First Half Marathon!

Yesterday was my first half-marathon, run by the British Heart Foundation and taking place on the Duke of Marlborough's estate, Blenheim Palace.

Have to say, I was really really nervous about this, having never run a full 21.1K before. I tried to keep expectations low -- main goal was just to finish. If possible, try to come in at under 2 hours.

Ended up meeting both goals, crossing the finish line at 1:58.

Wowza! What a rush!

It wasn't that long ago that running for 60 seconds made me feel like I was going to die. Now I can run for 120 times as long -- and faster, too!

Many thanks to Laura, the NHS, and whoever came up with Couch-to-5K. I'm a bloke in his late 30s who had never run in his life until starting this programme.


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55 Replies

  • Well done there! I did the 10k there yesterday. Hope I didn't get in your way!!!!

  • Wow, fantastico!!!!! I am going through this at the moment as like you I'm training for my first half marathon at the end of October. I'm 56, and worried. Still, you do what you can don't you.

    Your post has given me confidence to think that with the training I'll pull it off as you have. Well done for hanging in there!

    Well done to Beth as well. Great stuff. Blenheim too. Fab-u-lous!

  • You can do it, Misswobble!

    I was really nervous about doing a half marathon, too, so I know what you're likely thinking. I didn't even sleep well the night before!

    The best advice that I received whilst training was to focus on _finishing_ and ignore the time. For one's first half marathon, don't worry about the clock -- just get to the finish line. You can concentrate on getting PBs later on.

    I was only partially successful in following this advice, but it did help. There were times when I consciously slowed myself down yesterday. It would have been tempting to push on and try for a time of 1:55 (or better!)... but I probably would have hit the wall and limped across the finish line at well over two hours if I had tried it. Slowing down deliberately isn't something that comes naturally to me, but it really made a difference in going the distance!

    Will be cheering you on from here at the end of the month. Best of luck!!

  • hi misswobble. just wondered, where r you doing your half marathon? i'm doing Leicester Half on Oct 26th...

  • Ha! No, definitely not "in my way" in any way. I thought there was a great atmosphere, with folks passing politely and no negativity.

    Well done you with the 10K! Are you another Oxford runner, then?

  • Thanks. Yes I thought atmosphere was good too. Great weather, thank goodness it wasn't like today! We live in Banbury so not too far away.

  • Agree completely! I was driving in to work this morning and thinking how miserable two hours of running in this rain would have been!

    (To be honest, I'm not sure I would have done it. The weather may have dampened my enthusiasm...)

    Banbury, gotcha. Do y'all have a ParkRun up there? If not, do you ever come down to Oxford for one? I'm interested in meeting more local runners -- particularly C-to-5K grads -- as I only know a couple. If there are enough of us, maybe organise a meetup. With a 5K run, of course! :-D

  • Incredible achievement IronMatt. Bloomin' well done and hats off to yer!

  • Thank you! It's amazing what we are capable of, isn't it? Especially starting from the "couch", which I most definitely was!

  • That's amazing! Very impressed.

  • Aw, thank you! I'm rather pleased myself... mainly because it wasn't too long ago that I never would have even dreamed something like this was possible. All us grads really have something to be proud of!

  • Congratulations IronMatt!! and in a fantastic time too!

    I ran my first 10K at Blenheim yesterday, what a lovely course it was, really scenic and not as hilly as I was expecting.

    The HM runners were striding past me like gazelles on stilts!

    Great to see such a massive range of runners there too, must have been a few c25k'ers I heard one women commenting that a couple of months ago she couldn't run the distance between two lamp posts, and she was running the 10K!

    Oxford Town and Gown next..!!!

    Top job :D

  • Oooh, congratulations to you, too! :-D

    Blenheim really is a lovely place for a run. I ran my first 10K there last year.

    Are you another Oxford runner, then? I'm interested in getting some of us local C-to-5K grads together for a meetup (and a run, of course!). I don't know too many local runners and, truth be told, most of my friends are probably getting tired of hearing me talk about running by now! ;-D

  • Thanks!

