Blenheim Palace half recap

(It is a full recap, but it was a half marathon)

So we headed off on Saturday to a few National Trust places, and then went to Oxford for a bit of shopping and some dinner. We went to Pizza Express and I had a new salad- it was delicious- spinach, lettuce, roasted squash, lentils, cucumber, mozzarella, avocado, pine nuts and balsamic- yum.

When we got to our hotel I got my kit out- it has been so warm recently so I didn’t have to decide- capris and a vest it was. I checked the pacing for 2.15 (10.18 miles) which I thought would be realistic- I knew the course was not flat so wasn’t aiming for a pb.

This morning we got up early, had some malt loaf for breakfast, and then I had to drop Andy off at the station (he was originally meant to be running too, but then the football changed to Sunday so he couldn’t) and then drove to the start. I had plenty of time, well, I thought I did. I was about 2 miles away with 40 mins to go, but then the traffic was solid. I drove in to the grounds at 10.28 am, and heard the starting horn as I was being directed to park my car. I had a bag of things for the donation station, but had to leave them in the car and sprint to the start. Luckily they were still letting people start, and I think I was about 7 minutes late when I got there.

I took this at the end!

The run itself was gorgeous- the grounds were so pretty and the sun was shining, some of the leaves were turning and there were plenty of people out walking and supporting.

Just before 2 miles the 10 mile marker was out, which I think was not good psychologically as it started me thinking about the end, plus I hen knew any tough uphill bits would have to be done again.

But, I found it tough. It was undulating, but some of the ups and downs, although short, were pretty steep (I find it hard to run normally on steep downhill sections). It was also very very warm indeed.

The first couple of miles were fast, I think as I was panicking about nearly missing the start. I was also thirsty (I was going to have a drink in the car before the start, but it was in the boot and there was no time)- at the 5 mile point I had some water from a station, which helped a bit. Up until 7 miles I was on target for my finishing time, but then I started to get really tight legs and felt quite tired. I had half a pack of jelly beans with me (left over from the St Albans half) so I had those, but then that left me with a horrible sugar taste in my mouth. By the time I reached the next water station at 11 miles I was gasping, so I walked and made sure I drank quite a few sips before carrying on.

For the last mile and a bit I could hear the tannoy from the finishing area, but it felt like I was a long way away. The final part was uphill- right through the finishers arch and beyond, so I had no hope of a sprint finish. I stopped my Garmin on 2.16 something, so I am pretty pleased seeing as it was so hot. I saw so many people being treated by paramedics, and several ambulances went past. At the finishers area there were more people being treated too- I think the warm weather took people by surprise.

I sat on the grass for a bit and admired my medal.

After half an hour of the half marathon, a 10K race started too (took me a while to work out why there was k markers as well as mile markers) so when I was finishing, so were some 10K runners. The medal it just a plain one-it doesn’t say the date or race or anything (although the ribbon does).

The Palace looked so impressive in the sunshine.

And the grounds looked lovely too.

But I was conscious that I had a long drive back home. I was going to change in the tent, but because of being late I had not left my clothes with the bag check. I picked up my t-shirt (no time before- they wanted people to wear them whilst running but they were cotton). I was wandering around the fields for a while before I found my car, so by that point I couldn’t be bothered to walk back to the village. A group of runners stopped me to check my medal as they had also run the half marathon and were miffed that their medals were the same as the 10K ones!

My car was away from the path, so I changed my clothes then (the big cotton t-shirt came in handy then, as did my baby wipes) and sat in another traffic jam on the way out! I had packed a clif bar, so had that and some nuun in some water while I was in the queue.

At about half 3 I was so hungry, so stopped off at Starbucks for some food, but in the end it was so busy I decided to just take it home with me.

So, this was my post half-marathon lunch, at 4pm! So delicious though- the icing on the cinnamon roll had orange peel in it (I am sure they used to have lemon peel??).

Then I showered, put a wash on, and lay on the sofa catching up on Strictly.

Andy just got back from the football and we are having a pizza for tea. Phew.

And thank you to everyone who has sponsored me- don’t forget to email your address to me so I can send you a thank you.

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24 thoughts on “Blenheim Palace half recap”

  1. Great job, that sounds so stressful about the start, sounds like a tough course too. Lovely setting though! There were so many people needing help from ambulances at cardiff half today as well, it was so so hot!

  2. Wow such a close call! That would have seriously put me off my A game for the run with all that stress!! Extra well done to you for that and the heat too! Cant see your email address anywhere so i hope you have mine from this post and the one saying i donated.
    Well done again x

    1. I can see your email on the comment- thanks 🙂
      Yes- it did make it stressful but all turned out OK in the end!

  3. Congratulations! That sounds like such a stressful and unideal start, but such lovely weather for it 🙂 Well done for a great performance even with things going wrong, would have put me off no end!

    1. It did put me off – I knew I would not make a pb or anything, but it was the raising money that counted so I was just glad I was allowed to start a bit late.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS, that is fantastic. Not only has it been warm this weekend it has been quite humid too so I would say you handled the race very well and the stressful start would have sent me into a total spin … I’m sure its one of my pre-race nightmares, that and arriving in sandals and no trainers 😉

    1. Thanks Lara! I also panicked that I had not checked my socks (they are left and right ones but sometimes I put them in the drawer with two right ones or whatever).

  5. Oh no, that sounds like such a nightmare at the start! Good on you for running a strong race anyway. I am terrible at pulling myself together when something like that goes wrong.

    Looks like a lovely day for a Half Marathon – we had pouring rain and wind up here! Then again, racing in the heat is always hard as well, so it’s hard to choose between the two in terms of which is preferable.


    1. I was very nervous in the car, and panicking that if I didn’t make it what would I do about all the sponsorship! I knew right then I would not get a pb as I was way too stressed, but I managed to enjoy most of it.
      I think I prefer the heat over gales and stormy rain, but both make it tough.

  6. I hate it when you’re all planned and organised and then get thrown a spanner. Sounds like it all came good for you though – the pics are lovely x

  7. Well done! The Palace looked gorgeous! You did really well considering the start – I’d have tizzed myself up something chronic (I hate being late, and really loathe traffic being the reason).

    1. It is my favourite post race treat, although the last couple of time I have been to have one they have sold out! I think the last time I had one was when I did the Oxford half last October!

  8. Argh what a stressful start! I’d have really panicked. I hate not have time before a race to get my head in gear. It happened once to me and it stressed me out for the entire first mile.
    Sounds like you did a great job overcoming a lot of obstacles, like being late, thirsty and hot! Good job 🙂 and a hilly course! You definitely deserved your bun!
    That annoys me a bit about the medal – you pay for the race so they should engrave the medal or at least have a different one to the 10k.
    Well done again!

    1. It did stress me out! But luckily as other people started late too I was not right at the back after a bit.
      I do think that about the medal, but then as it is organised by a charity I think they are trying to save money so hopefully more goes to them.

  9. I always find the start of races really nerve wrecking, no wonder you started off quickly. Sounds like you recovered really well and posted a decent time especially in the heat.

    1. You are brave to consider a tri! They are always more expensive I think because of having to have all the transition areas and stuff, and I suppose life guards for the swimming bit?

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