Birthday weekend!

Thanks for all the good luck and birthday messages- I had a fab weekend.

First- Hooray!

This was me on Sunday afternoon! (That is the lovely view from where we stayed). Hooray! I finished the 20 miler!

I am proudly wearing my race t-shirt (although you can’t see that from the picture)- I was so pleased!

Race report further down! And impressively, later that very same day, we even managed a bit of walking.

My legs were so stiff that I was worried I would fall in the water!

Anyway, we had a lovely weekend away- some walking, some tea rooms (of course), lots of relaxing! I actually woke up in the middle of the night and remembered safety pins, and then while we were there I nearly left them in my washbag.

Warning- long rambled and garbled race account coming up!

The race was about an hours drive away, so we were up early (7am) for porridge and lots of water before we drove there. We had seen there were showers available so we packed a change of clothes and towel too. The race HQ was in a leisure centre, and started very promptly (and there were pots and pots of safety pins on tables so I didn’t need to worry!). Now I was planning on going slow and steady, but within 100m of the start I was about 50m behind everyone else. There was a police car driving behind me for a bit, but then decided that I was too slow to be in the race (maybe) and so left me behind. I had a few minutes of panic as I had no idea where I was going, but then I saw some marshals who realised I was last, and so then I had a guy on a bike escorting me for the first 5 miles! As it was on roads (no pavements) for the first bit he had to go right behind me. So we had a nice chat for the most part. Then I was left to my own devices- where the maths and internal dialogue began. It went like this “all those people on the start line looked so professional, they all had energy gels and everything. Don’t be silly, you have energy gels, we all need them for this distance. But they all went so fast. Yes, but you can’t run that fast- you need to finish this- it is a training run not a race. OK, so I did 5 miles in 57 mins- I can do the other 3/4 in 3 hours, so I will be fine. Gosh, the showers in the leisure centre didn’t have curtains. Don’t panic- you can dash in and out really quick. OK, so 8 miles in 1.30ish- that leaves me 2 1/3 hours to do 12 more miles.You can do 13 miles in 2.20 so you will be fine.(At this point the lovely marshals started telling me “there is a guy up ahead, you can catch up with him”). Oh look an extremely steep hill- keep running, power through, (I overtook the man at that point)- woah you are not last any more. Yes but being last does not matter, you need to finish this! Look, I am halfway! Yay! Halfway in under 2 hours, you can manage this in the time. Gosh 13 miles in 2.20- oh if I had done a half marathon I could have beaten my pb (2.19) because I would not have to save anything in the tank for the next 7 miles. Half marathons seem a much more civilised distance. Why did I not sign up for a half instead? Who’s crazy idea was this marathon anyway? 14 mile marker- wow that is the biggest marker I have seen. Oh my legs hurt. I am thirsty. Drinking out of cups is hard work. 15 mile marker- only 5 miles to go, come on, nearly there. 16 miles, gosh it is hot. 17 miles, come on I can run 3 miles before breakfast. 18 miles- oh pants I thought I already saw that marker. Come on, only 2 miles. I see some more people up ahead! I overtook a couple more people (only never sure if they were in the race as I didn’t look back to see their race numbers). Oh, a baby rabbit, how cute. Pick up your feet. Ow, my back aches. I am so thirsty. I ran out of water. Pour the dribbles into your bottle lid and drink it that way. (Here the marshalls are telling me “only half a mile to go, not far”)- Oh look Andy is waving at me over the fence 🙂 I can see the finish line. No, actually that is a sign saying finish line this way. Only the field to go, past the tapes, up to the table. Can I stop now?

Gulp down 2 cups of water, eat an orange nakd bar, stagger to the changing rooms (I even braved the shower- sort of- there were 3 showers at the end with 1 curtain to share, so I went behind that), then walk like a cowboy to the car. Andy finished in 3.02 (although he really struggled and was a bit down about it after)- so he had showered and changed while waiting for me. I finished in 3.48.58, in the time limit hooray! I am glad that I managed to keep my pace up and get to the end.

We went home and had some lunch (I also had a banana and half a protein bar in the car), then went out for the afternoon.

We had a gentle walk by the river (plus an ice cream- yummy) and then went out for a pub dinner for my birthday. Fab!

My right thigh (front and back) is so sore today, but the rest of me is actually alright. Going up and down stairs yesterday was hard, but I managed it!

I got to open a present this morning;

A PB&Co cook book! (And a close up of the t-shirt which I think is pretty understated compared to most that you get). 🙂

I learnt a lot from the race at the weekend, which I am sure will pop up in here in the coming weeks. Although I am not sure where the last 6 miles will come from. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, enjoyed the fab weather etc.


