The Southend Half Marathon

The Southend half marathon

Well the day had finally arrived. I’d been building up to this for a while now. Yesterday’s short easy run with Rob had relieved a little nervous energy and I felt relatively relaxed.

Although like most race days I was eager to leave and head to the race venue in good time. I didn’t want to leave it too late incase we got caught up in traffic or delayed somehow. I’d been training for this day and missing it or arriving late was not an option.

The Weston clan with Rob in tow headed off, we were due to meet up with Crispy and his clan before the race. Turned out he was as keen as me to get there and arrived some 20 minutes before we did.

The race atmosphere

We got there and parked up. Hundreds of people were already milling about. Some spectators but the majority were runners. All adorned with their individual race numbers, all either warming up, stretching or gentle jogging.

The atmosphere was buzzing. Me and Crispy kissed our respective loved ones farewell, got a pat on the back and words of encouragement from Rob, and headed on the direction of the start/ finish line.

We did our stretches and warmed up. Although we were already pretty warm: the forecast had been cloudy with some rain showers today yet the skies were blue and temperature was already rising. I hoped the heat wouldn’t have too much of an affect on us. We just needed to be sensible and run at a steady pace.

On your marks

Crispy and I huddled in amongst the other runners, everyone chatting or doing last minute stretches. The start time was 10:00am. We had a few minutes to go.

I was pretty much relaxed. I’d been in couple of races before, Crispy hadn’t though and I wondered how he was feeling.

The klaxon sounded on the stroke of 10:00 and everyone bottle necked to get under the inflatable start. It took us a couple of minutes to get through, as we crossed the line (which then activated our chip strapped to our ankle) I caught a glimpse of Wifey Rob and the boys to my left all waving and cheering. Today I would do them proud.

My targets for today’s race were a) finish in the top half and b) finish in under 2 hours. Crispy and I thought we could finish around 1h 50m mark but we hadn’t banked on such warm weather.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

We started well, and the first couple of miles took us through a bit of a residential area before dropping down onto Shoebury front and heading towards Southend. We were to complete two laps up to the Sealife centre and back and them back up to the park where we started.

Between miles 2 and 3 people around us were already dropping off. It was very warm. I was a little concerned, we were running around 8m30s miles and I think we should of slowed a little. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Thankfully there were plenty of water and sponge stations but I was carrying my own bottle filled with water. I didn’t need water stations. I am a fool. Still people were dropping out. Still the temperature rose.

Mile 8 was my nemesis. We’d completed one loop and were a third through the second. I was busting for a wee. I felt dizzy and sick and my legs felt like jelly. I told Crispy that I may have to stop and for him to keep going. I didn’t want to hold him up.

I took water at the next station, followed it with some segments of orange a spectator was handing out, an energy gel I had with me and a jelly baby that another spectator was handing out. Before I reached mile 9 I was right as rain and re charged. I took water at every station from then in.

I felt good but I’d lost Crispy. I kept glancing over my shoulder trying to find him. I wasn’t sure if he was ok? Or if he’d stopped or what!? Just after mile 10 we all turned left and ran up a short hill. Turn right at the top and through residential area. My legs feel like lead. I stopped at a water station and looked out for Crispy as I caught my breath. No sign of him.

I carried on.

Crossing the line

I ran slowly on. The crowds cheering and clapping was great encouragement. We turned onto some parkland and ran along the sea wall. I stopped again. We were less than a mile from the finish line and I had intended on crossing the line with Crispy, yet I couldn’t see him anywhere.

I had to carry on without him, I ran as hard and as I could to get to the line, my legs were heavy, and my heart was pounding inside my chest. Wifey, Rob and the boys were all at the line cheering and clapping, I crossed the line and pressed stop on the GPS. 

I fell into the line of people collecting bottles of water and a finishers medal, continually looking out for Crispy. There he was coming in through the line behind me, looking a little dazed and knackered but he’d finished! I was both relieved and pleased for him!

We’d completed the Southend half marathon, I was very pleased, I crossed the line in around 1h 58 minutes (could of been quicker) and position 716 out of 1493.

Here is the very hot half marathon info!

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Saturday 9th June 2012 – Short run day before race

The Southend Half Marathon

Tomorrow I will be taking part in the Southend Half Marathon. I’m very much looking forward to it. I have completed 13 plus miles on numerous occasions so in theory I should do OK, but then again…the best laid plans and all that!!

My friend Rob arrived yesterday, he was due to run the race with me, along with Crispy, but due to an injury he has had to pull out, that hasn’t stopped him coming down and showing some support, a very typical selfless gesture of Rob to travel 180 miles to cheer a mate on!!

