really hope I can make it 4.

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A good quality Brooks race T-shirt

When I was in Scotland, I picked up a new gel. I had seen people mention Torq on the Run Mummy Run page, so when I tried the raspberry ripple flavour it was lovely. I had one at 6 miles and one a 10 miles and they were nice. I am going to trial them again on this weeks long run and then I’ll give you my full review. But so far, so good.

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Yummy raspberry ripple flavour

Sunday saw me also share my fundraising page, so just incase you are interested www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Which is your favourite half marathon? 

Perkins Great Eastern Half

So, I finally ran another race. In short, I have been loving my runs with my club (If anyone is thinking of joining a club DO IT – best thing I’ve done!) and lots of people from the club were taking part in the Great Eastern Run, so I signed up too. 

With limited long run training, I knew I had to pace it sensibly. So here are the highs and lows;

Highs

  • Ran with my cousin Katie and one of my friends Vicki from Run Club

  

  • First outting in my club vest #TeamBalancise
  • Loved the FLAT course.
  • Paced it well, felt strong all the way round.

  

  • Got to meet up with some of Team RUN MND. 
  • Nice bling to add to the collection.  

Lows

  • Lack of toilets meant I was VERY close to going in a bush – instead started the race with full bladder.

That’s about it with lows, I really did enjoy the race. I wasn’t worried about time, I just wanted to get round and finish strong! I think my time was about 2.15, nowhere near a PB, but sometimes runs are not just about targeting PBs.

How’s everyone’s running going?