So, now to recap the before and after.
On Friday we took the train down to Brighton- partly because there are no rail replacement buses on weekdays, but also so that I could attempt a more relaxing Saturday.
We had rented a flat for the weekend, which was near the seafront, so a bit of a walk from the station. Once we had looked around, we headed to the seafront, and also to the expo so I could collect my number.
From the end of the road we could look down on the finish area being put together- exciting but nerve-wracking!
When we finally found the expo (I thought it was on the beach, and then we ended up looking on our phones at the app trying to find the address) the lead car was counting down to the start- 39 hours to go! That is the closest I will get to a lead car.
The expo was well organised, with runners going in one way, and spectators another, and the numbers were being given out in sections, although it was very quiet so at that time the volunteers were helping anyone who needed it. I was also given a bag for the bag drop (a very big one) and a sticker with my number, to go on the bag. The number also included safety pins, but no pen to write on the back- luckily there was one in the flat so I could write my info on.
We also picked up a really handy map, showing where all the mile markers were, drinks stations etc, as well as a really handy zoomed in map of the start and finish area (this was so useful for arranging where to meet up after).
I was also very excited to see a Bondi Band stall- I looked recently at ordering some more, as my run one is wearing a bit thin now, but the postage costs to the UK were really expensive. They had a deal, 2 for £10, so I spent a long time choosing which slogans and colours to go for.
I also picked up a pacer band, as I had made one, but the ones they had were sticky on the ends so I could wear them like a bracelet, whereas mine was paper that I would have to hold. Anyway, they had a 4.45 one which was crazily optimistic, and I wanted a 5.00 one (they were only in 15 min segments), but they had run out (on the Friday!!)- there were some pacer runners there, in their orange t-shirts, but as I mentioned before I did not see them on the day of the race.
We were going to get an ice cream, but time had got on, so we went for dinner, before heading back for Gogglebox.
I had my own little hydration station in the kitchen- many herbals teas to choose from!
On the Saturday it was raining pretty hard- we went out for breakfast (Cafe Coho- it was good luck before the Brighton half) and then Andy got the train to Southampton as they had a match. I went around the town for a bit, picked up some lunch, and then headed back to the flat for a couple of hours of feet up, relaxing time, including watching the boat races.
I treated myself to a salad from Pret, plus mango, coconut water, and a sort of date and cocoa almond smoothie thing. Although I tried it and it tasted of banana- I was not so keen.
The view from the flat- the rain had stopped by then luckily.
Later on I headed out. I was sensible and packed a water bottle in my handbag. I did a bit more shopping, but then got a headache, had to buy some paracetemol (the advice from the marathon was to avoid ibuprofen before and for the day after too, something I had not really heard of before- I only knew you should not take it during a run)- I also bought some crisps as I fancied something salty, and then went to the Bluebird Tea co (possibly my favourite shop now)- I bought some tea to take home, and also a strawberry lemonade (made with tea) to drink on the walk back.
I then spent the rest of the time waiting for Andy basically drinking a lot of different drinks, getting my kit out, and trying not to worry about the morning. I packed my bag for the drop- I did think about just leaving things for Andy to carry, but the info said it may take a while to meet up after, so I packed a long sleeved top, nuun tabs, a clif protein bar, face wipes and baby wipes (and I am really glad I did, as the finishers area was long, and the blissful feeling of wiping the salt off my face, plus drinking nuun instead of plain water was good so soon after finishing). I had picked up some salad, and then I ordered a takeaway pizza from Pizza Express (I decided that I would drink more and relax more if I was in the flat, instead of going out for dinner) which Andy picked up on his walk back from the station.
I had also picked us up some cake for dessert- usually we would share a slice in the afternoon (if we are away for the weekend, not every day!!)- but with Andy being away I didn’t want one to myself. Anyway, I saw a cupcake shop and decided to get us one each, and then when I went inside I saw they had slices for sale- better value, and a better cake:icing ratio in my opinion. What I should have done is bought one to share, but as I had already decided on two cupcakes, I got two slices of cake- carrot cake and salted caramel. The slices were huge so we shared the carrot cake on the Saturday evening, and left the other one in the fridge.
I didn’t go to bed too late, but I felt like I hardly slept at all.