Although Rob had an injury and had hardly been out for a run over the past several weeks, we had arranged to go out for a short run day before race.

A steady 5K

Seeing as Rob hadn’t run for a while and I didn’t want to waste too much energy we just went out for a simple, steady 5K run, no hills, no pressure, no messing about, just a nice gentle run.

And to be honest it was really nice not to be competing with myself, not to be checking the watch all the time for pace, we settled at around the 9:00 min mile pace and chatted and joked our way around the route.

Getting something from it

Rob was happy with the run, he didn’t have any niggles and had managed to get through it unscathed, I had relieved a bit of tension and nervous energy that had been building up, and felt pretty good and relaxed now about the big one tomorrow!

Here’s the run!

Monday 7th May 2012 – Silence is golden

A gentle run

I had the whole day to myself today, initially I had planned to go out and run. To run wherever my legs took me and for as long as I could, perhaps I could of completed between 18 and 20 miles today. This was not going to happen.

My aim was to eke out a gentle 5k. I probably should have rested totally today but I had to run. If I don’t get out for run I feel agitated and narky, I get the same feeling when I’m hungry lol.

I’d ran over 20 miles the past two days, so over doing it today wouldn’t be a great idea. Plus my Virtual Running Partner, Rob Cameron (my mate and trainer / adviser who I am running the 2012 Amsterdam Marathon with) advised me not to run at all considering the last two days running distances.

He’s the boss!!

Silence is golden

Sometimes I am such an idiot.

I should of covered the blisters with some form of protection. I clean forgot. By the time I was half a mile up the road my right foot was throbbing, I should of stopped and turned around and walked the half mile back home, but no, clever me kept on going.

The numbness kicked in after a mile or so.

And besides I had other things to distract me, like my breathing and my footsteps. I could hear them clear as a bell. This may not sound odd to you, but it was quite new to me. I was out running without music. Without my iPhone. The iPhone was being repaired (cracked casing – common fault apparently).

This was probably a good thing, as the forth coming 10 mile race in 2 weeks in Great Baddow was a street race, and due to health and safety rules, iPods or other forms of music players with ear phones were not allowed. So to get out and run a few miles without music was all good preparation for that.

It was a little odd at first without the music, but what I really missed was not hearing the running app announce my pace and distance at each mile interval. I had to manually update my workout on the laptop when I got back, thankfully I’d worn a stopwatch to record my time.

A good time

I completed the 3.5 miles in about half an hour, my blisters were a mess again. I’m not going to run for a couple of days now. They need to heal a bit before I try to wreck them again.

Here’s the run.

Saturday 5th May 2012 – Half marathon training

Bank Holiday weekend

It’s May Bank Holiday weekend, I have a couple of runs planned for this weekend. Looking back at my stats for April it is quite evident that I need to get some runs under my belt if I am to have any chance of finishing the Southend Half Marathon next month.

To be fair, I have ran in excess of 13 miles on numerous occasions, and completing the course shouldn’t really be a problem, but you know what they say…’practice makes perfect!’ and I intend on practicing quite a bit.

Half Marathon training

This morning’s plan was to get out and run 10 – 15 miles at a steady pace. I didn’t want to do anything silly, especially seeing as I had a 10 miler planned for tomorrow with my mate Crispy.

Looking out of the window it was evident that the recent rain wasn’t about to cease at any time too soon, judging by the clouds in the sky and the puddles on the ground, although it wasn’t raining at the moment, I hoped we may get a drop during the run, it’s always quite refreshing to feel the rain on your skin when running.

I headed out, setting off for the usual back route around the village and then down into Chelmsford. At four miles everything was good, I was running about an 8m 40s mile.

At mile six I felt a little burning sensation on the underside of the arch of my right foot, it got hotter with each mile and I could feel the hot spot spreading. At mile 8 there was s familiar burning sensation beginning to bubble on the arch of my left foot. Bloody typical.

I had no choice but to keep on going. After a couple of miles the pain became, well, pretty much bearable. God knows what the blisters looked like, I felt the one on my right foot pop at one stage, the warm watery mess oozing out into my sock.

No pain no gain

The final 5 miles of the 12.5 mile run were probably slower than I would of liked, I was pleased to pass the 10 mile point with a good couple of miles to go. My legs were beginning to feel it, I’d run a couple of miles quite tentatively when I felt the blisters coming, this affected my stride and my pace a little, I just knuckled down and pushed on.

The 12.5 miles took me 1 hour 52 minutes, not exactly speedy gonzales, but a respectable time none-the-less.

Once home, I stretched and warmed down, and then inspected my burning feet…what a mess! I hoped they would be OK for tomorrow.

Here’s the blister festooned run!