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.


martin said...

Wow, what an ordeal, Zoe. If you can do that time when everything goes wrong, you'll definitely make your goal next time around.

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