Monday, 15 March 2010

Silverstone half marathon 2010

This is me stretching after the race
This is me just before the ten mile marker (the one in the pink hat)

Today I ache and I mean ACHE! ouch. My hips are especially sore. That half marathon was hard. It has confirmed to me that it is sensible for me to defer my full marathon place to next year.

A summary of the day yesterday:

I got up and showered, dried my hair, dressed. Had a small bowl of porridge for breakfast as I wasn't that hungry. Went to get my socks and could only find one running sock, realise I should have been more organised but also thought they were both together. Find running sock. Finish getting ready. Leave house at 9.05am.

Arrive at Silverstone at 10am, get out of car, realise there is a really strong and bitterly cold wind.

Walk the half mile to the start area, grab some free lucozade and a pace band. Sit sipping lucozade and waiting to meet my friend. Friend arrives, we eat some jaffa cakes and a mars bar, go to the loo, drop bags off and then go to the start line.

And then we were off, it took us 5 minutes to get over the start line.

The first 2 miles seemed easier than last year. I did then stop to walk for a bit and found it a struggle to even walk at a normal pace. I got an agonising pain in my right shoulder and just below which left me unable to run for a bit. Eventually I ran a bit more. Soon I saw the first water station which I was so pleased to see. The first few miles I was on target if not a bit ahead for a finish time of 2 hours 30.

However I became very tired, usually when I run I struggle with my breathing but this time it was my legs aching a lot that set me back. I used the tactic of counting my steps to make myself run. e.g run 100 then walk a bit. Between miles 5 and 6 the wind was at it's worse, it was blowing directly towards me and at one point I was going barely faster than walking as it was so strong. It was the sort of wind that makes you feel as if you are going to get blown away.

I carried on with my walk/running and came to the only hilly part of the course, 2 very steep bridges. I jogged (yes jogged) up the slope and powered it down the downhill bit (that bit was fun) then I found the toilets and I have to say I really needed to use them, I had been needing to go since mile 4!!

I kept telling myself to dig deep and push myself but I have to say I had nothing left in there to dig deep for. I was exhausted. Just after my toilet stop I began to limp. I had a sore foot that had begun to niggle on Friday evening but I thought nothing of it and assumed it would be fine.

It only seemed to bother me for a mile or 2 and then I forgot about it. There was a lucozade station just before mile 10 which I was so grateful for (there was also an earlier one and 3 water stations). Then I began running again when I looked and saw my mum and dad up ahead so despite getting really out of breath I carried on running and they took a couple of photos.

The next mile or 2 are a blur, I remember wondering where on earth the 12 mile marker had got to I swear I had been running forever before I got there. Then it was there, 1.1miles to go. I don't remember much of mile 12 other than a brief conversation with another runner, and going look that's the 13 mile marker. The crowds around the finish were cheering and I heard my parents cheering for me. At exactly the 13mile marker I didn't think I could go on, I felt faint, I wanted to stop to walk but everyone around me was running and I was too embarrassed to walk so I ran and somehow made it over the finish line. I stopped and for a brief moment thought I was going to faint. I took a deep breath and walked over the the ramps to get my timing tag removed from my trainers. I don't remember what the person said to me but whatever he said it was what I wanted to hear.

Along the course the marshalls all clapped and shouted words of encouragement. The ones that I actually found the most useful were the ones at the very last water station.

After crossing the finish line I felt myself well up and I very nearly cried, this years half marathon was much much harder than last and I felt more proud of myself this year.

I walked down the track and picked up my finishers bag, I put my medal on and got my photo taken. I exited the track and picked up my bag, then saw my friend who had also taken part and my family. We had a hug and I drank some of the milkshake in the finishers bag, I put warm clothes on, we said goodbye to my friend, I went to the loo and then we walked the half mile to the car park.

I ate half a sandwich in the car and text a couple of people, when we got home we had dinner (although I didn't have much of an appetite) then I had a bath and quiet evening before a very early night.

Overall I am pleased with myself for doing the half marathon but I am definitely going to do more training before the next one!

The elite athletes were interviewed afterwards so my mother tells me (I was still running) and they all said the weather made it particularly hard.

I didn't finish in 2hours 30 as I had hoped but I definitely beat last years time. I haven't had my official time yet but I think I shed about 3-4 minutes off. Not what I had hoped in advance but when I was actually taking part I realised just how hard it was and was happy to let that aim go. That aim is for the future.
EDIT: my official finish time is 2 hours 49 minutes 2 seconds which is 3 minutes 54 seconds faster than last year. Also the wind was 24mph! No wonder it was hard

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