Race Review: Brighton Half Marathon 2015

I love running in Brighton. I love the scenery, the crowds, and the party atmosphere. Brighton marathon was amazing, and Brighton half was equally fun 🙂 Especially in the sunshine we had!

Mum and I wore our Brutal 10 tops – we’d flipping well earned them, after all 😉 And they have ‘Tough Runner’ sprawled across the back, which makes me happy!

brightonmemumAlong with me and Mum, my Dad and Uncle also ran with us, which made it even better! (This whole running thing is clearly contagious. My uncle – the nutter in blue below – started us all off, by running the first Brighton Marathon back in 2010. Dad figured that if his brother could run a marathon, then he could too. Mum joined him, followed by my brother who took on the challenge for a bit of a laugh, and then that just left me – and if the rest of them had run a marathon, I couldn’t very well not, could I!?)

Thanks, David!

brightonusI took this race easy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was a training run; and secondly, I wanted to keep an eye on my niggly foot (which held out, yay!). I didn’t feel up to a PB this time round, so I snuck back into the pink corral and decided to just get round in under 2h30.

I say ‘easy’ … but nobody warned me that the first 4 miles were one big fat hill. Every time I thought it was over, the incline started again! It was pretty cool to see the lead runners heading back into Brighton as we neared the turn-around point though. (But the headwind on the way back was a bit of a shock!)

I found the first half to be a little bit crowded. I was elbowed a couple of times, and people would often stop and walk in the middle of the road. But apart from that, I found the whole thing to be really well organised – plenty of loos, clear corrals and pacers, nice big mile markers, amazing crowd support, and a huge funky medal!

There was one pretty bad moment at about 9 miles, when I unfortunately found myself behind a guy who clearly hadn’t taken note of point 3 in this video. Blast radius, dude. Blast radius. Ironically, he noticed me immediately afterwards – and shouted a ‘sorry!’ over his shoulder, whilst his girlfriend told him off. Still, NOT COOL. Especially as it went all down my (bare) leg. I scraped most of it off with my trainer, but the gloves did suffer slightly too 😦

Despite the minor hiccup, the second half was pretty good. I took a few breaks to stretch out my calves, but Dad and I still made it round in under 2h30 (by about 30 seconds!)

Did I mention that the medal was AWESOME?

brightonmedalLove you, Brighton!

Next up is Surrey Half in 2 weeks. Who else will be racing?

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Paris Marathon: 7 (!) weeks to go

Training so far has been a bit of a mixed bag. It started with a nasty cold that set me back over a week, and then about a month ago I developed a foot niggle (I’m refusing to call it an injury!!! Don’t make me!!!)

All in all, it’s been a bit of a struggle.

But despite the setbacks, I’ve worked my way up to 16 miles for the long run, which I’m very pleased about! I’m averaging a slower pace than last year, but I think all of the extra strength and conditioning work I’m doing will make me a much stronger runner this time round.

Last year, despite all of my good intentions, my weekly training was generally a 5k or two + a few cycle commutes + a long run, and a few half-assed gym sessions. This year, I generally manage 3 runs (a lunchtime 5k, a 7m run commute, and the long run); a 1-hour pilates session; a swim session (1 hour, which is usually 1600-2000m, depending on how energetic I’m feeling!); a 1-hour PT or gym session (which often includes sets of 200m sprint intervals at 12.5kph), and a cycle commute or two.

I was quite worried about cutting back on the cycling, as I found that my legs initially felt much weaker. Turns out that once I started working the muscles that I’d ignored for years (hello, hamstrings!) everything kind of balanced out, and I started to hold a better posture and even increased my cadence! Win! (Still working on the speed…) I’d still like my quads back, though.

For Sunday’s 16 miler I tried a new route, taking the canal path from Woking out towards Weybridge. It was cold, sunny and crisp – perfect running weather! 🙂 And the views were gorgeous, which along with some Maroon 5 helped to take my mind off the distance.

16mtrack

16swans

I took a gel every 4 miles, which worked great; my energy seemed really consistent over the whole run. The last 1.5 miles were extremely tough (as expected) and I really had to grit my teeth to keep going, but I averaged 11:09/mile which is only 9 seconds off my pace in the Cranleigh 15 last year! I’m getting there!

This weekend I’ve got Brighton Half, which I’m running with my parents and uncle. It’s an event I’ve not done before, but after Brighton Marathon last year I have high hopes!

If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d be excited about a half marathon, I’d have said they were mad…

Are you training for anything? How’s it going? 🙂