Couch to Half Marathon

I hesitated about which forum to put this on, but when I was doing c25k I always found reading reports from graduates encouraging, so that is why I'm putting it here. Also I've been writing about my HM training on the Quest posts. I'm afraid its very long

( If anyone want more background, my graduation post is here:

healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

This was my first HM, so apprehensive about covers it. It coincided with my 50th birthday and I'd chosen Brighton because of the date and because my daughter lives there. Hubby told me afterwards that he was quite worried at breakfast that I wouldn't manage it, I seemed so freaked out. But I managed some porridge (almost everyone in the Premier Inn Brighton was wearing lycra and eating porridge and/or scrambled egg on toast; BTW having a hotel in walking distance to the start line was definitely a good idea). Took a banana with me too to eat on the start line for luck. We headed down to the start around 8 o'clock and said a quick hello to our daughter who was among the volunteers. Wandered around, ate banana, then it was time to find our start-pens. Hubby is way fitter than me, so was aiming for 2hrs, I was at the back in the 2.5+ pen, but my actual aim was to do it in less than 3.5. Got a bit weepy at that point, as a realised that everyone else seemed to have someone to run with, but concentrated on breathing and tried to enjoy the atmosphere and before i knew it the race started officially.

Our group shuffled forward for quite a while but we started a slow jog about 100m before the official start and we were off.

I was worried about getting pulled along too fast early on, so kept half an eye on my garmin, which I'd set to show current and average pace. We exited the start area at Marine parade and swung right toward the Pavilion and then up to St Peter's. A glance at my garmin showed my pace was fast for me, but one i have previously maintained for 10k (8.30) so I decide to stay with it for now. A fair few of us were running together and I found myself playing cat and mouse with with a fancy-dress duck. Basically, she was a faster runner than me, but kept taking walk breaks (I suspect due to duck costume) so she would run and draw ahead of me, then walk and I would nearly catch her and then she would run again. Gradually she got into her stride (or got the hang of her costume) and drew ahead. One of my worries was dropping behind the sweeper-van, but as we double backed at St Peters and saw it coming up the other way and I realised I was a good 15 minutes ahead of it.

As we took a left onto Marine Parade and started a long steady climb, our group thinned out and it soon felt like i was out for my usual Saturday run. I'd settled to a reasonable pace for me that I was comfortable about maintaining for a long time. At this point the wheelchair racers and elites started passing us going the other way. That was fun. Our group applauded the wheelchairs and elites and then as the faster but not deadly serious runners started passing us they started applauding us and shouting encouragement which was great. Hubby even spotted me and shouted some encouragement. By this time the noise had died down enough that I could hear Laura on the stamina podcast giving me the beat to run to from time to time which really helped. Up Marine Parade was a very long way ! We had our first water station (only 2 miles - miles are a bloodly long way when you're used to kilometers) and we got our water packs. They were good and easy to tuck in a pocket. We kept going up hill, and were passed by a flying paramedic ambulance, passed Roedean and a group of drummers. Started to recognise folk from the start line who had turned before me, including the duck, and finally got to the turn back point.

I'd been looking forward to running downhill, but hadn't realised how windy it was, which meant that I wasn't going any faster downhill than up. Considered a quick loo-stop at the 6 mile mark but there was a queue so decided to keep going. Got to the bottom and again met the finishers - looked for but didn't spot hubby, and headed off towards Hove on the King's road passing the half-way spot.

