Thursday, April 02, 2015

Yeovil Half Marathon 2015

Seeing that its 3am on a Wednesday morning and I seem to have a combination of insomnia and constipation. I thought I would put the time to good use and write a blog about Yeovil Half which i have just completed.
The build up to this half marathon has basically taken me through the winter months with a goal in my head to quietly achieve. I haven't really done much half marathon distance and thought it would tie in nicely with the Manchester marathon happening 3 weeks later.
Having run the route several times with my fellow MNR running buddy Charlie Spencer, I was confident I knew it like the back of my hand and for somebody who is directionally challenged and can get lost in a supermarket car park, that's saying something!
I had done this route solo a couple of weeks ago on a nice dry day as part of an 18 miler and ran it in 1:35, so was pretty sure I could better that on the day.
I had been checking the forecast the week before praying for a nice day on race day, not too hot or cold, we got closer I literally couldn't believe what I was reading. Surely these reports must be wrong, but on each weather app it seemed to state the same, sometimes a little worse! They were giving out yellow weather warnings with wind gusts of up to 60mph! I decided not to worry, these things are always wrong...
I read some great advice somewhere about 10 pre race things you should do, one of them was to get a good night sleep on the Friday night before the race. I guess eating a whole packet of cherry flavour clif blok with caffeine with a cup of tea wasn't my best idea. By 1am my heart was running its very own 5k race and I actually thought I was having a mini heart attack.
So I wouldn't advise anyone to use running fuel as a bedtime snack, no matter how peckish you are feeling!
Saturday morning I lept out of bed feeling refreshed and energized, oh no sorry that's what was supposed to have happened! I woke feeling exhausted and sluggish only then to make things worse by loading up on the carbs
breakfast and lunch. I spent as much time on Saturday resting my legs and not doing much and by 8pm was feeling so tired took myself off to bed, hoping for a more restful sleep. The race started at 9am, but the clocks went forward also, so it would mean getting up at an ungodly hour to eat breakfast by 6 am. Paranoid that i may oversleep, I set 3 alarms just incase! But I need not have bothered, Saturday night was equally as stressful and I woke up at about 4am and turned all the alarm clocks off so not to wake the rest of the family.
I ate my trusty porridge, had a coffee and took an immodium. Then waited for Charlie to come and pick me up.
We arrived at the start at around 8:30am, which was actually 7:30am because of the clock change. I felt more tired and nervous than normal, we didn't really warm up, after picking up numbers, having a wee and chatting to people we knew, runners were starting to line up.
I stood near similarly paced runners as me and waited for them to start us off, 3,2,1 go!
It was a fairly fast start and my pace was too quick, I concentrated on slowing it down to what I had agreed with myself. On a good note the weather didn't seem too bad and the wind not too strong!
The first few miles were long downhill stretches and flat, I was a head of schedule half way around and feeling pretty good. I was at the start of Hendford hill, with the 800m climb ahead of me and noticed I was now running into a strong headwind. I focused on getting up the hill steady and was glad to see the drinks station and supporters at the top.
I took a cup of water and tried to take a swig, but only managed to chuck it down my chin instead.
I carried on with the route and picked up my pace, on to the next section which I was dreading. This was the bit around Westlands, very exposed and I knew it would be windy. When I went over the bridge, the wind hit me and it felt like i was being pushed backwards, my pace slowed down alot and the effort just to run along this was so hard, I just dug deep and ran it as best I could. I was starting to feel knackered, the wind took my breath away and my legs felt like they were running through treacle. This is not what I needed at only 8 miles. It seemed to take forever to get past Westlands but the minute we got around the corner, the wind dropped and everything went quiet! It felt like we were suddenly in a different country!
I then headed towards Odcombe, this was the bit I was looking forward to racing, a nice fast flat road section where I could get into my stride, head down and go. Well that wasn't happening, I couldn't seem to find my pace again and my legs felt so heavy, I had been overtaken by 3 women and had slipped back to 7th place, was feeling gutted and wanted to stop and get a lift home. I had well and truly thrown my toys out if the pram.
3 miles left and I just wanted this race over with. I carried on running and got to the last 1.5 miles, I had 7 minutes to get back to the finish in my target time. I needed to grow a set of wings. The wind at this point was behind me but it was a hilly climb and my legs were having none of it. In my visions the night before, I was going to sprint this bit and finish so strong but in reality it was a very slow mile to the finish. I saw the clock, people were clapping and I was so relieved to cross that line. The clock said 1:33:10, 3 minutes over what I had hoped for, but I was just glad now to be finished and my time became insignificant. I waited to see my friend Charlie cross the line and she ended up getting a fab time and won her section. So I was really chuffed for her. YHM was an excellent race and I will be back next year to give it another go. Hopefully in better running conditions , 4 days on and still waiting for the immodium to wear off!! Happy Running MNR.