So, let’s fast forward to around 3 on Sunday afternoon. I met up with my parents and Andy on the beach, and we walked up the steps, and back to the flat- probably 5 minutes away so perfect. I got changed, and then we went out for dinner.
Originally I was thinking we would go out for lunch, and then once my parents left I would go back for a shower, before dinner. But although the race started nice and early, I crossed the start line at 9.30, so I didn’t meet up with them until around 3pm I think, and then by the time we had taken photos, walked up the steps, I had got changed, and then we had walked into town, it was just about 4pm- a bit late for lunch. I didn’t really think it through properly! Anyway, we went to Bill’s and I had a mezze plate with a huge tortilla wrap, tortilla chips (I swapped these for some of Andy’s sweet potato fries), hummus, some sort of sundried tomato dip thing, and an aubergine dip (and olives, which my dad had) as well as delicious peach iced tea and water. It was just right-beforehand I thought I would want a huge meal, but actually my stomach felt a bit weird- I think little and often was the way to go.
My parents went back to the station, so we walked back via Bluebird Tea co (I got one of their tea lattes with almond milk-so good). I say we walked- I was going pretty slowly by then! My vivofit tells me I did 66,634 steps (only a few more for 66,666- why didn’t I notice then??)- the walk to and from the town centre was over a mile each way, and that doesn’t include going up and down different roads.
After getting back to the flat, and eating a cinnamon roll (Andy went to 3 different Starbucks to get me one while I was running- what a lovely surprise), I got the energy to have a shower and put on my t-shirt after.
I did think it was a shame that it was not a technical t-shirt, and also was not a fitted one- I think it was a brilliant race, and yes you could buy technical tops beforehand, but I felt that it was maybe bad luck to buy a top before actually doing it. I wore it then, and I like it, but I can’t see me wearing it again. I have a t-shirt from a 10K I did in Nottingham years ago, and I still wear it as it is a nice top, and my Stockholm technical t gets regular outings on my runs. The cotton t-shirts get relegated to decorating/ gardening wear, or torn up for rags, and I don’t want to do that to this one.
I then found out that I had managed to get sunburn on the backs of my legs- I had put suncream everywhere else, but it hadn’t occurred to me because I have been wearing running tights up until this week. I also then realised that I had forgotten to put on my calf sleeves (my lovely new pink ones) so these went on for the evening.
I tried to have a little sleep, but could not drift off so gave up on that idea. The rest of the evening was spent in slight agony- trying to get comfortable, having more tea, and a few snacks (hummus and carrot sticks, blueberries and soya yoghurt, half the caramel cake, and I topped up the Pret almond drink with almond milk which diluted the banana flavour enough for me to drink it).
I was pleased to not get a headache, especially running in the sun. I got to sleep OK, but woke up just before 4am, and just could not get to sleep. My legs were really hurting, so in the end I took some paracetemol and read for about half an hour, and then luckily I felt sleepy so drifted off for a bit more. I felt a bit like I had jet lag the next day though.
They had spray painted smiles on the roads so you knew when there were official photographers- they were on the ground on our walk back to the station. I think they should be painted randomly everywhere.
On Monday morning I was so hungry when I woke up! I had packed some apples, so had one, with some tea, while we pottered about. Andy went out to get us breakfast (an almond croissant), before we packed and walked back to the station. I was picturing myself having a little sleep on the train, so imagine my joy when we found that due to emergency engineering works, all trains were delayed, or cancelled. In the end we got one train part of the way (I had to stand, which was fine until the train went around a bend- agony!), waited for a bit and then got another train which had seats- phew. Calf sleeves were on again- I really wish I could get some thigh ones (is that a thing?)- I find the relief they provide once on is amazing.
Once home, I decided to order myself an i-tab, which has your name and finish time on it, to fix to the back of the medal.
I was thinking we would have a walk on Monday evening, but we had already walked to the Brighton station, and I was just shattered- even unpacking took a lot of effort! I also had to make a cake as I was seeing some friends on the Tuesday, so I wasn’t sat down the whole time.
So, there we have it. A very long recap of a couple of days by the seaside!
What is your favourite race memento? I do love a medal, and I am still looking for a nice medal hanger to display them, but a technical top will get worn (so long as it is the right size). I also have a boot bag from a cross country run back in 2010 I think- I used it this weekend for my running shoes.