Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

Last week was a bit of an upsy downsy week in terms of how I felt.  My long run was done on the Monday which went well, did the first 17k with a friend then continued on my own.  Legs felt great but I was still coughing.  The plan was to do my 2nd long run on Tuesday, but when I got to the forest with the dogs and began my run my left knee had a niggle (due to a fall I had had at the weekend) so the dogs got a lovely walk instead and I took a day off running; totally the right decision as the following day everything was fine and I did my second longish run.

Managed a short fast run on Friday, it was meant to be a steady short run, but about 2 miles from home I spotted a young man running ahead of me and as always the urge to run faster to catch him up and overtake were just too strong so up went the pace, arms and legs going like the clappers and I found myself running at just over 6mm pace (not fast for a lot of people but bloody fast for me!) finally I managed to catch up with him, avoided any form of eye contact as I didn’t want him to know that I was actually racing him – he was obviously so disgusted at being over taken by such an old woman that he picked up the pace! Thankfully at the road junction he went left and I turned right, but it put a smile on my face for being so silly!!

Wayward Daughter No. 1 and I spent the day shopping for wedding dresses which you would have thought would be quite stressful, it was great.  We had coffee first, spent an hour and half at the first shop (me sneaking in a few photos and making notes) off to a Wine bar for lunch which was gave me a bit of a shock when we walked in as the decor was completely over the top! Finishing the day finding a beautiful dress but sadly very expensive (always the way!)

Saturday I didn’t do any running as HWMBO and I were looking after the boys for the morning.  In fact Harriet took Theo to the Skate park and Fin and I went to Drakes to buy the stuff for the bathroom leaving HWMBO to strip the walls and make a mess!

Sunday was race day, Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon.  I arrived in plenty of time and met up with Paul who I hadn’t seen for ages, then saw Lizzie and Kevan who are regulars at this event.  I chatted to lots of lovely people, even met the lady who has the World Record for knitting while running a marathon!  The weather was fantastic, blue sky and sunshine Kent at its best.

Count down began, gun was fired and over 2,000 runners were sent on their way for a hilly but beautiful 13.1 mile course.  My PB which I had got on this course a couple of years ago was 1hr 40 and a few seconds (not sure how many) so my aim this time was to get to the finish in at least 1:40 so tried to follow the 1:40 pacer – Ha! I could keep him in my sights but not keep up with him, then he disappeared so decided that I was not fast enough to get that time and ran at my own pace, still checking my pacing to make sure I was at least in with a chance of the time.  I pasted an old peoples home along the route and wondered whether I should check myself in! I seemed to spend most of the race making myself laugh – very sad!

Saw my running friend Caroline at about mile 6, I couldn’t talk but as always tried, thankfully she wasn’t able to chat either so I let her go but managed to catch her up and overtake her later.  My breathing had calmed down and my right knee felt a bit odd every so often but nothing to worry about, I just ignored it.  I had completely forgotten to look at the course route, although I did know that there was a big hill (Spring Hill) coming up at around the half way mark.  There is however a smaller hill before that which I found fairly easy and on the down hill asked the Marshall if that was the big hill – he laughed at me and pointed –  I saw all the runners heading up and up and up ahead of me……now I was about to hit Spring Hill. I managed a good steady even pace up the hill, there was no way I was going to stop, far too many people around to see!  I knew then why I like Ultras, everyone talks to each other as you are going at a slower pace (unless you are Ian Shaman!!) and if you feel like it you can walk up the hills without feeling a right twat! Half Marathons everyone is going SO fast you simply can’t talk and breathe – well I can’t!

Once up and over the hill my pace picked up again and I was very pleased with myself.  Hit the 10 mile point in 1:16 oh yes, a PB for me, I could feel my chest puffing up with pride – could I get a PB for the half? with 3.1 miles to go I could smell home.  Maths as my family know isn’t my strong point, in my head I was trying to work out what pace I had to run at to get in under 1:40, brian wasn’t working so decided that the best option was to run as fast as my legs could.  Home stretch and I saw the 1hr 40 pace, woohoo I could do this, ran faster, pasted him – result –  turned left into the leisure centre to the finish.  I wasn’t a pretty sight, eyes were on the finish, legs attempting to keep going, red face, huffing and puffing like a train but I crossed the line in 1:39 I had done it, for me a great result and I was delighted.  Saw Sarah the Race Director and gave her a big hug – the remainder of the day I had a large smile on my face.

A great race and course and the crowds along the route were very supportive, I even had lots of people calling out my name cheering me on which was fantastic so a big marvellous thank you to everyone for that, it really kept me going.  Sarah Russell and her amazing team put on once again a great event, many congratulations to them for all their hard work, it certainly paid off.

I ran in my Hoka One One Bondi B’s which felt fantastic, I’m in love!!

This week is taper week as I have the Thames Path 100 on Saturday – very nervous about this one, I know the time I want to aim for so lets see what happens!



Happy training.