Humber Bridge Half Marathon

Sunday morning, alarm set for 6am…..

Haven’t run since Tuesday so the legs should be fresh…..

On a thankfully cooler morning we were up, dressed, stuff grabbed together and in the car by 7am.  Not feeling prepared at all!

I’m sure there is a bit of slightly hysterical humour on a morning such as this, when we are wondering at what point setting your alarm this early on a Sunday and going to run a long way became fun.  This became evident when we spotted a club mates car up ahead… hence we had to overtake on the dual carriage way and wave manically at them.  At least it gave us all a giggle.

After a quick stop at the garage for cash, sweets and water we arrived in good time to be directed to park in the school playing fields.  This was a good few minutes walk away for the start / finish area but not too bad.

As numbers and chips had been posted out, there wasn’t much that needed to be done once we were actually there which meant the time was passed by taking group selfies and queuing for the loo.  Managed to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time (in the loo queue, where else?!) who went on to run a fab race and got second in her age category (well done Sharon!).

You are then shepherded out of the finish area to make your way onto the road for the start.  I was pleased that we weren’t hanging around here very long and that the loudspeaker for the organiser was very loud – too often you struggle to hear what race directors are saying.  Some nice loud music added to the atmosphere too.

This was my first time doing this race, but my OH had run it last year.  I’d already told him to stop telling me which were his ‘worst bits / hated bits / boring bits’ as I wanted to approach the course without his opinions affecting me (you know if you are told it’s a horrid hill, it’s already horrid before you’ve even got there).  We had kind of decided to run together, with the agreement that if one of us was feeling stronger then they would go on ahead and not hang back for the other.

And we were off !

The first few miles of the race takes you underneath the Humber Bridge and in a square around Hessle to join the approach road for the bridge itself. For some reason I didn’t really settle in and feel like the race was underway until I was on the bridge.  I think this is because so much emphasis is put on running on the bridge.

Humber Bridge Half 2017
On the Humber Bridge (thanks Charley for the picture)

As you pass through the toll booths onto the bridge you pass the two mile marker.  11.1 miles to go.  A slight climb up towards the centre of the bridge and then a nice long downhill down towards the southbank.  I was grateful for the breeze up here as running around town had been surprisingly warm.

I’d kind of decided that I needed to take advantage of the elevation and use the downhills to get my average pace up… hence why mile 4  was completed in 8.59 mins – my quickest mile of the whole race.

The route then takes you up the slip road which is a fairly steep hill, before a decent into Barton and a big loop around the town.  This was probably the bit I found most boring.  Yes there were spectators, but I’m not keep on running through towns at any time.

I knew that we would go through the mile 8 marker at around the point that we passed underneath the bridge on the southbank – and I had this in my head as a way to think that I was nearly two thirds of the way through the race.  I knew that shortly after this we would have to face ‘Cardiac Hill’ and my mental games were focused on thinking that it didn’t matter if this hill was hard, I was in the last third of the race.

The hill was hard.

I did walk part of it – not a lot though, and tried to keep up a good fast paced walk when I did.  At this point my OH went on ahead but I was determined to keep him in sight.  Ten mile marker and we made our way back onto the A15 to approach the bridge for the second time.  Just was we were on the bridge itself I managed to catch back up with my OH and it was nice to have his support in the final couple of miles.

Now you might think that a bridge is relatively flat, or that if it was a climb to the centre and then downhill on the way over, then it must be the same on the way back…  No it isn’t !

The southbank is obviously at a much lower level than the northbank (see, running helps with geography too 😉 ) so what was a gentle climb followed by a nice downhill on the way out, was a long uphill followed by just about level on the way back.  On tired legs this was hard.  Add in to the mix that it was now quite windy and I was getting buffeted around and it sapped every bit of energy out of the system.

I had worn my camelbak, filled with tailwind and had been forcing myself to have at least a few sips every mile, but by the time I’d hit 11 miles I just couldn’t face any more (I’d actually drunk very little when I looked to see how much was left in the camelbak).

I was very grateful to come off the bridge and make my way into the finish.  Where the sprint finish (best pace 5.27 min / mile!) came from I have no idea.

Humber Bridge Half 2017 2
Sprint finish!  (thanks Charley for the picture)

My ideal would have been to run at a 9 min / mile average pace.  I knew that this was not possible due to the lack of training and my weight.  I’d therefore set myself another target that I’d be very happy if I managed to average a 9.30 min / mile pace.  I actually didn’t think that this was likely at all.

We did miss the 2 hour mark, coming in at 02:04:33

But I did get the 9.30 min / mile average 🙂

Humber Bridge Half 2017 3

Did I enjoy it?

Not sure – I found it very hard and my lack of preparation showed

Will I do it again?