The stretch from 10km to the turn back point at Hove was a long slog to be honest. We were fairly strung out by that point, but the marshals kept shouting encouragment - though as I neared Hove I got a couple of "you still feeling OK" from the first aiders - dunno if I looked rough or if they were just checking everyone. Was very surprised at this point to pass the duck. The girl in front of me was slowing down a lot, and i eventually drew level and we exchanged pleasantries as we arrived at the turn back point. Tried some lucozade (yukkk) had more water and dates and turned towards the finish - agreeing with other runners that "its only a parkrun to go". Jogged along in front of the beach huts getting given sweeties by a wee boy. Realised that i was starting to pass folk who were walking, but kept going at my slow jog. Got to the end of the seafront and was directed back onto the road by the marshals. At that point I spotted my son, who jogged along beside me for a couple of minutes which was nice, and then suddenly there I was jogging down the finish. The advantage of finishing at the back on your own is you get a huge amount of applause, high-5s etc from spectators (many other runners in their medals and space blankets) and you get "called in" by the commentator which was lovely. I got my medal and space blanket from a nice young man, and then there was my daughter hugging me and giving me water and chocolate raisins which was pretty special. I then walked up the finish area collecting stuff and waited for daughter.

The duck came in around 10 minutes behind me, and also the girl I'd spoke to at Hove and a few other folk I recognised so there was much mutual congratulating. we then went back to the hotel and discovered that hubby had done it in 2:17 but where I felt fine after a cup of tea and some chocolate raisins he was hurting (had over cooked it a bit trying for 2hrs IMO). But after a rest and a stretch he was good to go and we proceeded to Wahaca to eat a large amount of food and enjoy some hibiscous gin !

All in all a fab day !

Oops - edited to add; chip time 3hrs 21 - 10 minutes inside my 3hrs30 target ! I was 8019th finisher !

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14 Replies

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  • Congratulations! Sounds like an amazing day and a great fanfare over the finishing line. I had a huge smile on my face just reading about it. The gin was well deserved ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

  • Actually at the last water station someone said something about gin and we thought that gin at the finish line would have been a good thing.

  • Definitely the right place to share this and for anyone else, well worth reading or re-reading the graduation post to put it into even more impressive context.

    Bet you were glad to have beaten that duck!

  • Yay!!!! Good job! Well done and many back slaps. YOU DID IT! We knew you could of course. Fancy your husband having doubts. What's he like. I had to laugh at all the folks in the hotel snaffling porridge. I'm glad it's not just me that lives on the stuff. Yes, I think it must be a boon walking out of the hotel to the start line. I hate the "getting there", which is why I like local. Basically I'm idle. Such less stress too if you can virtually roll out of bed, into breakfast cooked by someone else and tumble onto the street. Well, not literally but you get my drift

    From the sound of it you really nailed it!

    So, when's the next one?

    I'd wait a week or so at least

    Only joking!

  • As I ran out towards Hove I was thinking "never ever again" it felt like SUCH a long way. But by mid afternoon I was thinking well, one a year - in Spring, somewhere pretty just to give me a target to train to.

  • Dunno about you but on the last one I did I really flagged at 19 to 20 k mark At the finish though they funnelled folks into single file but I managed to pass another runner. I was like a woman possessed.

  • What a great report! Sounds like a fantastic race, and a brilliant time. Well done :)

  • Thank you so much for posting this - what a lovely write up and HUGE congratulations! You did it! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฅ‡๐ŸŽ‰ I have also been on that same journey and at 51, am running in the BathHalf in two weeks time! Wow! If we only knew when we stepped out tentatively for those week 1 runs where this journey would take us....gosh! I think I would have laughed or maybe been very afraid! Rest up well - both you and your husband!๐Ÿ™‚

  • That's a brilliant read! So well done to you for an amazing journey. Be proud ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  • Oh this is just brilliant ! What a great read , really enjoyed reading that !

    I could feel myself willing you on over the finishing line !

    You should be so so proud of yourself . HM distance is a LONG way . I did my first HM last year and burst into tears of joy and relief when I got over the finishing line :-)

    I have entered 2 more this year Ha ha ! :-)

    Massive Congratulations to you and hubby ! :-) xxx

  • Brilliant read, congratulations. I'm with you on how long the miles seem - have switched to tracking miles in my training runs for that very reason.

  • Wow.... Wow. Great race report. Congratulations.

  • Great write-up. And a great source of inspiration for us "relative" newbies. Makes me want to run a half-marathon. But it's too early yet!

  • Fantastic report, but an even better achievement! Well done, and huge congratulations ๐Ÿ˜€

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