Sunday, 7 November 2010

Half Stevenage Half

Getting up this morning I knew today wasn't going to be a good day. I had to drag myself out of bed, force myself to eat, I felt nauseous all the way to the race, realised I hadn't taken my medication before leaving the house, and when I got there I was told the car park was full, then it wasn't. I finally got parked, grabbed my spare meds out of my bag and then it started to rain. I seriously debated whether or not I should just start my car and disappear! Instead I just added a base layer to my outfit and walked the 15mins to the start.

It was a good start, I'd arrived early enough to warm up properly and did a couple of gentle jogs around the track and some stretches to get the muscles moving. My bag was in the baggage tent, I'd used the loo (v. important) and I was ready to start. Even once we were off I still wasn't really in the mood; something wasn't right, but I didn't know what. I felt fine and I happy to keep running, but my heart wasn't really in it. The first km beeped on my Garmin, but I didn't even acknowledge it. I figured I could get through the race at a pace that was comfortable, but not too hard; no PB, just a finish! A little after the 1st mile marker I started to get a pain behind my right knee. It wasn't anything worth noting, just annoying, I figured the muscle had tightened up and I needed to stretch it out or something. I continued on without thinking too much about it, but the course was undulating and whilst the pain wasn't bad on the flat, when the hills it it became progressively worse. After 5 miles I could no longer run up hill and had to walk those stretches. The course consisted of two laps and the amount of pain I was in made my decision to drop out after the first lap very easy. I did injury back in March and struggled to finish the Reading half marathon, I wasn't going to do it again I figured the quicker I stopped running the less damage I was doing. 

As soon as the course looped back to the start I dropped out and found the nearest St John's Ambulance for treatment. A bit of rest, elevation, ice and a tubigrip later and I back on my feet trying to minimise the hobbling (street cred lol!). I handed my timing chip back in and collected my goody bag and t-shirt. I must say I am supremely disappointed as the race was advertised as awarding all runners with a medal and technical shirt, but instead we only got shirt. So I'm not disappointed I didn't complete, just annoyed my knee still hurts all these hours later (yes I was hoping I'd faked it...). Walking's not too bad right now, but seeing stairs makes me cry! Coming down is almost barable, but going up is a nightmare. I've figured out that it hurts more when I bend my knee so I've been trying to get up and down the stairs without bending my knee. I see a physio appointment very soon in my future and not a whole lot of running!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ten Halves in 2010

So I've done it! I've completed my personal challenge and run 10 half marathons in 2010; all for Scope! Scope have been brilliant along the way, sending me good luck cards and congratulations certificates and even post race massages and snacks! It's been a tremendous journey from my first half of the year; the Roding Valley Half where I ran 2:10:38, to my longest; the Reading Half where I had the ligament injury that kept me away from the London Marathon, to my PB, which I achieved at the Royal Parks Foundation Half in Hyde Park just days before my 30th birthday! I was really hoping to get a sub 2:00 time, but I pushed as hard as I could and came out with 2:01:39; shaving nearly SIX minutes of my previous PB! So that was none too shabby!

Before this year I had only run one half marathon; Run To The Beat in September 2009, and that was purely by chance! It had never been my intention to get into half marathons, just like it had never been my intention to get into running! In 2009 I had been working up to running 10k, and I had even entered a 10k race in Watford for the April with my bff, come the day though it was rainy and I hadn't done adequate training so it was an easy decision to give it a miss. I did still meet up with my friend later that day and her father-in-law made a comment that made me want to take my running more seriously. That year was the first year I actually made a plan about what races I was going to run and set myself real workable goals in terms of finish times. I got a PB at the Women's 5k Challenge that year and went on to run the Bananaman 10k Chase in Willen Lake, my first 10k race and setting myself a PB of 53:53 that I am still yet to beat! It was this race that lead me to my first half marathon. Leukaemia Research as they were known then are the official charity of RTTB and they had extra places going for the race in just two weeks! As it was such short notice they didn't even want any money; they were just giving the places away and I could hardly say no! I had an 8k race the day before, which I completed and my plan for the day was just to enjoy the atmosphere and get around the course! Leukaemia Research were going for a world record for the number of people dressed as bananas before the race and I was eager to take part in that! I put on my banana suit and warmed up with my fellow bananas, had a photoshoot, signed the register and decided to run the whole 13.1miles wearing the suit! It was such a fantastic experience that I knew I just had to do it again! It's funny how you can be so afraid of something only to realise there's nothing to be scared of at all!

The idea to run 10 in 2010 came to me after my injury, I had just been using the 21.1km distance as preparation for the London Marathon. After my marathon dreams were smashed I wanted to think of a challenge I could do that would be worthy of the kind of support I would expect for the London Marathon. I wasn't particularly enjoying the 13.1 mile race, but I knew that I could recover and train an get back into it. It would be hard work, but not as much hard work as the marathon and if I could maintain that level of fitness for the whole year I knew it would have lots of other benefits for me. I decided to choose my runs carefully as running four halves in four weekends had caused my injury. I laid them out trying not to do two in two weekend, always giving myself a break in between to recover. I also had the London Triathlon in my diary so there was serious cross training to be done as well! It been a hectic year, I've had two respiratory infections that have kept me in bed for weeks and yet I've kept pushing for these halves. They've really kept me going!

Now 13.1 miles is my race; I own it. When I look for races I look for half marathons, there's the odd 10k, 10mile and 5k in my diary too, but 13.1 is where I live; that's me; it's got my name on it and it calls me Mommy! This is the distance that really pushes me, where I can prove something to myself; where I separate the girl from the woman; where I find my own. And to prove the point; I'm not happy with 2:01:39 as a PB I need to get sub 2:00 and as such I'm going to keep running half marathons until I hit a figure that I'm happy with. And yes all you runners out there know that this is just the start; once I hit my goal, I'll simply move the goal post and keep on running. So if you see me out there, come along and run with me; life is for the taking and I'm running with it!