    Yes local to Oxford, I have been meaning to join the Cutteslowe park run too, as I'm signed up to that as a 'member of the c25k' running group but haven't been yet.

    I have friends who are runners, but they don't live locally.

    Are you going in for any more runs now you've done the half?

  • The park run at Cutteslowe is fun. I've done it a few times - actually, it was my very first "real" race (i.e., timed by somebody who wasn't me!) when I finished C-to-5K. Mainly wanted to not be last... and I barely made it! :-D My first was a 34:44 5K, shortly after finishing Week 9.

    These days, I actually find the park run to be pretty challenging. Since we can do longer runs now, I push for speed on a 5K. Current PB is 23:44, which is a big improvement over where I started! :-D

    I'm registered as a C-to-5K runner with Park Run, also. Maybe we could meet there some Saturday morning? Put up a good showing for us C-to-5K folks? :-D I'm off to the States tomorrow for three weeks, but sometime in November could work nicely.

  • Wow that is fantastic!! 21k sounds so blooming far! Having only run my first 5k yesterday, I can't imagine running 4 x that. Congrats :0)

  • Aw, thanks! And congratulations to YOU on running your first 5K! That's a huge achievement!

    To be honest, I think that Week One was still the biggest challenge for me. Yes, it is only eight 60 second runs... but I felt like I was going to die before the minute ran out! Yesterday's half-marathon was probably the second biggest challenge, but nothing was as difficult as just getting started.

  • Yes, that sounds good. BethC are you also in the Oxford Park Run?

    I'll have to get down there soon! My pb for the 5k is just over 31m now. But it varies between that and 34m on average. I've only just started doing longer runs since August.

    Sounds like you've made great progress since you graduated, 23:44 is really impressive! :D

  • Yes, that would be great if you and me and BethC all came out. Then maybe a hot drink afterward to celebrate! :-D

    Good luck with the timing. Just getting to 5K is an accomplishment... but I remember feeling a special sort of thrill when I was finally able to do 5K in 30 minutes! You'll get there!

  • Wow!!! That is an amazingly good time for a first HM. Well done you! Colour me impressed!!

  • *big smiles* Thank you!! Truth be told, all of us C-to-5K grads are impressive! If you have told me a couple of years ago that I would someday run a half marathon, I never would have believed it! Now? I'm planning to do a couple more... then train up for a full one in 2015 or 2016! :-D

    So, yeah, go all of us!

  • Thanks Matt, I will be aiming to finish without bothering with the clock. I ran without the clock yesterday and had a really good run, although slower than the one before, but that was horrible!

  • Good luck! (And remember: Since this is your first one, ANY final time will be a PB! :-) )

  • Wow, IronMatt! Long time, no see! And what a return to the HU site!

    Very many congratulations on your first HM and in a brilliant time, too!

  • Thanks... and congratulations to you, too! I see you've recently completed your first FULL marathon! *applauds*

    If I recall, you and I were about the same "class" of Couch-to-5K, doing the plan in Summer/Autumn 2012. Like you, I did my first 5K in 2012 and my first 10K in 2013. But I only inched up to a half-marathon for 2014. I'd like to do a couple more, then start training for the real deal sometime next year. :-D

  • The full marathon - well it had to be done, even though I'd originally told myself I wasn't going to run a full marathon until I'd ran a HM in under 2 hours. I've run 3 HMs, but am still 3 minutes over the 2 hour mark.

  • Wow -- my hat's off to you! This was my first!

    I'd like to do a few more, now that I know I can actually do it. Consolidate a bit, improve my PB before moving on.

    Maybe after the new year, I'll start training for a full marathon. Sometime in 2015 would be amazing!

    But, yeah, go you!! :-D

  • Swanscot (Sheila) mentioned you were back Matt! Great to hear from you with such an achievement! A lot of us from the 2012 graduation class are on FB and still keep in touch and of course still run! That was a good year that was!! :) Well done on the HM and great time! Sue

  • :-D Great to see so many of the "Class of 2012" still here! And happy to hear that you're still running.

