Monday, 17 February 2014

Brighton Half Marathon

What a day! After weeks of gales, storms, floods and hail, Sunday morning was dry, sunny and totally calm. We were so lucky with the weather, and there weren't even any puddles on the course, although you could see some of the damage from the storms, such as knocked over beach huts and washed-up rubbish on the beach.

Pete and the kids were away as it was my father-in-law's birthday lunch, so I had the house to myself the night before and on Sunday. Very relaxing, but this meant I had to catch a train to Brighton as they had taken the car, and take my bag with me. Luckily the organisation was fantastic, and I was able to easily check in my bag and pick it up afterwards with no waiting around or queuing.

Sunny at the bag drop
It was pretty cold when I left the house at 6.50am, and I was well wrapped up with scarf, hat and 2 jackets. After I had checked all this in, I got nice and cold waiting at the startline. I was at the back, as I had planned to run with a friend, and so was in the 2h30+ start area, even though I was hoping to run around 2 hours.

So it took me about 8 minutes to cross the line - not too bad. I think there were about 7000 runners in the end. In parts it was very crowded, especially in the first few miles, but also on narrow parts of the course later on. I did find it quite frustrating whenever I got slowed down, but it might have helped me pace myself.

I hoped to run around 9-min miles, and thought that if I was just under that, I would be happy with my time. My first 2 miles were 9m11s and 9m10s, so I was a bit worried that I might not make it.

However, they turned out to be the slowest 2 miles - probably due to the congestion. From then on I kept looking down and seeing 8m50, 8m45 etc on my watch, and worrying that it was too fast and I would slow down later on...

As the miles went past, I realised that the conditions were so perfect, I had to go for it. There was no wind, which was shocking after the gales we've had almost continuously since before Christmas. I put my mind on auto-pilot and just kept ticking off the miles. It was great.

Although I got tired around mile 10, I felt strong enough to keep the pace steady, and confident that I could keep it up to the end. The spectators were great, making lots of noise and generating a fantastic atmosphere. That's the positive side to these busy city races, I suppose!

Sunny Brighton andSpectators
Anyway, for the last 3 miles I was roasting hot in the sunshine! I was wearing long tights, a long-sleeved top, a jacket and (at the start) gloves - not really appropriate for the weather at the end. Such a change to have sweat dripping down my neck rather than freezing rain!

My last mile was my fastest, in 8m21s, and I finished in a PB of 1h56m31s! I was thrilled! This was 2 minutes, 7 seconds faster than my previous PB, from 2 years ago. I had hoped to run faster this year, but hadn't expected to be ready to go that fast yet.

Chip time is what counts!
It was a lovely day and a great race, and one I'd like to run again. The medal was nice too, one of my favourites:
I must have pushed my legs to their limits though, as they were very tired afterwards, and today I have really struggled with up and down stairs - it's been almost as bad as when I did the marathon! Totally worth it though for the great day and the unexpected PB!

Happy and tired!

5 comments:

  1. What a great job! You should be happy and tired.

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  2. Congratulations Liz. That's so exciting that you could run a PB from the back of the pack. Stay uninjured and I think there'll be a little bit more improvement before the year's over.

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  3. I knew you will do great!! Congrats!!!

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  4. Fantastic! Congratulations! I have always believed in starting out slow if you want a good finish time. Being forced to run a slower first half helped you in the second half for sure. You can be very proud!

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  5. Alright Liz!!! You rocked it with the negative slit! Congratulations!

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