February’s challenge was to compete and complete the Brighton half marathon.
For those that read my blog, you would’ve read about the training over the last few months which charted the highs and the lows along with my pre-race jitters.
We came down to Brighton on Saturday morning and spent a leisurely evening (talking running!) having dinner with my sister and brother in law. A relaxing evening given the following days planned activity.
I sorted out our race kit and made sure our numbers were securely fixed before retiring to bed.
Not a bad nights sleep was had and we were awake by 6, which was just before our alarm was going off. As we’d organised room service, our morning was quite relaxed. Porridge and toast and we were ready to shower and get changed.
We headed down to the start line to meet my sisters, who were both running. Lots of hugs and photos and it was time to drop the bags off at bag drop and find our pen.
By this point, I’d been in tears a few times (well, ok a lot!) and was feeling very emotional. Not sure why at the time but I think in hindsight it was my way of dealing with all the differing emotions that were happening.
It was lovely seeing my sisters there and getting a much needed pep talk before heading off.
Kate and I never run together so we had a selfie, kissed each other good luck and went our separate ways.
Off we went and I purposely stayed near the side to keep out of the way. It was a lovely atmosphere as we headed down towards the marina. By this point it was getting a little windy and rainy but it was nice that the hill wasn’t that scary and that as it was an out and back I managed to cheer on some of the Leeds Frontrunners, my sisters and my wife… this was an awesome feeling.
The first 6 miles went really well and I only checked my watch once when I got just passed 5 miles.
I was feeling quite happy at this point, my motivational snippets from Claire in my playlist were super helpful and really helped at keys points. The singing and message from her wife certainly brought a smile to my face! In between these there were also snippets from my wife 😀
As I got to 7 1/2 miles it was into a head wind and rain and I decided to walk… I tried to run a bit but i felt like it was zapping my energy.
Around 8 miles, I was greeted by my niece and brother in law, who walked with me a little bit after checking I was ok. Another much needed and appreciated boost.
It felt like the next mile would never end but eventually it was time to turn around and head home. Some run walking between miles 9 and 10 then I saw my brother in law again who confirmed that my wife was ok and that everyone was doing well.
My legs were really feeling it and after running some more, I decided to stop and stretch. It was at this point the sweeper car over took me!
No this was not part of the plan and after a quick stretch I had to sprint to over take the car! I was determined to finish before them.
As mile 11 passed and then mile 12, I knew I was going to finish… as I came into the finish, I saw my sisters and niece… they ran towards me and ran with me a little until all of a sudden I shot off!
There’s something about a sprint finish!
After finishing… I seriously felt sick! My big big sister came rushing over and the Red Cross man wanted me to go into his tent! To be honest I was determined to get my medal! Nothing was going to get in between me and my well earnt bling!
After an emotional reunion with my wife and a quick goodbye to my sister, we treated ourselves to some chips to eat on our walk back to the hotel!
Once back we had a 20 minute debrief with Claire and it was awesome to hear her enthusiasm for our achievement. In reality, it was a joint achievement given the hard work Claire had to put into our training and supporting us.
Some stretching and a well earned shower and we began to feel normal again and it was beginning to sink in that we’d just run a half marathon 😀 WOW!