Yesterday I ran the Bath Half Marathon. I was excited/nervous before starting.
Was I going to be able to finish? How much was it going to hurt? Could I push myself?
I started the day with an energy breakfast of porridge; made with almond milk; with some natural yogurt honey and almonds on top. Orange juice with a bowl of bananas and blueberries.
I made the way to the station as I was getting the train to Bath with 2 friends and meeting my friend who I was running with there. Unfortunately due to my mum being ill, her and my dad couldn't make it:( I knew this was going to make it harder not having so many people dotted around the course to support me.
I got to the running village, it was bloody freezing! I'd brought an old hoody with me to ditch at the start line thankfully. I went to the charity tent to see the Meningitis Research Foundation who told me they had chocolate bars waiting for me afterwards!! YUM!
Waiting to start always seems like a lifetime...you just want to get going and the minutes seem to drag by. My friend and her dad who I was running it with agreed that we would all start together but if I wanted to go on then I should. I was worried about this, I knew I'd hit a pain barrier at some point and if I was on my own would I be able to push myself?
At around the 1 mile marker I went off ahead. I was careful not to start off too strong and suffer later. I felt in good shape and it was a nice course. It was a 2 lap route which worried me, after I'd done it once I knew I'd have to do it all again!! And after the first hill that concerned me - but I didn't stop. My legs were feeling good and I was feeling strong. At mile 4 the elite runners lapped us - they really do run fast!!
At the 10k marker there was a clock - it said 1:02. I knew I must have been doing well for time; but I didn't know how long it took me to cross the start line. That gave me a boost though. I really wanted to beat my 2:19 time and at this pace I could. I just knew there was a pain barrier to come.
Lap one done and I was heading back up the hill - it hurt - I had to walk for a little bit to catch my breathe, only for a minute or 2 then I was off again. It was around the 8 mile point and I heard " Go Elle" it was my wonderful friends who'd stood out in the cold to support me! Just the boost I needed. That kept me going for the next couple of miles. Miles 8-10 sort of went by with a blur. Then the pain barrier came, I needed to push myself. I grabbed a lucozade from the stand at the side of the road for a boost and a lady said we're nearly there now and we ran together for the next mile and a half. Mile 11 - 12 I knew was always going to be the hardest. And boy it was. And pushing myself I found difficult. There was times I wanted to cry, but I pushed through. The crowds were starting to pick up the closer to the finish I was getting. It is so true what they say the crowd really does carry you the last mile. Mile 12 and my legs were in pieces I knew I didn't have far to go I could do it. It must have been about mile 12.5 and I honestly thought my legs were going to give up on me. Then a guy to my right tapped me on the shoulder and said we're nearly at the finish lets do this, and we ran to the finish together. Bless him, there really are some lovely people out there!
The clock said 2:16. I'd beaten 2:19 by a good few minutes. I was in agony & so emotional! I rang my mum to tell her and was almost in tears I was so proud. Rang my friends to meet them back at the big boob coppafeel tent! Grabbed my medal and a photo and went back to have my photo taken by the Meningitis Research Foundation & got a well deserved mars bar. I ate 2 chocolate bars within about 10 minutes of finishing.
We waited around a bit for my friend and her dad to finish, got some photos and then headed off for some food! We walked / hobbled around Bath for a bit before deciding everywhere had a ridiculously long wait on food so we got the train back to Bristol and went to Coal.
Whilst we were there I checked my official time. 2:10:22. I could have cried & just wanted to shout it from the roof tops. I was so damn proud of myself!
My legs are in pieces today and I ache in places I didn't even know possible. But it's given me some food for thought. I have signed up for 2 more half marathons so far this year. The Great North Run in September & Cardiff Half in October. Could I possibly run a sub 2 hour by the end of the year? I'm going to give it a damn good go!!! Watch this space!!
A massive thank you to you all for your tweets, facebook messages, texts and phonecalls wishing me good luck. And to all of you that have sponsored, Thank you. The Meningitis Research Foundation is a cause close to my heart and such a worthy cause. There is still time to sponsor if you want to over at my just giving page here. Thinking about them really did keep me going; I didn't want to let you guys down!
Here are some photo's from the day:)