I DID IT!

The challenge that I set myself earlier this year I have achieved J  This was a personal challenge – one that for some reason I felt I needed to do.  I’m told that I’m quite a motivated person (doesn’t always feel that way to me!) and that I can be quite hard on myself.  I’m probably coming to realise that that is true……  If I’m finding things hard, I tend to push myself even harder – I suppose it is a distraction technique!

So Sunday morning arrived, surprise surprise I’d not slept particularly well but kit was all ready so I was soon up and dressed; the challenge of getting contact lenses in first thing in the morning with slightly shaky hands was conquered! And I was ready to go.  As always I wanted to set off nice and early to make sure we were there in plenty of time.  I’m lucky that my OH is happy to pander to this and was ready nice and early which meant no problem parking when we got to Bridlington (well, until the machine in the car park wouldn’t take coins anymore – so we had to sort out paying with a card!).

As usual the first stop was the loo (nervous wee’s always happen!), and then on to find the start line.  It was so nice this time that thanks to parkrun I knew quite a lot of people – lot of chatter whilst we waited for the start.  Time to strip off the layers and have a quick warm up (and another loo stop!).

And then we were at the start !  I was chattering away and taking a group photo for a local club, missed the countdown to the start and then we were off!  The target time was 2:10:xx I really wanted to come in under this time.  After my long run a fortnight ago where the distance over a fairly flat course had come in at just under 2:02:00 I was hoping that this was a realistic target.bridhalfpace

I tried really hard not to get pulled along at the start (harder then you can imagine !) and find a pace to settle at.  I’d already decided that I would only look at my watch as it beeped for each mile and try to run to feel instead of aimed for a specific pace all the time.  In my head I was breaking the course down into chunks:

  • First section from Bridlington to Flamborough – tick off that village.
  • Next up to Bempton – tick off that village
  • Back to Bridlington – tick
  • Into Sewerby – tick
  • Along the sea front back onto Bridlington prom and the finish – TICK !!!

I felt Ok for the first section, but knew that Flamborough to Bempton was hilly – and I was worried about the hills!  A friend from one of the local running clubs was running with me and it was on this section we became aware of another runner who was stopping to walk all the time – he would run fairly fast, overtake us then stop and walk, we’d overtake him and then it would all repeat again.  Of course we are all entitled to our own strategies, but I couldn’t help think that he would have been better to slow down his running sections and try and find more of a steady rhythm.

You can see my splits above.  I found the last three miles very tough, if it hadn’t been for Tim encouraging me I’m not sure if I’d have managed to keep up the pace.

OFFICIAL CHIP TIME – 01:58:17 !!!!

YES, THAT IS A SUB 2 HOUR HALF MARATHON!!

YES, I’M AMAZED !!20151018_122032

I’ll brush over the fact that despite only sipping at a drink and not eating I still ended up being sick a couple of hours after the race – although once I’d got over it I just wanted to eat everything in sight!  Takeway and prosecco were the way to celebrate in the evening 🙂 (if anyone has any suggestions regarding the sickness – please share!).

Today – knees are a bit sore, thighs a bit achy, but overall not too bad at all.  I’ll leave it to another day to share my thoughts on where to go from here.

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Mental or physical?

Reading a blog post by crazy running girl got me thinking – do I run for mental or physical benefits, or both, does one outweigh the other……. ???

The answer is I don’t know which one takes precedence. I definitely run to feel fitter and healthier (and eat more cake and drink more wine!), but I’m not sure where I’d be mentally without my running. If I’m feeling frustrated, I run. If I’m upset, I run. If I’m happy, I run ! I find running gives me a fantastic physical outlet for emotions I’m experiencing.

This week is taper week before my first half marathon on Sunday 18th October 2015. That means I won’t be running as much. I am actually wondering how I’ll find that….. I ran yesterday as I hadn’t done a long run at the weekend, and covered just over 7 miles. I took the first 5 miles steady, then dropped the dogs off and felt good as I set off on my own. Without looking at my watch to see my pace, I just thought I’d push to what felt comfortable for a mile, after that, I still felt good so pushed for another mile. When I got home and looked at the splits for the run, I’d covered the first 5 miles at roughly 9min/mile pace; the sixth mile at 8:19m/mile and the seventh at 7:51m/mile ! Very pleased with this – hoping that it bodes well for the half.

