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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Training for a second marathon

There are upsides and downsides to training for your second marathon, compared to your first.

One the upside, you know what to expect.

On the downside … You know what to expect.

I’m only into week 3 of my marathon training plan, and it’s already had all manner of ups and downs. Week 1 – Christmas week – was spent fighting off a nasty cold, with all of the Lemsip, Strepsils, ‘hot toddys’ (port, hot water, brown sugar and cloves – genius!) and cups of tea I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, the cold lasted the best part of 2 weeks – so with Week 1 written off completely, Week 2 started off with a 4.5 mile walk along the Devon coast:

devon1

.. Which was followed by an unpromising 2 miler on the Tuesday with my Uncle. It was icy and freezing cold, even in the number of layers I had on, but luckily the cough held off until I got home, and I managed the 2 miles (with a steep hill thrown in) without walking breaks.

Did I really run a marathon less than a year ago? What happened!?

On Sunday, I gave the long run a go. Having missed the first one (and having slacked on the base building), I aimed for 9. I managed 9.4 – they were slow, uncomfortable and miserable, but they were better than nothing.

run1

I was quite pleased with myself, given the lack of training over the weeks beforehand!

Then I heard that my friend (running her first marathon in Paris with me) had managed a 12 mile run at my 10k PB pace. Suddenly, all of my insecurities and worries came back.

Has missing the first 2 weeks of training set me back too far? Will I still be able to reach my goals for Paris? What if my speed doesn’t come back?…

Having run Brighton last year, I know how much training I need. I didn’t do enough last time round, and I found the marathon much harder than I should have. I know that if I don’t knuckle down and start ticking off my training sessions, I’m going to struggle in Paris. I can already feel myself slipping into the same pattern as last year, and I need to snap out of it and push just a little bit harder. After all, it’s more than worth it – there’s no better feeling than training hard, and having it pay off on the day. Surrey half was that race for me in 2014 (SO excited to run it again this year!) – and I really want Paris to be even better.

Last summer, another friend and I started running to work again once a week, after a 2 month break. The first week was awful, and we averaged over 12 minute miles; but by week five, we were consistently under the 11:00/mile mark, and the love for running was starting to come back. I think that’s what I miss, more than anything – the joy I used to find in lacing up my shoes and heading out for a few miles. But then my friend’s words came back to me:

But our fitness .. We’re chasing it down right now! And each run we do, we’re catching it up!

At the end of the day, I know I’ve got it in me. I just need to get on with it – and leave the panic for the taper!

Are you training for anything at the moment? How’s it going?

Race Review – Surrey Half Marathon

Better late than never, huh?

As you’ve probably gathered from everyone else’s race reports, the Surrey Half was BRILLIANT. Bright sunshine, huge crowds, a well organised start (setting off in waves based on pace groups to avoid overcrowding – it worked!), almost no loo queues, and an amazing course. There were cheerleaders, live bands, kids throwing water at us to cool us down and parents handing out sweets and cups of water in between aid stations, crowds all along the route cheering us along .. and everything was extremely well marked. All the volunteers were smiley and encouraging and wonderful. I loooved it. I think I had a smile on my face for almost the entire thing!

Surrey Half Marathon March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com

I especially loved finishing on the track – somehow I managed a sprint finish, overtaking 7 people, which topped off the day perfectly. Looking at the results, I passed 400 people in the second half! Unreal! Bit of a contrast to hobbling over the line at Exeter last month after an entire lap of wanting to quit:

ExeSHM

The only downside was that the course was hillier than I had expected (though I really should have expected it, given I’ve been cycling from Guildford to Woking and back for work for a year – though in my defence, I use another road!) It was tough, especially given the heat, but the views were beautiful and the runners were lovely and friendly, and the supporters made the miles fly by.

Things did get a bit wobbly at half way – and on the big hill at about mile 10 (so cruel!). Running uphill towards the sun on tarmac was a challenge, but I grabbed a gel and extra water (they were handing out mini bottles at the aid stations) and drank half before squeezing the other half down the back of my neck. Bliss! I did see a LOT of runners by the side of the course with medics, though. It definitely made me more aware of the amount of fluid and fuel I was taking on – luckily, apart from that half mile or so, I felt ok. I definitely needed the extra water, though – and more practise running in the sunshine! (Hint hint, England).

This was actually the first half marathon that I’ve completed without a single walking break – and I got a new PB of 2:22! This was a complete turnaround from Exeter last month, despite the heat, and a real confidence boost. (If I can run 13.1, surely I can run/walk 26.2 .. Right!?) I have no idea where the energy for the sprint finish came from this time round – but I’ll take it!

And I even got my race pictures for free, just by being one of the 100 first people to fill in a Virgin Care survey! Result! It was great fun posing for a photo on the podium, even if I did look like a big sweaty mess!

SHMFinish

All in all, an amazing event! I’ve already signed up for next year – I’d definitely recommend you sign up, too!

Race Review: Surrey Half Marathon 2014

Better late than never, huh?

As you’ve probably gathered from everyone else’s race reports, the Surrey Half was BRILLIANT. Bright sunshine, huge crowds, a well organised start (setting off in waves based on pace groups to avoid overcrowding – it worked!), almost no loo queues, and an amazing course. There were cheerleaders, live bands, kids throwing water at us to cool us down and parents handing out sweets and cups of water in between aid stations, crowds all along the route cheering us along .. and everything was extremely well marked. All the volunteers were smiley and encouraging and wonderful. I loooved it. I think I had a smile on my face for almost the entire thing!

Surrey Half Marathon March 2014 by SussexSportPhotography.com

I especially loved finishing on the track – somehow I managed a sprint finish, overtaking 7 people, which topped off the day perfectly. Looking at the results, I passed 400 people in the second half! Unreal! Bit of a contrast to hobbling over the line at Exeter last month after an entire lap of wanting to quit:

ExeSHM

The only downside was that the course was hillier than I had expected (though I really should have expected it, given I’ve been cycling from Guildford to Woking and back for work for a year – though in my defence, I use another road!) It was tough, especially given the heat, but the views were beautiful and the runners were lovely and friendly, and the supporters made the miles fly by.

Things did get a bit wobbly at half way – and on the big hill at about mile 10 (so cruel!). Running uphill towards the sun on tarmac was a challenge, but I grabbed a gel and extra water (they were handing out mini bottles at the aid stations) and drank half before squeezing the other half down the back of my neck. Bliss! I did see a LOT of runners by the side of the course with medics, though. It definitely made me more aware of the amount of fluid and fuel I was taking on – luckily, apart from that half mile or so, I felt ok. I definitely needed the extra water, though – and more practise running in the sunshine! (Hint hint, England).

This was actually the first half marathon that I’ve completed without a single walking break – and I got a new PB of 2:22! This was a complete turnaround from Exeter last month, despite the heat, and a real confidence boost. (If I can run 13.1, surely I can run/walk 26.2 .. Right!?) I have no idea where the energy for the sprint finish came from this time round – but I’ll take it!

And I even got my race pictures for free, just by being one of the 100 first people to fill in a Virgin Care survey! Result! It was great fun posing for a photo on the podium, even if I did look like a big sweaty mess!

SHMFinish

All in all, an amazing event! I’ve already signed up for next year – I’d definitely recommend you sign up, too!