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Brighton Half Marathon 2019 – Race Recap

I LOVE Brighton! AND I love the Brighton Half Marathon

Date: Sunday 24th February 2019

Time: 9:30am

Weather: Bright sunshine and warm.

Course: The course is the exact same as last year, so rather than rewriting it, check out last year’s post here.

Website: Brighton Half Marathon

My race:  I was so nervous about this race! I would even say that I wasn’t really looking forward to it – dreading it! After last week’s race, read here, I just didn’t want to hate it. I didn’t want to ruin my love for this race.

It was a slightly later start than normal, so I didn’t have to get up ridiculously early, so a 7 am breakfast was very pleasant. I got to the race at about 8:45, went for my traditional cup of tea from the place on Madeira Drive. The queue there was quite long and I did worry about being delayed getting to my pen, as its usually VERY busy, but once I had my tea, it was surprisingly quiet and calm getting to the pen. I must say that I was glad to be staying close to the start, as the toilet queues did seem horrendous.

I took the sensible option to move back a pen, as I originally should have been in the sub 2-hour start. Whilst waiting in the pen, one of the volunteers asked me about my connection to MND, and without warning, I started to well up! I told him about my dad, and we discussed the disease, he had run London many years ago for the MNDA. He wished me well, and I stood waiting for the start gun. I felt so emotional, I had to hold back the tears many times prior to starting the race!

The excitement nerves kicked in when Fatboy Slim was played over the speakers, and then we were moving forward. I was excited as I knew The Welsh Runner AKA Matt Rees was starting the race, so I stayed on the left, so I could high-five him!! Proper fan girl moment! hehe

The start felt very crowded, and I was unsure if this was because I started further back, or I just that I  hadn’t taken part in a big event for a while. The start to mile three was spent trying not to run into the back of people. This was good as it kept my pace sensible. I then spent a lot of time trying to spot people who I knew were running it. To my surprise, I managed to see all of them. I love spotting people and giving them a shout, it motivates me too.

All was feeling good as we finished the first out and back and headed into town. The roads were wider and there was more room, so my concentration was really on not running too fast at this point. As we headed back on to the seafront, I knew my husband was around mile 7, so I just kept pushing, making sure I was looking like a runner, as I had told him to take some photos! I had set that as my targets earlier that morning – I wanted to finish the race and get a race photo in which I looked like a runner haha. I think I was pretty successful!

I think I smiled all the way down the King’s Road. The support was amazing, the sun was shining, and so far all my miles, bar the first were sub 10 minutes. Life was good!

You turn to head back after the Hove Lagoon, around 10 miles. I had to walk the water stations as the water was in paper cups. It was warmer than it had been in a while, so I was making sure that I took on water.

Walking this water station meant that mile 10 was a 10:04 minute mile, I was NOT happy. Running along the seafront, you can’t help but think only a Parkrun, but I was worried that I would push too early. I tried to relax, and take in the surroundings. The sea looked amazing, the support was loud and motivating, shouting everyone’s names. With a mile and a half to go, you join the King’s Road again, and it was now head down and work. I felt like I wanted to run faster, but my legs were having none of it. Luckily having run this race many times before, I know that when you turn into Madeira Drive, there is still a bit to go, so I didn’t push too soon. My finish line was made even more exciting by finally getting to meet Kelly from Kellogs on the Run, and I had another fan girl moment!

Lesson learned: I still love this race. I think this run, made me love it and the running community just that little bit more!

Pros:

  • I still love out and backs! I love watching the speedy runners, and dreaming that one day I might be a little faster!
  • The weather was AMAZING!
  • The support in Brighton is AWESOME.
  • I loved my pacing and sensible approach.

Cons:

  • TRAINS!!! We had to drive, as yet again replacement buses were in place from Three Bridges to Brighton. They seem to do work on the same weekend every year!
  • Hotels are expensive in Brighton
  • Water in cups are so hard to drink from when running.

So, my fifth Brighton Half means, there is very likely to be a sixth. I just seem to really enjoy this race. If you want to read my previous experiences, they are here, here, here and here (for some reason I don’t seem to have 2015!)

