Last week was so very hectic and full of exciting things that it is only now that I have the chance to write about the half marathon I ran a week and a half ago! I ran this race in its debut last year (see review here). The organisers admitted that not everything was perfect last year and promised us some changes. They did deliver on these changes and mostly I have to say that improvements were made. Before going into that however, I shall go back to the beginning…
This year the race happened to fall on Mother’s Day here in the UK. When I signed up for the race I had not realised this although I am not sure that it would have stopped me running it anyway. I enjoy running so it was a nice way to spend the morning (in theory) although it did mean that there were no lie ins and breakfast in bed for me. The race started at 9.30!
When I went to bed the night before I was convinced that it was snowing which didn’t bode that well for me although my husband was very quick to play it down saying it was falling too fast for snow (is this even possible?). Waking up the next morning – it was still snowing. There was not much on the ground – just a bit had settled on the grass and cars but that did mean that it was cold 😦
You can tell what the weather was like from the clothes everyone is wearing. Shorts and t-shirts were not very prominent.
The Warm Up
Having been before, and living fairly local we decided to ignore the bit that said we had to arrive at the park and ride by 7.30 only leaving the village around 7.45. We still arrived with plenty of time. There were, as promised, more toilets and we didn’t spend the whole time queuing as we had last year. In fact we had enough time to do the warm up. Now I am not normally one who bothers with participating in the warm ups but today , being cold we decided it would be a good idea. There were two problems with this: 1. the field was muddy and soggy – a bit like jumping up and down in a cold puddle and 2. The bin bags we were wearing to keep warm didn’t allow for any arm movements. You can imagine what we looked like (lol) but it did keep us a bit warmer than had we stood around doing nothing!
Having enough time to get to the start this year we were able to find the correct pen and had a bit of time chatting before the race started. At last years event the course narrowed down very quickly at the start which had made it very hard to get into a rhythm. This year was much better and we were saved the dodging around people dance.
As is very easy to do we set off at quite a pace – in fact the split times for the first 6 miles were all sub 9min miles. Far too fast! That combined with the weather meant that I was finding it increasingly hard to catch my breath. My blue inhaler was having quite a work out itself as I struggled to fill my lungs with air. By 8 miles I could no longer keep the pace up and I was becoming dizzy. It was very clear that I would have to stop for a bit. I urged my partner on not wanting to hold her up too much and walked for a while. By now I was at the stage where had I seen some St John’s Ambulance people I would have stopped. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there were none to be seen so I walked for a bit and then, once I had my lungs working a bit more efficiently again I set off. Unfortunately I was no longer able to sustain my efforts and did a run – walk – jog to the end.
Despite not being able to find any help when I could really have done with it I really think that the organisation was good this year. There were water and refueling stations regularly placed around the course. The water that they provided was not in those silly plastic cups that you cannot drink out of without stopping but in pouches:
These clever little pouches are easy to drink from and ‘close up’ when not needed so you do not get water everywhere. They are the perfect thing for runners. I was really impressed. I was also very grateful for a gel halfway around – the first time that I have been provided with one of these in a race ever.
The race organisers had listened to the feedback from last year and had put the necessary changes in place. Brilliant. But what about me?
1. I finished against all the odds.
2. I didn’t fall over!
1. I didn’t do it in under two hours like I had hoped.
2. I had an asthma attack and felt awful. (Paula Radcliff apparently has asthma and her lung capacity can be reduced by 12% which most people would not notice. At home my capacity was reduced by 40% and I was feeling a bit better then!)