So in the build up to this race I was feeling quite relaxed. I had raced my A race at Brighton and managed my sub 2. This was a fun race- lots of girls from the club were running it, lots more were marshalling, and I had free entry from marshalling at a triathlon back in the summer. I had no idea of what time I was aiming for, and just wanted to enjoy the route and enjoy the club event. I was hoping for around 2.15 but really I didn’t mind anything.
But there were signs it wasn’t going to be my day. I did some gardening on Saturday afternoon and my nose kept running- I thought it was down to being outside in the cold, but I kept sneezing and it wasn’t gone the next morning.
I woke up to also realise I had forgotten my pre-race ritual of painting my nails- I am not superstitious or anything like that, but I do like to do this the night before.
The race HQ was only a couple of miles away, and I did consider walk/running there, but in the end with my cold I knew I would not fancy the run or walk after running the half, so opted to drive. After getting to the HQ and picking up my number, first of all I filled out the back and both me and Louise (a club friend) were wondering why the numbers were so big, and did not know why there was another section at the bottom with name and contact number, when there were already spaces for them. It was only when we saw someone else that we realised the bottom was a strip to tear off to attach to your bag. Whoops.
Then we met up with some other club mates and I was looking around, and suddenly noticed that they all had timer tags on their trainers- where was mine? Yup, in the envelope, with massive writing on the front saying “timer chip enclosed”- I had to head back to the table and rummage around the envelopes to find mine. Dearie me, you would not think I had run 12 half marathons before this one would you?
The race started on a track (with free kids races at 8.40am) so we had a quick team photo before the start. It was a low key event with around 600 entries. Some were doing their first ever half, others are training for the London marathon. I was going to run with Louise- she had run her first half marathon a few weeks ago but had a bit of trouble at the end so the plan was to run together and keep it steady and enjoy.
The route was good- we went off the track, along pavements on some residential streets, and after a few miles we were out in the countryside, along paths, alongside fields of horses, along an old railway line. The first and last 4 miles were the same- we saw the 10 marker facing the other way and tried not to think about how far we had to go before we would see it again! It was undulating with a few very short steep sections, but nothing really tough. It was cold though- I had originally planned on wearing just my vest but as I had a cold I decided to be sensible and keep my jacket with me. I think I only took it off with about 3 miles to go as the sun came out then.
The two of us ran together, chatting most of the way. It was great as so many Oh ladies were marshals so it seemed every time you went around another corner someone was shouting our names. There are also lots of photos from them coming onto our group facebook page.
At 11.25 miles I looked at my watch and said to Louise “once we get to 11.5 miles we can start thinking about the medal”- I spoke too soon because quite soon after that I fell over. I know I have fallen before when running, but it still takes me by surprise- suddenly the pavement is moving so fast towards your face. I really thudded and rolled onto the verge, and winded myself. I am so glad that Louise was with me- I think I would have cried when I looked at the blood. Amazingly her husband and daughter were on the marshal point only a few metres up the road, so after getting back up (and feeling dizzy and a bit sick from being winded) we walked up to them. They had some water so Louise rinsed my hands to try and get the worst out. Her husband did offer me a lift back but we were so close to the finish and I wanted to run- I was feeling OK once we set off again, although my hands were stinging like crazy and I was running in a strange way, trying to pick my feet up so as not to trip again.
As we came into the stadium I thought we had to do a lap of the track, so I held off a bit, but it turned out that we finished with only about a quarter of it, so it was nice to finish sooner than expected.
It was a low key event, (and it is only the second year of it) but the finish area was a bit of an anticlimax- you had to help yourself to your medal from a table, and then help yourself to water in a cup- Louise got me some and there were hardly any clean cups and very little water left. You could have got a print out, but I wanted to find someone to clean my injuries properly so I didn’t do that. Louise picked up my t-shirt for me too (the theme here is that I am very very glad that I ran with her).
Anyway, the paramedics made me sit in their car while they wiped my wounds (he did ask if I wanted to do it myself but I didn’t even like looking at them).
Most of the girls had finished so we had a quick chat but it was freezing so I quickly headed inside to get my bag and put on my big jumper. I do like the medal.
The ribbon says the year of the race. The green colour is fab, although it looks a bit festive.
I bought a cup of tea from the sports centre at HQ because there were no bottle of water or anything at the finish, and I hadn’t packed one as I thought there would be. Then I drove home. Let me tell you, steering and changing gear was very painful.
And here are the wound photos:
They put a plaster on this one but it fell off- no idea where- gross!
My hips, ribs and back are quite sore now too- I was pretty shaky when I got home and had a sit down and a cereal bar before I got up the nerve to shower- Andy was at football otherwise I would have asked him to help I think- shampoo in those wounds was not nice!
I have been rehydrating like a champ since (I did have a nuun tab in water with my toast for breakfast)- another nuun tab, water, some maple water (Ocado stock it- how exciting!), tea, and then later I popped out to the shops to get some more plasters.
I had a full Caffe Nero card so got a chai latte, and in the queue I noticed gingerbread filled muffins so I had one to get me through until dinner. So good.
So, chip time was 2.18.50 (and Louise did 2.18.51- we finished together too). I would definitely do that race again as it was so local, I liked the route and much less hilly than the St Albans one!