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21 thoughts on “Birthday weekend!”

  1. ******CONGRATULATIONS******
    I was reading with bated breath, you passed the guy and you finished in time, you are AWESOME 🙂 xxxxx

  2. OH that book is just MARVELOUS. Wonderful. LIFE changing, even. I must go to the PB&Co store in New York before I die.

    I love reading your train of thought during the run!! Haha!

  3. No exaggeration – that was my favourite race recap ever ever EVER :-).

    I was rooting for you all the way, and wow – a big grin spread across my face by the end. That’s a major accomplishment and those mind games are all part of the territory… Not that I can talk really, I’ve never run more than a half, yet ;-).

    Anyhow, seriously well done and I hope you’re not sore for too long, x x x

  4. Maria you are a total star and I LOVED that report…. I was almost breathless reading it and felt like I was there too.

    You must be so chuffed with the result. That excellent finish time gives you more than 2 hours to do the final 6 miles within the course limit and even if you had to walk those you’d do it in less than that!!!

    Big huge tick for one less thing to worry about!!!!!

    Happy Birthday too, didn’t see the other posts till now so didn’t realise that you were sooooo old now!!!! (hehe…wish I was that old!)

    Congratulations again. You are a star and should be feeling sooo pleased with yourself right now xxxxx

  5. I’m with Ursus: favourite race recap by any Blogger. Ever. It even topped the Disney Marathon Series by all of the ‘popular/big’ bloggers in Jan 2010. I was so happy for you and I’m sure you did overtake all of those people. Your comment about the rabbits had me in stitches…wonderful stream of consciousness writing.

    Massive congratulations and no worries about the marathon: I’ll bet you can knock out that final 10K in an hour easily, and be on target for at least a sub-5 hr finish. I’m a slow starter too and it’s so easy to get disillusioned and upset by all the people passing you, but it’s so motivating to pick them off and pass them one by one, as I know you will be doing. I think having a healthy respect for the distance is good (a lot of fast starters at races I’ve done are all bravado and arrogance and then dying eight miles in) but don’t fear the marathon. All the evidence suggests that you’re going to run an excellent race.

    I am SO happy for you 😀


    1. P.S Congrats to Andy too: I hope he’s not too down about his time and can bounce back from the experience. Everyone has one of ‘those’ races occasionally and it’s not a reflection of how he’ll perform in the marathon. Could he evaluate where things went wrong (hydration seems to affect men particularly badly it seems…either overdoing it or lack of it?)

      And I’d call that t-shirt understated but classy. Wear it with pride. Oh, and the leisure centre set-up sounds eerily like that of the Spen 20 I ran…only I didn’t brave the showers!

      1. Thanks- I think for Andy it was hydration- he didn’t take any water with him and relied on the water stations, whereas I had my bottle with me and drank all of that, plus loads of water from the stations. He said he was feeling better about it today.

  6. Congratulations and happy (belated) birthday! I love your race recap, especially the bit about the baby rabbit – and what an achievement to beat your half-marathon personal best in a longer race, that rocks!
    Much respeck for then going out walking too 🙂

  7. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend 🙂 Well done for completing your race, I know very little about running, but really enjoyed reading your report – much more personal than just reading times/distances that I don’t really understand!!
    Looking forward to seeing what recipes you make from the PB&Co cookbook 🙂

  8. Champion – well done Maria!

    Excellent race report – relaly got inside your head with that one 🙂

    I also like the t-shirt. For me they have to be covered in advertising logos and look ‘professional’ or be really understated. Was it a cotton t-shirt or a running one?

  9. Glad everyone liked the race ramble recap! I was not sure that I could occupy my mind for that long, but what do you know, I can!

  10. weeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    As the others have said, this was a brilliant recap! I loved the random thoughts that popped in as you went along. You’re right, drinking out of cups is really hard. And baby rabbits are very cute!

    Really though I am in awe of you for STICKING TO YOUR RACE PLAN. It takes a lot of guts to hang back like that when everyone is racing off ahead of you, and you reaped the benefits of it in the end by overtaking people and coming in with a really good time. I am seriously so impressed by how you have managed this marathon training, and this race in particular.

    I also have to agree that 13 miles is a much more civilized distance though! Hope you’re recovering well today 🙂


    I have a similar sort of internal dialogue when I’m running or walking on my own for long distances.

  12. Thank you all again 🙂
    Sarah I could have gone on for pages (nearly 4 hours is a lot of internal dialogue!).
    Alison- thanks- I know I would not have finished if I had started off quicker 🙂

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