The Big Half (Race Report)

I just want to start off by saying, having organised a race myself, how extremely stressful it is to do so. So I want to congratulate London Marathon Events for putting on a new event of this size, and pulling it off pretty darn well.

I do love/hate London races.

They’re usually extremely overpriced and very busy (not good for those of us with an anxious disposition!)

The buzz is that you’re in LONDON – and I love our capital very much.

We drove into London the morning of the race, and so my hubby and kids dropped me off at Tower Bridge, which was very helpful. I arrived about 8.10am, 50 mins before the start, and didn’t feel rushed at all. In fact, it was probably the calmest start to a race i’ve had. I didn’t need to use the bag drop however so I didn’t experience the crush of that like some others did…

I used the toilet with a minimal queue, and spoke to Jemma (@thisgirlcanrunfar) from Spain, who rang me to say good luck. She’s a good egg that one! I was texting with Martha to try and meet up, but she informed me of how busy it was, and we’d probably never find each other.

I turned the corner and started up the street towards Tower Bridge and who did i see?!

I ran up to M and gave her a BIG hug, before she set off to her cheering spot.

After that I kept turning around to other friends all at once! I saw Kev (@kev_halls) and then noticed Sophie (@sophielaps_), and then Shellie (@shellie0055) was there, and then ChiChi (@chichi.runs) came up the stairs… it was amazing like a big reunion. Love my running friends!

We strolled across Tower Bridge together towards the start pens and got all those pre race excitement feelings..

big-half

I said goodbye to the others and carried on walking, and met Laura (@laurajbrine) and we chatted about our race plans.

See my race plan was pretty much that i’d be running with and pacing Martha, but her hip had been hurting, so regrettably she’d decided to pull out of the race. With that plan gone, I thought I may as well set off with a p.b in mind (sub 1.44) and see what I could do.

I felt pretty good, but in actual fact, i’d not fuelled enough, had no race nutrition with me, and had run 7 miles the day before – not an ideal background for me pushing out a new personal best! I left Laura and was about to get into pen B when I saw Jordan! (@projectmarathongirl) Yay! I’d not seen Jordan for absolutely ages, and I knew she was going for a good time at the race, so I was so so glad to squeeze her before she sprinted to glory (seriously, she qualified for London Marathon Championship place 2019!)

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Standing in my start pen, you could feel the excitement bubbling as they announced the elite start – Mo was off… and we almost were too. We began to move up to the start line and then we were off.

I went out too quick. I knew it was.

I wanted to aim for steady 7.40ish pace, but I was too excited and I couldn’t pull it back enough. I soon regretted it as mile 2 (pretty much the entirety of it) was a tunnel, down first, and then an up which lasted for ever. My pace was still pretty good at this point, cashing in a few 7.19 type splits before it all started to crash around me…

I was running with music to start with, and wow did the Jaybird’s not disappoint (but also why you shouldn’t use them if its not a shut road race) – they cancelled all other sound and it was pretty noisy around me with choirs and crowds and footsteps.

I passed (very briefly) Suzie Chan (@suzie_chan) and Sophie Raworth off the news (@sophieraworth) and shouted something about how much I love them both… oh gosh. Such a fan girl, but they ARE both amazing. Go and follow them if you don’t already (you looney).

Mile 3 came and went, through Canary Wharf and reminiscing the last time I pounded these roads at the London Marathon. I started to realise that possibly, this wasn’t going to be the race for me. Mile 4 was ok, but then Mile 5-6 started to hit me big style.

The route was boring in places and the undulation was unexpected. And then there was the cobbles…. streets and streets of cobbles…WHY!

Miles 7 and 8 got harder. As I ran back over Tower Bridge at mile 7, I could feel the previous days miles catching up with me. I forced a smile out (well I did enjoy the bridge to be fair…) but I knew the wheels were falling right off.

I wanted to stop. I had to take a cup of Lucozade to try and get some sort of energy going. I drank water at each station too, and walked while drinking – something I never do in a race. I stopped to stretch out a couple of times and I walked to video and chat to Andy. I hugged people. I stopped for hugs.

Mile 8 I watched a girl fully cut a massive corner – to which I commented quietly, “cheater!” – as I did so a guy pulled up to my shoulder and laughed – I turned and it was only Kieron! (@anxious_to_ultra) He was knackered too and stuck with me over the next mile and a bit and tried to encourage me.

I think the photos below were around 6.2  miles, when I nearly missed the mat because I was up on the pavement trying to avoid all the cobbles. I dashed back and then realised there was the photographer! If looks could kill…

I looked at my watch and i knew a p.b had slipped out of reach, I was on for 1.44.56, and there was no way I could push harder. My motor was full throttle. I stopped to stretch my calves and Kieron carried on.

Mile 8,9,10 passed by in a dull blur, the only hilight seeing Laura (@murraylaura) and her calling out my name for encouragement.

My splits were dropping hard and I was now averaging 8.45 ish, my new goal was to smash the last 5k and get a sub 1.50, I couldn’t do worse than that.

I came around past Becca (@redfaced_runner) and Lizzie (@lillybet.runs.alot) and the cheer squad, and ran over for a much needed hug and encouraging word. These guys seriously, they mean everything in these race situations and I am forever grateful for their cheering skills and willingness to freeze their butts off to cheer for other people!

Then as I left mile 12, I saw my Martha again. As i approached her i shouted “I HATE RUNNING!”. I felt like total crap. Then Martha said “Daryl’s just ahead of you!” – er what? Daryl (@run_daryl_run) is super quick – his Piriformis was playing up again and he was agonisingly pushing on to the finish. Martha ran down the road with me for a little bit, then we realised the official photographer was taking our picture! So funny. We got to run together after all!

I knew my sweet little family were waiting for me just by the finish line and i’d had my instruction of where to look. I clocked them and gave my kids a kiss, and then carried it on the last 100m to the finish line underneath the Cutty Sark, obviously prioritising coverage for the ‘gram!

I followed the crowds and wandered around to get my medal and goody bag, then met my family at the festival in Greenwich Park. I like that there is something to do at the end, but it’s always super hard to get any signal to message anyone in those places. It was really cold too, so we met Daryl and Martha to say goodbye and then walked back across Blackheath to where our car was parked.

Oh, by the way, I managed a mile pb! FINALLY a sub 7 minute mile!

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In conclusion, I enjoyed this race for the most part. I wasn’t too bothered about the route but thats probably due to the fact I was struggling so much, so it wasn’t on my radar too much! I enjoyed the smattering of crowds and seeing so many people I knew, and despite the pain on the day, I’m looking back with fondness on my pics. So it can’t have been that bad.

Just like childbirth….

 

sign-off

 

 

 

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