Has anyone else run Brighton? Do you love it as much as me?

What can possibly go wrong??? Race Day Disasters

Most people plan ‘Race Day’ with military precision. It’s vital that everything runs smoothly. We follow training plans to ensure that we peak at the right moment, we practice our routines; pre-race food, nutrition during the race, the pace at which we are going to run. We know our travel arrangements, the same way an expectant fathers knows the route to the local hospital. With all the planning, things still go wrong! So let me share one of my race day disasters

So, firstly let me set the scene. This was my first EVER race, and let’s just say that the above didn’t apply to me, so much of what I am going to recall is totally my own doing!

I was still playing basketball, so any running that I did, was purely to get fit for my sport. A teammate asked our whole team if we would like to get involved in a ‘Fun Run’ as she was raising money for a charity. “It’s only 5k”, she said. “We won’t have to train for it, we’ll all be ok with that!”

So my friend Stacey and I agreed to do it. On the day of the run, we made our way up to London, as the run was taking place in Victoria Park. We had left nice and early, just in case we got lost, but our navigation skills were good, and we got to the edge of the park early.

So, what do you do when you are early? Well, we thought it was a good idea to sit in the pub opposite the park. Not a bad idea, but the 2 pints of lager I consumed, was probably not my best idea.

Photo Credit: www.unsplash.com Paloma A @speakandfun

Time passed quickly as we chatted away, and before we knew it, there were only 15 minutes until the run started. That’s fine we thought, it’s just across the road. We could see the park entrance from where we were sitting! So, off we trundle to the entrance, through the gate, and…

Where was the start? The park was huge, I’d never been to Victoria Park before, and for some reason thought it was a going to be a small park. We started walking, then a little faster, then a jog, we could see everyone lined up ready to start in the distance, but they were all facing us; cue sprint! We ran into the hall chucked our bags down, picked up the race bib. Why does it say 5-mile race? Yep, that’s right, it’s a 5-mile race, not 5K!

We frantically tried to attach our bib numbers to our tops, as we ran out to the start. I was puffing and panting as we stopped at the back, seconds later the gun went and we were off! I was shattered before we had even started the race!

We completed the run, and I can still remember the runners high I got after the race, and even though I was shattered, I can recall telling Stacey, I want to do more races, I want to do a half marathon, one day I want to run the London Marathon! Little did I know then, I would and I would be part of a running club too.

So, what are your race days disasters? Comment below and let me know. 

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What would be your ideal event?

I was recently introduced to www.eventbrite.co.uk, a website for finding and planning events. It was then suggested, I could write a blog post on my favourite moments from races and what my ideal race would be. So, if you could run your perfect race, what would it be? It doesn’t have to already be established, we are talking hypothetical here. Some people would love hills, others the mud, and obstacle races; being covered in paint or a night. What distance would it be? I really have no idea.

If I pick out some of my favourite race moments, this may help me design a perfect race for me. My first ever half marathon, was the Royal Park Half Marathon, and I LOVED it. There is something special to me about running in London. Running along the Embankment, looking at the River Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben and all the amazing architecture and history in the buildings, is something quite special. I don’t think you could ever beat running in front of Buckingham Palace too.

But the other great thing about RPH, is that after running through the hassle and bustle of a big City, you turn into the tranquil Hyde Park and run in the beautiful park.

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will already know about my love of running in London from my participation in three London Marathons! You could think that by the 3rd time, the excitement of seeing all the famous landmarks might have diminished, but this just isn’t the case. I never tire of the noise and excitement around Cutty Sark, and the butterflies you get as you run across Tower Bridge.

During my first marathon, Tower Bridge seemed to appear out of nowhere and I don’t think it really sunk in  until after I had crossed it. I think I probably crossed it with the largest grin on my face and was slightly dazed too. The second year, I was struggling with injury and didn’t really soak up the atmosphere as I was concentrating too hard on my injury! This year, I knew it was coming, I was running strongly and I tried to inhale the atmosphere. I looked around at the cheering crowds, I listened to their shouts, tried to read some banners, it was amazing. I still think I ran across it with the hugest of grins.

