Well the day was finally here. The Robin Hood Half Marathon 2017. Since my last post here, training has been up and down – more down than up really. I managed to get up to 8.5 miles in training, but then in the last month have only ran 2 miles. I had a pain in my groin and hip which was very painful so I had to rest it.
Eddie and I had a wedding the day before (Eddie was the Best Man) and even dancing was uncomfortable, it also meant I had a late night – hardly the best prep for running further than I ever had in my entire life.
My running career started about 3 years ago – I have never been sporty even as a child. I Irish danced for a short while and played netball a bit, but that was all when I was very young. Last year was my best so far – I had got slightly quicker, still not fast but I achieved sub 30 min 5k and was able to run 5 miles on running club nights without any problems. Cross country was my favourite and I was getting stronger. I started training for a half marathon but damaged the ligaments around my ankle so that was that. After lots of physio and ultra sound treatment, it wasn’t until the end of May that I was given the go ahead to run again.
Preparation for the Robin Hood Half Marathon
I started following a couch to half marathon plan. If you google it there are loads of plans out there but here is the one I decided to follow.
It starts with lots of walking/run walking, and I followed it for the most part up to about week 8-10. I ran to work which was 7 miles, and one weekend ran 8.5 miles. Then I went to a jog club and had a terrible run. 4.8 miles and my legs were sore, I didn’t know if it was my hip, my groin or my thighs. All I knew was I couldn’t run. Then after a week I tried again, and I got to 4 miles but I was in agony. I waited another couple of weeks and tried again and only managed 2 miles. At this point I decided I would have no choice but to rest until the half marathon. I knew I wasn’t at the right fitness level, but there was little I could do at this stage.
The big day
Right up until the morning of the race I wasn’t sure that I would be able to run or finish the run. I expected to start and perhaps get to 2 miles and end up limping to the start. I dosed up on coffee and ibuprofen, did some dynamic stretching and hoped for the best.
As we were waiting I felt sick. As we did corporate challenge entry, we had to start in the red zone which was for a lot faster pace than I could run at, so I was petrified I was going to get stamped on. There were some lovely people in the zone who were reassuring, and it was nice to have Eddie and Ewan there supporting, but I was sooooo nervous!
Start of the Robin Hood Half Marathon
The start was a walk jog until we got through the start line itself. I ran and actually felt ok. The atmosphere was unbelievable, so many people cheering you on. At no point did I think about not finishing. I knew as long as I got to half way I could finish even if it meant walking. Even before the race I decided that I would walk through “The Park” which is a steep bit of the run. I knew if I ran it I would either hurt my legs or just zap my energy so I just didn’t think it was worth it.
Once passed that bit I ran fairly steadily to Wollaton Hall (which was the backdrop for Wayne Manor in Batman). I saw my sister and her husband and some other members from Ilkeston Running club and it really chivvied me along. Running up that hill felt good – I was with the 2 hr 20 pacer and felt like I could totally do it.
The middle bit
Mile 7 was the first turning point. My calves started to cramp up, not severely but I was scared to move suddenly. A lovely lady stopped and showed me a couple of stretches, she also said to take on lots of fluid at the next drinks station. I carried on and it eased a little, I followed the advice and took on fluids, both water and Lucozade. Mick and Phil kept me going. He was an experienced runner/jogger who was pushing a wheelchair. If ever I started to walk he pushed me and told me to keep going. The marshals helped too, some of them were from Shipley Park Run which I marshal with my son. So nice to recognise friendly faces.
The end bit
From about 10 miles I was tired – really tired. I knew I would be jogging and walking from here on. There was only a park run to go, I was still managing ok, but the cramp was getting worse. Going past the train station messed with my head as it said 1 mile – it was actually for the run out and there was really 2 miles to go.
By mile 12 the cramp was getting worse and worse. I was trying to rub my calves and stretch but nothing was helping. Finally I reached the embankment – by now the cramp was awful. A St Johns Ambulance just shouted not to stop and keep going. Loads of people had collapsed near me, but I was trying. I could see the final straight approaching. By now I was in tears and something weird happened to my breathing – I think it was probably a mini panic attack. I was struggling to walk never mind run.
Then an amazing lady grabbed my had and said she wouldn’t leave me behind. She pulled me a long and even when I said leave me and finish off she wouldn’t. I didn’t even see Eddie, Ewan and my work friends at the side as I was concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.
If it wasn’t for the lady I think I would have crawled to finish or perhaps not have finished. She was amazing, so if you are thinking of running and are Nottingham based, look up Nottingham Women Runners as Dawn is one of their brilliant leaders.
Well I finished in 2 hrs 56 – not the quickest, but I finished!!! and under 3 hours. Would I do it again – you bet I would!!! I am going to rest for a couple of weeks and then work on strengthening my legs and my fitness. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I loved it. I hate how fat I am in the photo’s so that’s something I need to get back on track with too.