So, first up, the resting worked! Last night we watched a movie and generally chilled out. I got everything ready for the morning, so I would not have to be racing around in the morning (even pinned my number to my top so I would not be trying to find safety pins).
The weather said it would be cloudy at first, but sunny later, so I had chosen a vest and capris to deal with the heat later. I had toast and jam for breakfast, plus a glass and a half of water.
When I started running longer, I used to take a bottle out with me, but I found that it made my arm ache. So then I switched to a waist pack (and I think if I was marathon training I would go back to using that)- but it is a bit annoying. So I have not taken water with me on any of my training runs. Most of them have been during cooler weather, but some have been hot. During Brighton I really struggled near the end, and part of it was down to a stomach ache, which I think is down to drinking while running.
Ages ago I heard a marathon talk interview all about hydration (Episode 127– worth a listen and you can skip to the “training talk” section if you just want to hear that), and they were saying that more problems were caused by people over-hydrating as then their salts etc get dangerously diluted. Elite racers used to be banned from drinking at all during marathons (decades ago)- you couldn’t imagine that now. Some dehydration is natural during activity and of course everyone needs to find what works for them, but I have found I have been fine running with no drink, and just make sure I am hydrated the day before, and drink when I get back. So, I was not taking my bottle with me. There is also a bit of information about the dangers of over drinking here.
We picked up Andy’s brother and then headed to the start line- we were there 45 minutes before, and it was quite chilly! I wished I had packed a jumper to wear, as we had packed a bag for the bag drop. I sort of felt like I needed the toilet, but I have decided that a lot of that is psychological too, and I knew there were toilets on the course, so I told myself if I really needed I could stop en-route.
I met a couple of people from the Sweatshop run, although I lost them before the start line. We lined up and luckily in the starter pens it was a bit warmer as we were out of the wind. I wanted to beat 2.19, and had written down the pacing times for 2.15 and 2.10 (good to be optimistic)- either 10.18 per mile or 9.55 per mile. In the end I remembered those two times and just checked that my average speed was in that range. Andy and his brother set off at the same time but were ahead of me before we crossed the start line!
Mile 1- Fairly flat- through the park. A lot of people watching and cheering.
Mile 2- Uphill but not too steep. Seemed to go by fast.
There were so many marshalls lining the course- the most I have ever seen at any race- and they were all cheering and enthusiastic, it was lovely. One group of people were playing music from their car- when I got there it was the Benny Hill music so that was in my head for a good few miles!
Mile 3- Mostly downhill- we sort of loop back at that point back towards the park.
Mile 4- The dreaded Bluehouse Hill- a long hill that gets steeper as you go up it. One of the Sweatshop girls overtook me at that point- we chatted for a minute before she headed off. The road was lined with loads of kids so I concentrated on high-fiving them- took my mind off the hill!
Miles 5-6- Along a road and then into country lanes- would have been pretty exposed if it was sunny, I was thankful for the clouds.
I had a couple of sips from one of the water stations at this point, and used the rest to wash my face (getting salty) and my hands (sticky).
Miles 7-9- I had no idea where we were! It has all blended into one already. The course was undulating- some nice downhill bits but some short and steep uphill sections too. It was also quite twisty. Tried to get past a man who kept burping so loudly it sounded like he was going to be sick- had a brief panic that he was going to be sick on me!
I went over the half way mat in 1.03 (although I think it was a bit before half way) which worried me a bit- was I going to blow to pieces later? But I was feeling OK.
I opened my little pack of jelly beans (a Sweatshop freebie) and had a few- I wasn’t feeling hungry but I was conscious that I wanted to have a little energy boost before the end. I also had a few more sips from a water station- I think I got water at two or three altogether, but only a sip from each cup.
Mile 10- I caught up with Andy’s brother- we ran the next mile together and chatted which meant the mile flew by. By that point we had run 10 miles in 1 hr 40, so I knew unless something went badly wrong I would beat 2.19.
Mile 11- There was a short uphill section that was so steep- I really wanted to stop and had to remind myself to pump my arms- funny how when we are tired even the natural things go out the window. Still the route was through little country lanes so it was very pretty. At one point along a narrow lane a horse (being ridden) came towards us- that made me a bit nervous as I usually like to give horses a very wide berth!
Mile 12- Nearly there!
Mile 13- Back out to the top of the dreaded hill, down the hill- check my legs- they are feeling super tired but they are still moving! Down to the bottom, a little loop back- on my way back up I saw Andy’s brother so gave him a wave and a shout. Then back into the park for the final stretch. Normally when I can hear the tannoy announcer at the end I get a bit of an adrenaline rush (which is often counter-productive as it comes too early and leaves me with wobbly legs coming up to the final section), but I didn’t get one. I was still keeping a good posture, I was feeling OK, and I knew I was in with a chance of getting a pb! The very last section was on grass and the fences were lined with people- I even heard Andy’s brother’s wife giving me a shout!
I think I was grinning from ear to ear as I crossed that line- my watch said 2.10 something! Amazing!
Then I was given an ice lolly (an orange juice one= amazing!), a bottle of water, a goodie bag and a cup of water, plus a medal. It was quite chilly so I put the t-shirt on and then went to find Andy and his family. We had packed some nuun tabs in the bag drop bag, so I had one of those in my bottle of water, and we shared a clif bar on the way back to the car.
The goody bag was good in my opinion as it had things I would actually use/ eat- a clif bar (although I got blueberry flavour- boo, Andy won with a peanut butter one!), some rehydration tabs and a few race leaflets, plus the t-shirt which came in handy right away.
On the walk back to the car I also got a text message with our times- my official time was 2.10.09– so a new pb by 2 minutes! I am so pleased 🙂
Then it was time for a shower (I used some of that ice gel after which really helped my legs) and lunch. I wasn’t feeling that hungry, but I knew I would crash later if I didn’t eat something. I made some sourdough toast (different bread to the morning!) and once I had that I realised I was hungry, so had melon, strawberries, a cup of tea and then some lovely fruit tea bread.
I didn’t eat all of my jelly beans- they were in my little belt along with hand sanitiser (in case I needed to use the port-a-loos)- I left everything else in the bag drop.
I think the not drinking really helped me- often in the latter stages of half marathons I get a sort of bloated feeling in my stomach, and I think that is due to the water. I prefer to sip water from a bottle, so the water stations aren’t ideal when they are in cups, but I didn’t get that ache at all. Of course I have made sure I redydrated later on, but I am convinced that this is what works for me.
What do you do about drink/ water when working out?
Phew- what a mammoth recap! Off to rest now 🙂