But what am I going to do for the rest of the week? I plan on going out tomorrow (Wednesday) for a short run, then parkrun on Saturday – but I won’t push, it will just be steady. This doesn’t seem a lot, and I’m hoping by Sunday I’ll be itching to get out there for a good run. I’m already nervous and know that I will be on the morning until I’m actually on the start line. Once I’m running I think I’ll settle down and be fine.

Sewerby parkrun

Sewerby parkrun
These two photo’s are from Sewerby parkrun last Saturday – a beautiful location on a beautiful morning.

But back to why I run – thinking about it, if I couldn’t run, I think it is the mental benefits I’d probably miss first. When life is hard running provides an outlet – I have run and cried many, many times (there are advantages to running early in the morning in the countryside without many other people about!). When life is good, running is fun. When life is hard, running is a way of coping – how fast isn’t important, just getting out there helps. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without it. Running also gives me time to think, to try and process things that are troubling me, to day dream about where I’d like to be and what I’d like to happen. In a world where we seem to be perpetually busy, thinking space is very valuable!

That said, running is slowly becoming more sociable too. When I first started running I always ran alone. I joined in with parkrun a few times prior to doing race for life just so that I’d had experience of running within a crowd. This pattern carried on for quite a long time until the end of last year when I decided to make parkrun a regular thing – I’m so glad I did. I now actively look forward to meeting up with others. I’m even considering joining a club !

Runs, sickness and sunshine!

And the last long run is done!20151001_084710

With just less than two weeks to go I have completed my last long run before my first half marathon.  Yesterday morning I headed out nice and early to do a circular route of 13.1 miles.  I didn’t have a planned pace, just wanted to go and run and feel comfortable the whole way and be able to complete it.  Within two miles my little toe was rubbing and despite stopping to adjust my socks it didn’t help and I have ended up with a blister – if anyone can recommend seamless socks I’d be very interested!

My route took me round several villages including a few small hills and I was generally very comfortable (apart from the toe!) and very surprisingly I completed in 2:01:39.  I was really, really pleased with this as I’d had in mind that it would take me around about 2:15:00 to complete.  This has given me a little bit more confidence for the half marathon – although I think I’ll be a bit slower as there are quite a few hills!20151001_084717

But….. once again after the run I was ill.  I’d parked at my partners work, so after walking for five minutes to cool down I popped into the office for a glass of water, chatted for a bit and walked around a bit more to ensure I was fully cooled down.  Jumped in the car and had to go to the supermarket for a few bits – drove the 15 mins home and sorted a few things out there.  THEN I had something to eat (a packet of crisps, I was craving the salt!).  Felt fine, had a shower and it all started to go wrong.  Started to feel ill so had half an hour sat down to feel better – thought I was OK so got up to get a banana and I was suddenly sick in a spectacular fashion!

Once I’d been sick I felt much, much better, and before long managed that banana (followed by soup, followed by chocolate, followed by crisps…..!!).  I have asked the question of other runners, and the general consensus is that I just need to wait even longer before eating, and then try something other than solids – yoghurt being a great suggestion.  I have been to the doc’s this morning (for something totally unrelated) so asked him what he thought – pretty much just listen to my body and wait for longer before eating.  I’m not particularly worried, it is just annoying.  If anyone has any suggestions I’d be interested to hear them.

20151001_084727

September

Looking back on September’s training:

  • I ran 22 times
  • 9 miles
  • 4 hours

This is the first time that I’ve gone over 100 miles in a month; quite a significant milestone for me.  Let’s hope it pays off!

20151001_083809

I took these photos on a run a few days ago – it was the most gorgeous morning and it makes me very much appreciate the beautiful countryside of the East Riding of Yorkshire that I’m lucky to live in.  The mornings have been cooler, but the days have soon warmed up and we’ve had a week or two of great weather.  It makes me feel alive when running on mornings like this, gives me such a lift.

(apologies for the quality of this last picture – I think my phone lens had steamed up! – the shadows of me and my two dogs 🙂 )