I have also been lucky enough to cycle across Tower Bridge, when I took part in the Nightrider Event and it really is just so special.

Nightrider 2013

Nightrider 2013

So back to my ideal race, looking at the above I think it would have to include some famous landmarks. Not necessarily in London, but who wouldn’t want to run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Eiffel Tower, through Times Square, past the Disney Castle in Disneyland. It would have to be flat too, a chance of getting a PB always helps. It would also have to be well supported, as the crowds really help make an event. The calling of your name, the signs they post that put a smile on your face.

It looks as though my dream races have already been established, but if you had a blank canvas, what would yours be? Comment below and let me know.

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Now London is over for this year, What’s next?

I have spent so long training and thinking about the London Marathon 2016, what now?? Well, if you had asked me this question during my training for London, I would have immediately said, I want to train for a sub 2 hour half marathon in the Autumn. A half marathon training programme seemed much less time-consuming and I was kind of craving that around week 13 of 16.

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So back to today. I still really want to get a sub 2 hour half marathon, but something keeps making me look at Autumn marathons too! Some of my club mates are running Bournemouth Marathon, my cousin is running Abingdon Marathon, and I know come the Autumn I’ll be jealous of everyone running marathons!

I signed up for Bournemouth immediately after completing London back in 2014, but didn’t end up running it. I just didn’t training for it. So would this happen again?

I find summer training really difficult, don’t get me wrong, I love running in the sun, but I just struggle to stick to a plan. Being a teacher means my routines go out the window for at least six weeks of the summer, and common sense would say this is an ideal time to train, as I have more time. But being away and in unfamiliar locations means I struggle to run long distances, being away from home and not having my running buddies, mean I end up skipping runs.

On the plus side, I am now part of a run club, so I know I would be running at least twice a week, and then I’m sure I’ll be enjoying some sunny long runs at the weekend. Decision, decision!!!

I sat down recently and wrote all the races that I have booked or was thinking of booking on a calendar. It worked out that I had a half marathon almost every weekend during October and the first half of November. Whoops! Luckily I hadn’t booked them all!

So what is next? In all honesty I’m still not too sure, I think I need to give it some more thought. Generally I want to get faster, and a better runner.

Hilariously, after writing this blog post, this arrived

So it looks like a 10K might be next! hehehe

What are your running plans? Next race?

Do you have to race? – Part 2

So last week I wrote a post about enjoying running and not needing to actually train for a race, read it here. I received this comment on the post from MrsB over at Mind over Matter.

I thought about this and it hit home a bit. I keep thinking how I would love to gain a place in the Berlin Marathon, but realistically, if I did get one, I’m not marathon fit now, and I’m not sure I’d have enough training time to do it justice.

I have been training pretty consistently, 3 or 4 times a week, and I have taken part in some intense sessions, but I realised I have lacked any kind of long run since the London Marathon. I haven’t run a continuous run of over 3 miles since March. If you read any training plan, they always say the long runs are the important ones, and the session not to miss, yet I have over looked it now for months!

So, on Sunday, after I had completed the C25K with my sister, I attempted to complete a long run. I wasn’t sure what kind of pace I would run or how far I could go, so I just set off. The route that I took starts with a steady hill, so when the first mile clicked up as 10:45 mm, I wasn’t too concerned. During the 2nd mile, my legs felt heavy and I didn’t feel like I was enjoying the run too much. The 2nd mile clocked in at 9.49mm. By the 3rd mile, I felt like the run was tougher than I thought it would be. I felt I should be running more relaxed, but I didn’t really want to slow down as I wanted the run to be over and done with. The 3rd mile was at 9:58 pace.

I had an option where I could have extended the run at around 3.5 miles, but I opted to head straight home. Not running long for a while was showing. I completed mile 4 in 9:49mm, and in total covered 4.33miles. Not exactly long, but when you haven’t completed a long run for a while, this was long enough.


Although I still haven’t technically booked any races for the remainder of this year (although I am close!) I still need to train like I am running an event. I think I have the easy runs covered in the C25K, and the intense sessions with my club, so now I need to start building up my long runs again.

So, long runs here I come and I’m now off to look at races again.