Saturday, 5 April 2014

At least my face stayed on

Last Sunday was my local half marathon. A lovely 9am start for the race. Well it would be if it wasn't for the fact that this is the UK and on Sunday we switched to British Summer Time.
For those not familiar with the concept in spring the clocks in the UK go forward by an hour, in the autumn they go back an hour. Last Sunday they we therefore lost an hour meaning that in reality it was 8am.
Normally I'd drag my tribe along to a race but as it was also Mothering Sunday, Mrs P refused to go as she was going to have a lie-in and forbade Master P from going so that he could make her tea and toast.
She did agree to come and see me at around about the 9 mile mark which passes close to our home and also at the finish.
Being the kindly soul that I am (muahahaha),  I took our car to get me to the start (so I could collect my race number and be able to sit in it rather than stand around for an hour waiting for the race).

I've did this race a few years ago before I transitioned so I was keen to see how my time would compare against my pre-hormone days. When I'd race before I'd run with a colleague. This time I was running on my own.

When I registered for the race I put down my full name, not Jen which I've done in the past, and also put down female for my gender. To avoid any awkward moments if they called out people's names as they crossed the line I decided to wear make-up (I've found a brand that seems to survive exercise so I'm quite happy). Nothing overly dramatic, foundation, eye shadow and lipstick. I was also able to wear my slightly padded sports bra to stop things bouncing about too much.

The race got off to a great start. The weather was almost perfect, a little too hot which resulted in a couple of runners collapsing due to the heat.

The first couple of miles I was quite happy. I was clocking up 9 minute miles so was well on track to have finished in under 2 hours. The first two miles are slightly uphill, after that its downhill until you reach a park area and run through that to reach the only real hill on the course. That's at about the 6 mile mark.

By the time I'd reached the 3 mile mark and the park area though I was starting to have problems. My left ankle was hurting and I found that I was beginning to limp slightly. Still I carried on because to stop would have meant I'd have had to make my way back to at least home, if not the start area to collect our car. If I had to do that anyway I might as well finish the race.

Reaching the hill I put my head down and kept going, even managing to overtake a couple of people as I did so.

Dropping back from the top of the hill the remainder of the race was slight inclines or flat, my pace was dropping considerably and I found myself considering dropping out at about 9 miles where I was expecting to see my family waiting for me. Typically they managed to miss me as they arrived about 10 minutes after I'd gone by.

Just before the 10 mile marker I finally gave in and decided that I had to drop to a walk and try and give my ankle some relief. Every time I reached a uphill part I stopped and walked until I reached the top, on the flat and what few downhill sections there were I tried to run as best I could.

A few times I managed to put on a reasonable burst of speed and found that my ankle didn't hurt as much. Not sure why that was as I would have thought it would have hurt more.

Eventually I reached the last few hundred yards to the finish and with so many people around I resorted to my usual tactic at the end of a race and went for it. It wasn't a sprint but it was certainly fast enough to get me to the finish quick enough that by the time that my family saw me, I was gone again and across the finish line. As is a regular thing at the end of races my son was left standing there with my camera around his neck unable to take any pictures of me.

I was impressed when I crossed the finish line as the Mayor and Lady Mayor were there, the Lady Mayor handing out medals (which I was lucky enough to receive from her and the Mayor shaking everyone's hands, mine included. Its the first time I've had that happen.

Getting clear of the finish with my goodie bag I found a place to sit down and drank most of the bottle of water I'd received and started munching on a bag of peanuts (smokey bacon flavour - yum). My family appeared after a few minutes of searching for me and I waved to my son when he was looking in my direction. By that point my ankle was feeling better, typical.

All things considered it was a lovely day and a great race. As its local I know that I'll give it another go at some point. Next time hopefully without ankle problems so that I can do the race the justice it deserves as far as I'm concerned. In the meantime its rest and recuperation before starting to train for my next half marathon in September when I travel to Newcastle Upon Tyne and take part in the second biggest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run. Which does leave me wondering about whether or not to take part in the largest half marathon in the world, the Göteborgsvarvet. A trip to Sweden sounds nice!


  1. The largest half-marathon in the world, you say? Go for it!!! Of course, we expect nothing less than victory. Consider yourself on notice, Missie!

    (Oh, and congratulations too.) :D

    == Cass

  2. Thanks for that Missie :-)
    Mentioned it to my other half today and she asked when it was. Think she was hoping for a trip to Sweden but I did point out that I wouldn't be doing it this May.

    Only problem with doing the two largest half marathons in the world is that you then have to take doing marathons a bit more seriously. Next thing you know I'll be trying to get into that one they have in your neck of the woods.

    Thanks for the congratulations. xx