I wanted to write about this event as quickly as possible, but if I am being completely honest I think it has taken a few days for it to sink in and for me to process what actually happened… but, here goes!
I signed up for this race as soon as it was announced, it was perfect timing as it was just after the London Marathon and I was already starting to plan my year and this was the perfect race to see what shape I was in for London Marathon 2018.
Anyway….. so fast forward to the week before the race. The UK experienced perhaps the worst week of weather EVER – the Beast from the East literally bought the country to a standstill, and all I kept thinking was how it was going to affect the race (there were even talks of cancelling it!) Thankfully, the running gods must have been looking down, because as the weekend arrived, the weather improved, trains started running again & everything was getting back to normal. Panic Number 1 = Averted
The day before the race I felt awful. I don’t know why, looking back now I can only assume it was a bad case of pre race nerves. I had a banging headache all day, I felt sick and all I wanted to do was sleep! At one point it even crossed my mind to pull out of the race as I just felt so rubbish! I was travelling down to London early Saturday evening to stay with friends, and I just couldn’t wait to arrive and go to bed! Thankfully, after a catch up with the girls, some good food & an early night I woke up on Sunday morning feeling completely refreshed & any niggling doubts from the day before had disappeared. Panic Number 2 = Averted
After polishing off my usual pre race breakfast of porridge with blueberries & a black coffee (I swear black coffee gives me super powers!) I started my journey to the start line, planning to meet some friends at London Bridge. Just a quick side note – you can definitely tell I am not from London. The tube was full of people in running gear heading to the start line, I said hello and smiled at people, and guess what I got back… NOTHING!
Anyway, once we all found each other we did the most important thing on the morning of the race, joined the toilet queue! I have to say, I was very impressed by the number of toilets, and the fact they were actually in half decent condition – good work guys!
Before we knew it, it was time to drop our bags off. This was easy enough as it was en route to the start line. My only niggle is that it was quite hard to get through the thousands of other runners trying to do the same thing, it seemed to be down a very narrow street which made it quite difficult to manoeuvre!
Mark and I were in Pen A, whilst Mick was in B, so we said our goodbyes and made our way to our zones, and then who should I bump into… this mega babe!! I heard ‘JORDAN’ and turned around and saw this smiley face! I was so pleased to see her! Unfortunately we didn’t have long so we had a cuddle, wished each other luck and took a selfie (obvs!)
9am was fast approaching, and after one final toilet stop, we were ready to go! Mark & I planned to run together, we both had our own personal goals though so we agreed that if we needed to, we would run our own race, but I was hoping that wouldn’t happen!
As with any big race, the start was very congested, and it felt like for the first KM it was spent dodging & weaving in and out of people, but I soon found a rhythm and was settling into what was hopefully going to be my pace for the remainder of the race.
The first few miles ticked by nicely, I was feeling good and on the edge of being comfortable & just outside my comfort zone – I just couldn’t believe how warm it was, especially as the day before I was running in snow and minus temperatures! Early on in the race there was a very loooooooong tunnel, which I can only describe felt like running through an oven, I was pretty happy when we got out of there!
I will be completely honest & admit that I am RUBBISH at taking in whats around me on a run, but there were certain points of the course where memories of the London Marathon came flooding back, which was amazing and was just getting me more excited for the main event in April. The only major difference was the lack of support out on the course, I don’t think I have ever seen London so quiet! I was quite surprised by this as I was expecting a similar atmosphere to the marathon, but luckily it didn’t dampen my spirits too much!
Unfortunately, my race buddy was struggling, and at around the 6 mile point he slipped back, meaning I was now on my own! I took on a gel at this point & just continued to dig deep, knowing that I was almost half way and was coming up to the infamous Tower Bridge!
Now that I was over half way, I was on countdown mode. Counting down every mile, breaking it down into chunks, trying to work out exactly how long I had left to go, and trying not to get too over excited that I was going to beat my PB (something could always go wrong!!)
Miles 8-10 were hard, the route took us over some narrow, cobbled streets which did not feel nice underfoot! My legs were starting to fatigue and the change of surface did knock me slightly, for a moment I thought I had lost it, but luckily this section did not last long and I managed to get back into a comfortable pace.
The 10 mile marker sign was coming up, and all I kept thinking was ‘just a park run to go’ which again is something I use in EVERY long distance race! I was on target to smash my PB, but my legs were really feeling tired now. I wish I had taken 2 gels out on the course with me as I felt like I needed one, even if just for the placebo effect, but I was determined not to let my pace drop too much and all I was focusing on was getting to the finish line.
As the finish line neared closer, the crowds grew larger, which was exactly what I needed to get me to the end of the race. I knew that I had achieved my goal as I approached the final mile, which was an amazing feeling and I used that as my final push to get me to the line! Turning the corner and seeing the ‘600m to go’ sign once again bought back memories of the London Marathon and gave my little legs that boost they needed!
I had two goals for this race
- Sub 1.30
- Qualify for the 2019 Championship London Marathon start.
My official chip time was 1.26.28 – I HAD DONE IT!!
I crossed the line in a state of shock. I had a little cry. I kept looking at my watch not quite believing what had just happened, and then had a bit more of a cry! I then started the long walk to bag drop (why, oh why do they always put bag drop so far away!!!) and waited for my friends to finish so that we could celebrate together.
This race will now always be special to me. The 1st half marathon I achieved a sub 1.30, my championship qualifying race, and the first time I have actually really started to believe in myself & what I can achieve. So, thank you London Marathon for hosting such a fantastic race, and now I can’t wait for the main event!!
- Mile 1 – 6.35
- Mile 2 – 6.24
- Mile 3 – 6.35
- Mile 4 – 6.13
- Mile 5 – 6.31
- Mie 6 – 6.31
- Mile 7 – 6.28
- Mile 8 – 6.26
- Mile 9 – 6.35
- Mile 10 – 6.37
- Mile 11- 6.37
- Mile 12 – 6.39
- Mile 13 – 6.38
- 0.1 – 6.08