Today’s race started with some mild apprehension on my part as I’ve had niggles with my ITB this past week since I did the Parkrun last Saturday. So was really just hoping to finish without any hobbling or walking today.
So – got up, ate my porridge, stretched ITB out and off I went into the bright sunny outdoors.
Was a very beautiful hot sunny day – perfect for a picnic- not so perfect for running a hilly/undulating half marathon.
The race start area had a great atmosphere going, even a full hour before the
event, as families started to arrive with picnic hampers and blankets and of
course the family dogs came too.
Also was great to see all the various club vests out there today – brilliant turn out by the Horsham lot as this is their ‘local’
Got through the start pretty quickly this year, then realised it was because I was in the 1hr40 block…oops! No wonder I got overtook by what felt like everyone left in the race – within the first 2 miles.
My strategy was to maximise the downhills and what flat areas there might be,
and kick out a good 5-10k pace on those, then just try and keep some movement
going uphills without stopping and walking.
First 7 miles felt great. Even the long gradual never ending hill between 4-5
miles didn’t feel too bad!! Maybe it was to do with my choice of songs that came
on at that point ….Footloose – fab song to run to – followed by ‘The Invisible
Man’ by Queen – which surprisingly had a great strong beat just in time with my
pace….followed by ‘Flash’ by Queen again…..
I think I got a few strange looks as I was really enjoying myself and at one
point realised I was singing along out loud….hmmmm- yes the other runners probably thought I was a bit mad!
So that’s where I hit some trouble…miles 7-10 were the longest hardest miles
I’ve had to run since the Surrey Half back in Feb this year. Legs were like
lead, thighs were burning and I just mentally wanted to stop and just go home.
It was really hot and so I just stopped for about 10 seconds and fluffed down
half my water bottle at around mile 8-9….and I even took water at all water
stations today using some to pour over my burning hot head.
Then…Mile 10 I glanced at time and a quick calculation made me realise I could
get a course PB if I pushed hard to the end. Not easy while still some uphold
but guess what?….on came Footloose and Invisible Man again – woohoo! That got
me up those last few hills
Ambulances came past me twice during the race and I was surprised how many
people were walking in those last 3 miles – haven’t seen that many walkers in
this race before. Good for me though as zoomed past them all (ok ‘zoom’ might be overstating it a little but at least I was running!).
Then there was only 2 miles left and I was just about still on target to get
that course PB and was praying the last mile wasn’t uphill (couldn’t remember
course profile at this point)…….
Then BAM – last mile and yes – it was flat/downhill for most and I felt like I
was flying after what had felt like the last 5 miles of all uphill.
400m to go….200m to go and my watch was just showing 1 minute under previous best….so nothing else for it – I had to try and sprint. Now..to me it felt
like a sprint but in reality was just a little faster than my 10k pace but would
it be enough?????
And about 2 seconds before the end I hear Fiona Frillypants Turton shouting my
name and waving a banner for me – AWESOME!
So there we go – I got a course PB by 30 seconds and if not for those really
tough mentally challenging miles between 7-10 where I stopped 3 times to drink
large amounts of water – I could’ve got maybe a full minute PB.
However – I’ll take that result anytime especially as it was very hot.
The best thing of all was that my ITB didn’t other me once – huge relief!!!
At the end, collected my medal and goody bag and got a telling off by some bloke
with a beard and walking cane for folding my number so race name couldn’t be
seen – oops!! If they didn’t make them so blinking big I wouldn’t have too!
People can’t see my club or name if I plonked that huge bib on my top!!!
Was also quite surprised to see the prize giving going on as I’m usually too slow and it’s all over by time I finish and was even more happy when someone got a prize from our very own HJ group. Ilidia got 2nd lady in her age group
Think she was surprised then she was a little miffed as she stopped to re tie a shoelace and the 1st lady only beat her by 30 seconds….so if she hadn’t had to re-tie that shoelace she would’ve been 1st lady home in her age group. Brilliant
Nice hot cup of tea and a stroll around the stalls afterwards made the perfect end to a brilliant race.
This is still one of my all time favourites races. The scenery is lovely, the marshalls are brilliant, the local support is spot on and the race organisers just know how to do this extremely well. Another huge thumbs up for Barn Green half marathon.
P.S Next year I will be running this in fancy dress, as they give out prizes
Only 5 entered in fancy dress this year so I’ve got to be able to beat 5 people
Ilidia Campbell 1:49:32
Dave English 1:59:20
Lorna Winter 2:20:12