    Alas, I am one of the seven people left in the known universe not on FaceBook... and am still adverse to joining the Zuckerberg Empire! ;-D But you're quite right -- that was a good year!

    Thanks for the kind words on the HM. I felt I had been stagnating at 10 - 12K for so long and needed a new challenge to keep it interesting, y'know? Really impressed that Shiela's gone and done a full one! Maybe next year? *grin*

  • What a fantastic achievement, Matt - well done! It's great that you have progressed from that first 60-seconds-I'm-gonna-die run to a HM - what an inspiration! And not only that, but a fantastic time as well, meeting both your goals. What a day :)

  • Aw, thanks! It's so great to see so many awesome faces here! :-D I still get the daily update in my InBox, but I've not popped my head in for soooooo long, because it feels like it's mostly the "new kids" and so us former classes should give them their space.

    Wow, we all really have come a long way from the "couch" mode of "let this minute end before I die", haven't we? I'll never forget what Week One was like, though. Huffing and puffing at sloooooow speeds, and only running at night because I was too self-conscious of my 15.5 stone obese bulk (BMI of 35) trundling down the streets. Ah, we've all come so far since then! *big smiles*

  • Wow thats an amazing achievement well done. Would you be interested at all in filling out an online survey about your experiences? I am a PhD researcher evaluating the app. The link is

    No worries if not. Thanks for your time.

  • Happy to do so! I'll go fill it out now... :-D

  • Ah wicked thanks so much. I think you will have an interesting story to tell and well done on the half. Thats an amazing achievement and sub 2hours! Awesome time for a first!

  • Aw, thank you! I've just finished filling our your survey. I've agreed to be contacted for further research, if it will help, too. I started C-to-5K in Aug 2012 and finished in Oct 2012. (After a couple of "false starts" in Jan 2012 and Jun 2012) So I may not be good for info on current participants... but more of a "two years later" story! :-D

  • That would actually be great. All info past and present helps shape the research. I will definitely be in touch but maybe after Xmas. Thanks so much. Looking forward to hearing your story.

  • Sounds good! Have an awesome Autumn, and speak to you in the new year!

  • Wow, wow Matt that's absolutely brilliant. What an achievement. Your excitement bounces off your post. And look at your tags! Nothing nervous about your heart!

  • *grin* Thank you! It is pretty exciting, isn't it? Doing something that you would have once thought absolutely impossible! :-D

    Also, thanks for pointing out the tags. I nearly fell over laughing when I saw them. I _so_ did not write those! The system must have picked them out from keywords in the post? *giggle*

  • Very well done Matt good to hear you are still out there pounding the pavements :) So which marathon do you have your eyes set on for next year!?! ;) Congratulations, wonderful time too.

  • Wow! The gang's all here! :-D I've missed y'all! Class of 2012 forever! *giggle*

    Thanks much. It was great to reach that milestone... and even sweeter to share it with the rest of the class. We all struggled together to get away from that couch! (All we need now is Janda and Rollertoaster, don't we?)

    Haven't actually picked a marathon for next year yet. I'd like to get a couple more "halfs" under my belt first. Maybe something next October? October seems a good month for me in running! ;-D

    Great to see you again! Still running, I hope?

  • October next year sounds good Matt, weather is cooler and a long summer to get the training in :)

    No I'm not running just now, been on the injury bench for 8 months with PF. Have tried a few times thinking it was all sorted just for it to come back with a vengeance. I've got the hospital on 16th so I'm hoping they have a magic cure although my doc when he checked my foot the last time seemed to think it may need surgery - gulp :( If that's what has to happen I can't see me ever get back to running, I'm just too old to pick up the pieces yet again, time will tell.

    All the best Matt and keep on doing what you are doing, its working well for you, wonderful time, but I remember you always were a speedy character ;)

  • Oh, wow. I'm really sorry to hear it. I'll be keeping fingers crossed for you on the 16th and hoping that magic cure comes through. I'd love to read about you pounding the pavement again! Good luck!!

