Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sheffield Half Marathon - Race Report

Good morning all.

As I had mentioned briefly, I ran my very first half-marathon on Sunday! In Sheffield it was 25 degrees before 9am, the sky was cloudless and I figured I was going to get heat stroke and die. However, I prevailed! I had aimed to get the 13.1 miles done in under 2 hours 30 minutes and I smashed that at 2:23:48 - and in this heat! Needless to say I am over the moon with this time and can't wait to sign up for another to see if I can get it in sub 2:10.

Here is me pre-race feeling a little nervous in my ACE SHORTS.

My good friend Chris having a little lunge.

The race is a 13.1 mile route down the valley of Sheffield starting in a bustling Don Valley Stadium at 9am. This race is a road race with lots of major roads being closed for the morning and despite being in Sheffield the route is fairly flat with only 3 inclines (I wouldn't call them hills - but then again I'm from Sheffield). There was no issue with toilets as there are loads in the stadium, (hurrah for the lack of portaloos) -and baggage was quick and painless.

The atmosphere was incredible, with people cheering at most points along the route. You knew that you were going to get a much needed buzz at the busier parts of the race such as Ecclesall road which is mile 5.5-7.5. There was a band, cheerleaders and hundreds of spectators all making a racket for the runners. It was amazing and I couldn't stop grinning! A perfect halfway mark.

The race began to get tough at mile 10.5 where I had lost my running partner and the heat was starting to get  to me, especially hard as I hadn't trained any further than 9.83 miles! My jelly babies had melted into a gooey deposit in my arm band but I still managed to save a couple for some sugary goodness.

There was a great moment at mile 12. You are running parallel to the stadium as it beckons you back in and I stopped and walked, I just felt defeated. A big burly bloke stopped and handed me half his water "Just finish it lass!" which was an unexpected relief. Looking behind me I saw another big burly bloke struggling in the heat so offered him the remainder of this water which he was very grateful for. Spurred on, I ran the last mile in some serious pain, but I ran it!

The best bit had to be running onto the track at Don Valley and seeing the timer at sub 2:30 - I woo'd and threw my arms up! I had just run a half marathon. Who on earth would have thought it?

Now, I don't want to get too soppy here - but I might. I'm not sporty and I never have been, but I went for a run 5 months ago on Christmas Day 2011 out of sheer boredom and now I'm writing this report. The process of getting better at running is what has kept me going, I love the competition against myself and beating times and distances. Just have a look at my 5K ParkRun stats -

No I'm not a fast runner, but in those four months I've improved so much and I think I'm allowed to feel badass for it. By the end of the summer I want to be sub 27 minutes on my 5K! I'm loving the mere thought of the challenge.

Those of you who say you can't run, look at ME. Anyone who knows me knows that this whole running thing is a little out of character to say the least! You CAN run. It's hard and it hurts and you miss out on fun things just so you can get up the next day and run for miles and miles but it is worth it. The glory is unrivaled.

For inspiration look out for these women on these websites:

G x

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