I’m not rushing to enter it for next year, but if I was looking at doing another road half marathon I would consider it.

Bling?

Nice tshirt and medal.  Engraving of your medal offered onsite for £3.50.

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Sledmere Sunset Trail 10k

‘A scenic 10k multi terrain run starting and finishing in the grounds of Sledmere House, Sledmere.’

My first time at this event.  Pretty local to me, beautiful countryside, off road – it meant that I really did need to enter.  Despite it being very hard, I’m pleased I did.

This is an evening run, with a start time of 7.30pm – not a time that I generally choose to run if I can help it but I think it leads to a nice relaxed atmosphere and everyone seemed to be pretty chilled.  Parking was easy, as was registration and picking up numbers.  One thing to note is that this is not chip timed (important for some).

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coming into the finish – it was warm!

A short queue at last minute for the loo (I’d not realised the start was a little way from the front of Sledmere House, so would be a little bit earlier in the queue another year!) and we headed to the front of the house and then to walk down to the start area.  It really is a beautiful setting, so worth lifting your head up and having a look round.  We had a stunning evening of clear blue skies that made everything look pretty special.

I keep saying ‘we’ but haven’t explained that one.  I was with my partner and there were fifteen of us from our running club – a good turnout for a small club particularly when there are several races this weekend in the area.

Pleased to say that there wasn’t much hanging around at the start and we were off.  A short level section on a chalk track followed quickly by a climb. I find this really difficult early on in a race, before I’ve had time to warm up properly and find a rhythm.   The course consisted of a small loop followed by a larger loop which took in part of the first but in the opposite direction.  Mile two ended up being a fab mile for me and my quickest of the race (not the best pacing but never mind!) as it was through the woods and slightly downhill.  I did pay for this later on in the race though when the legs were burning.

The worst section of the race was around mile four (and my slowest mile). We were taken out of the woods and into a dale bottom which was deceiving in looking quite flat but was actually a steady climb the whole length.  Add to this the fact that the grass had been cut, but still left pretty long and all of the grass cuttings were piled on top.  This just sapped the energy from my legs!  A very steep but thankfully short hill led the way out of the dale (I’ll admit that I walked this) and back onto tracks and eventually into the woods again.

I’d decided that I was going to push hard for this race, and that I did.  I aimed to try and keep with a fellow club member and I finished just 22 seconds behind her, so thanks Karyn for helping me keep the pace up.  I’m pretty pleased with the result – I’m still not back to where I was, but this was a hard course, on a very warm evening and I had a great run and knew that I’d given everything I had.

Official time:  56:16

38 / 137 females

Cross training

Where are the weeks disappearing to?!

I’ve been aiming to get out on my push bike for weeks as a form of cross training.  Yesterday was the first day that I managed it.

The only cross training (if you can even class it as training) that I do is walking and the odd bit of yoga.  Both help, in particular the walking, at stretching and loosening achy joints and muscles, but I don’t think they do a lot for strength.   I have a mountain bike – not ideal for road biking, but it will certainly do and after comments from a friend on how much taking up biking has helped her running I was determined to try and incorporate this into my routine.

  • Session 1 = four miles (slightly hilly!)

I know it doesn’t seem like far, but it is a start!  Even for this distance I can feel my legs having to work different muscles and it is pretty hard work.  I’m not aiming for fast (and didn’t time the ride either); at the moment I just want to complete it.  I hadn’t felt great yesterday and could easily have stayed at home curled up on the sofa, but I didn’t, I got my bike out and went.  So I’m classing that as a success.

Next ride planned for Wednesday, which takes the weeks plan to this:

  • Mon:  1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Tues: 1.5 mile walk, club track session
  • Wed: 1.5 mile walk, 4 mile bike
  • Thurs: 1.5 mile walk, 4 – 6 mile club run
  • Fri: 1.5 mile walk, 10k trail race
  • Sat: parkrun 3 miles
  • Sun: ??????  long walk

That is looking like a busy week!!

Last week I only ran three times, and incorporated parkrun into a long run.  I set off running in a bit of a fluster after setting off nice and early, planning to get to parkrun, do a minimum of 6 miles first but a road closure due to an accident (meaning I had to double back for several miles before I could take an alternative route) meant that I was much later than planned but still managed 4 miles.  My hips were achy right from the off due to three hours digging in the garden the night before…

I took a route through Danes Dyke for the first time – and I’ll happily do it again.  It is lovely and lots of steps to work on the legs J

DanesDyke
Danes Dyke

parkrun was completed with a friend on her first run in ages – a very nice three miles with lots of chat and catch up and then I headed straight off for another 6 miles.  I won’t lie, it was hard work.  But I’m very glad that I did it as the final long run before Humber Bridge Half Marathon.

Do you cross train?  What do you find best?