  • Hello, I'm here! :) great to see you again, and so glad you're still running. Coincidentally I was only thinking of you recently. Sheila's been spreading the word that you posted, so popped on to say hi :). I'm planning on doing that half sometime, I did the ox5 run there in April, so appreciate the scenery. Well done on an amazing time too. I've now done 2 halves, oxford last year and silverstone this spring, but I'm on the couch for now as I'm pregnant! Due in jan, so it's been a while since I ran, looking forward to starting out with Laura again next year. X

  • Congratulations RT.

  • Thanks Annie! :) x

  • Well hello, hello! Looks like EVERYONE is here today -- awesome!

    Great to see you again, too... and CONGRATULATIONS on the big news! :-D

    Also, kudos for getting in two HMs so far. I've been lingering at the 10K level for a long time, and finally decided I had consolidated enough and it was time to take things up a notch. Glad I did, as it made running much more interesting once again!

    Y'know, I think you are STILL the only C-to-5K'er that I've seen in person (even if we never actually met... or knew it at the time!). We really need to have a "Class of 2012" reunion face-to-face. Especially after so many online chats! But perhaps that can wait until after January -- as you clearly have more important concerns!

  • You should get yourself on fb Matthew, all the 2012 posse chat on there. :) . There are meet ups happening, in march (was it) tjflute kindly hosted a lovely gathering and a few weeks ago there was a meet up at the Richmond half / 10k. there is now talk of the Edinburgh marathon as many of us didn't get into London, so some have applied to that. Ooh also, a few have agreed to join the oxford half next October. I'm aiming for that as I should have time to come back from couch to 13.1 in 9 months. Should give me a kick up the *** to get shifting the baby weight

  • Well done Matt and brilliant time. We were doing c25k at the same time: my first 10k last year and a HM in September this year and that's where we part company :-) . I'm not as quick as you and have no intention of going the full M distance! Although October seems far enough away and the weather would suit me........... No, no I'm not going down that route, am I?

    Sorry to hear what you are going through OG. I hope things work out for you. I still smile at your post way back when you were on holiday and ran up the many steps from beach to hotel. Your husband overheard the comment that you were either very fit - or dying for the loo! It was the first one :-)

  • No need to decide about the full marathon yet! Plenty of time til next year! ;-D

    Actually, I know that some folks in our Couch-to-5K "class" did half-marathons a year ago -- or more! Janda did, I think. Rollertoaster, too.

    I'm not actually intent on rushing my way forward. I like to set a goal, reach it, and then consolidate. Which is why it took me a year to go from 5K to my first 10K race, then another year to go to my first HM. So I'd like to do a few more HMs and get my time a bit lower. Maybe aim to reach 1:55... or even 1:50. Once I've got that down, then I can think about going the full distance! :-D

    One question: Your last paragraph made no sense to me, I'm afraid. I'm happy to say that I'm not going through anything particular rough right now (thank goodness!). Nor do I have a husband. Or if I do, it's a surprise to me... and to my long term unmarried partner of 20 years. I think she would be as shocked as me! *wink*

  • I'd hate to get you into trouble, letting your secrets out! Haha

    Sorry for the confusion I was just typing out a reply to you and then to Old Girld (OG) but put on the same post instead of separately. Age is catching up on me!

  • Ha! Okay, I gotcha now. Thanks for explaining. Guess I'm just having a dense day! :-D

  • That is fantastic and such a great time must be so chuffed, well done :)

  • :-D Thanks! And, yes, I've been rather chuffed indeed for the past day and a half.

    Now that I can do it, I think long runs are going to have to become part of the weekly routine. I suspect you would know all about that, wouldn't you? I just perused your own blog and I see such impressive accomplishments as a Bristol-to-Bath run. Wowza!

  • Hi Niknok

    I'm running my half marathon in Worksop, same day as yours!

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