Monday, 8 November 2010

My Half Marathon Blog (Half Marathon Series)

At the start of the year when I was putting up my wall planer 2010 and printed off the race fixtures, I sat down to plan which races would fit into my Dublin Marathon training, when the half marathon series was announced, I thought I would attempt to do all 7.

Larne 20th March

I persuaded a few of the club members to train for this as their first half, as I did this last year I knew the route and it was reasonably flat till mile 6-8 and then all downward home to finish. I ran along with Francey for the first 6 miles to keep her paced as this was her first ever half. The crowd was great and the atmosphere was brilliant running along the promenade to the finish line. I ran home in 2.21 to start the half series off with a PB.

Omagh 27th March
With only 7 days after Larne I knew I would have to do this all over again. Omagh was a surprise to me, very hilly and I wasn’t prepared enough for it. I ran a reasonably race; my legs were tired after last week. With great support along the route I ticked off the miles……we ran along the track to finish, this was amazing. I ran home in 2.27 and ended up with a blood blister on the sole of my foot due to a small stone in my shoe…. But 2 down and 5 to go….woo hoo

Next day I did mud madness for fun, I knew it was two months till the next half so I could concentrate on the distance and pace in between. 145 miles later I was prepared as much as I could for Newry.

Newry 21 May

Leaving the house at 7am to travel to Newry I felt great, the weather was perfect, sun was shining. I knew the route again from last year, but this year I would be able to finish in a more reasonable time as I picked up an Achilles injury and limped home last year. A few hills on the way out until we reached the massive hill around 8 miles, god that hill was murder, but what goes up must come down again. Then flat all the way home, running down the home straight to the shouts of our club members made all the difference. I ran home in 2.30 not bad, but very pleased.

Lisburn 16th June
This was a Wednesday night race and another I ran before and loved. By the time the race started it was getting very warm….I was struggling, felt sick and throw up at 1.5 miles. Once this happened I was grand. The first 8k was brilliant till we split off from the 10k pack, up along the carriage way at Sprucefield; it seemed a never ending hill. Once over the hill and we turned into the countryside, at 8 miles I caught up with a club runner I had been trying to catch all night. The local support was brilliant, a man give me a bottle of energy drink and I don’t know if it was that or the fact I caught my club mate that I found my energy again, from mile 8 to 12 I flew, once I reached the long hill home I looked at my watch and knew I was going to knock minutes off last years time. So I had a massive smile on my face crossing the finish line. I ran home in 2.27.

Newtownards 2nd July

After I finished this race last year I vowed NEVER ever to run it again, but I had to give in as it was part of the half series, wasn’t looking forward to all the hills, mostly up. Running it this time was a completely different experience, I had a brilliant time, I ran along with another club member for a few miles, the boy scouts at the water stations were a god send, the best part of ards for me was the down hill at mile 12, passing all the walkers, knowing I only had 1 mile to go. With a lot of the members waiting for me to come up the home straight, shouting, encouraging all the way over the mat I had a big grin on my face and got a big hug from Chipman. I ran home in 2.27 again for the 3rd time. Next race I will have to break the dreaded 2.27.

Cookstown 25th July
This half I slotted into the beginning for my marathon training, I hadn’t done Cookstown before so I ask around and was given a mixture of reports on the route. We started off down hill which I thought was the start of a good route till we turned the corner and it was more up hills than down. I was told about the big hill at 12 miles and to keep something in my tank for it, but I used up all my energy on the rest of the hills before I reach the 12 mile mark, with only 1 mile to go I pushed on and hoped for a long down hill, we turned the bend at the top of the hill to a very short down hill, I was feeling it in my legs by now, I knew we had a up hill to finish and over a cattle grill. I don’t know where I found the last bit of energy to sprint home up into the leisure centre.
I ran home in 2.26 wow. I finally broke the 2.27 by 1 minute, I didn’t care, I was overjoyed at my time. Talking to a few other runners from North Down afterwards and the all reported the route took everyone be surprise. This was the hardest of all the halves so far, harder than ards. 6 of 7 completed yippee!

Derry 12th Sept

The was reported to be the flattest half of all. We had 10 club members that travelled to Derry early on the Sunday morning for the last half in the series. I was only too pleased to be standing on the start line injury free. I was very relaxed and all I wanted to do was finish in one piece, no time target, no pressure to get a PB. I ran my own race, I normally stop and run along with someone who is struggling or has stopped cause of a stitch, which I help to push out. Ticking off the miles one by one was easy, they seem to fly by, running around the industrial estate and seeing all the other running ahead of me on the loop back home, shouting encouragement to them, I loved it. We came back into Gransha at mile 12, I knew I was on to break my PB of 2.21, the club members had all came in before me and were waiting to cheer me across the finish line to complete all 7.  I ran home in 2.22 to top it all off, I started the series on a high and finished on a high.

I will be encouraging everyone to complete the half series in the club next year; it was massive achievement to cross that finish line in Derry. Roll on next year, I’ll have to set my goals higher now and try to improve my times, barring any injuries I’ll be back. Thanks to all our club runners for all the encouragement and company along the way.

Also thanks to Glenn (chipman) always a big smile when I cross the finish line, all the event sponsors and supporters without you things like this would be possible.

Up and Runners

The Half Marathon Prizegiving Photos are available here and further details on the 2011 Series will be on in the New Year!

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