Process or Goal Orientated?

I thought I was goal-orientated. I’m ambitious, driven and determined. I create plans and lists for targets to hit and tick off. I’m a Type A personality (a very common thing in the fitness world).

But I was walking Alfie the other day and listening to the Marathon Talk podcast (episode 349) and Martin was interviewing an amazing guy called Joe Grant. Joe talked about the crazy challenges he had gone on, running and cycling hundreds of miles and going on fantastic adventures. What became apparent straight away was that he focused on the “journey” not the outcome, like his time or placings. It was all about the experiences he gained, the training he went through that got him to the point of doing all those incredible races.

It made me suddenly realise that that’s similar to how I think. OK I am in NO WAY comparing myself to this amazing ultra marathoning pro, but in terms of what he focuses on is exactly how I feel. I asked myself, why do I keep running marathons? Surprisingly it’s not to hit some elusive time goal or smash my PB. It’s the training weeks leading up, it’s hitting those long runs and feeling accomplished afterwards. Obviously not always as sometimes they suck and I feel pants, but you take the good with the bad. Next week’s run might be different. The fact is though that I don’t need a race to validate my running and fitness.

Of course I have time goals for marathons, because otherwise how would I know how to train or what pace to set off at? But if I don’t hit that goal it’s not a failure. The marathon, instead, is the goal – the victory lap. I’ve done the hard weeks of training, ticked off all those long runs and now I get to see if I can make it to the end.

When I got my PB at Liverpool of course I was over-the-moon but actually had I finished in a similar time to the marathons before or slower I’d have still been happy. That training cycle was awesome. Each week was showing me what I could do and the race was just the cherry on the top to say, “you did it, it worked! Well done!”. And no, it wasn’t because I was getting faster or hitting PBs. It was because most of the runs I felt strong and I was happy running.

It’s the same with parkrun. When I first started parkrunning I was keen to beat my time every Saturday I went and it drove me to injury after injury. I lost the love. But when I stopped caring about my time (to some extent of course, I still look at the results and enjoy seeing progress), parkrun suddenly became fun again. And instead of aiming for things like “sub-20 minutes” or “first female”, I now aim for how many different parkruns I can do over the UK. Where’s my next one going to be? Where can I visit next? What’s the course going to be like? Of course smashing out a fantastically fast time (for me) is fun once in a while, but if I don’t get a PB it’s not a waste or a failure. It’s just another experience on another day.

Like I said in a previous post, I’m reading the Brownlee brother’s books and it’s fascinating. I love hearing about how hard they train and how ambitious they are. Reading their book though does feel a little empty to me at times. The most interesting parts are when they talk about their training or race in depth and detail. Of course they can’t do this for every race because it would be a mammoth book, but even aside from this, what’s clear is that they are very goal-driven. A race to them is summed up by the outcome first and foremost: where did they place. OK obviously that is hugely important to them because they are professional elite athletes and their placing is what’s important at the end of the day, but I almost don’t care about where they came. I want to hear about the details and the experiences – the nitty gritty. Instead they sum up races very quickly with “the swim went well, the bike was hard and the run went fast and I came first”.

For me, when I write race recaps (different league and incomparable talent completely, of course) I go into flowery details about when I needed to pee, what gels I took and what that marshal said to me at mile five. My result is purely incidental. Yes it’s important, but it’s not why I set out to race. (Please forgive my stumbling comparison to the hugely talented Brownlee brothers, it’s a whole different thing I know but it just made me think how different elite athletes are to the average Jo(e)).

For Chester Marathon I just want to finish uninjured and with a smile on my face. The journey has been tough with its ups and downs in motivation and hot weather but I can look back fondly and think, if the marathon goes tits up then I don’t mind because that 21 miler was cool, running to Fareham parkrun was so much fun and the Reigate Half surprised me with how good it felt.

This is not a rambling post to try and sandbag my time or claim nonchalantly “I don’t care what time I finish”. Of course I care. In fact, I’ll lay it out for you bare:

  • A Goal: sub 3:30 (this is really quite ambitious considering my training but hey ho, aim high! If I feel good on the day who knows what could happen…all the planets need to align though)
  • B Goal: sub 3:35 (realistically this is within my grasp I think)
  • C Goal: I’d like to beat Boston’s time (sub 3:38) or at the very least sub 3:45. I did my 21 miler at around 8:15-8:20 pace and this time goal is sitting just under that pace. But it will also depend on tangents and things like that.

But ultimately, I’m happy as long as I finish uninjured. If I don’t get any of the above goals and “just” finish the marathon, it’s another one ticked off my list and (after some actual time off – I promise, this time!) I’ll be on to the next one, happy as ever. This is why I’m happy to tell you my goals because if I don’t achieve them, I’m not embarrassed or see myself as a failure. It’s something I can dissect and improve upon next time. *Rubs hands in glee* all that data, all those training runs…It builds into the next training plan to polish it all up for the next marathon.

Are you goal or process driven?

Why do you race?

Do you often have targets you want to achieve? What are those targets: times, experiences, quantities of events?

A few things to talk about…

Impending marathon aside (THIS Sunday, Chester Marathon in case I haven’t said it enough times…), I’ve been feeling rather positive and upbeat lately. OK in general I’m a positive and upbeat person anyway so this really isn’t that much of a change.

I’m a very much “glass half full” kinda girl. This can definitely work against me at times though when I think things like, “Oh I’m sure I’ll find my way back from my run in this unknown-to-me place, I don’t need to check my route/map” or “I have loads of time before I need to leave for this important appointment…”. But in general I think being optimistic is far better than pessimistic. Just my two pence (pence? Cents? Don’t know but I’m British so “pence” it is!).

After that random tangent… let’s crack on with some stuff on my mind.

New trainers: What is better, right? Actually they’re not that new anymore really but I haven’t mentioned them on the blog I don’t think. As part of the Run Reigate blogging experience (check out my race recap; it’s a great event!), I was gifted Brooks trainers to help me train – the dream scenario right? Thankfully I got to choose which trainers as I’m quite sensitive and injury-prone. I went for the Brook Adrenaline GTS trainers, which I’ve had previously but have since retired due to too high mileage.img_4897

I love the colour of these – minty gorgeousness! These trainers are ideal for me as I need support for my rubbish flat feet to stop me over-pronating. I know people argue that pronation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am very flat footed that I do need support. O’m continually working on strengthening my arches… though it is ongoing and painfully slow (though I’ve made a lot of improvements, hurrah).

Anyway, the trainers are very springy and supportive and I love them. I wear them alongside my Mizunos Wave Paradoxes. I’ve yet to decide which to wear for the marathon though…decisions decisions.

elete Holistic Hydrate electrolytes: I read about this initially from Lauren’s blog and was intrigued. The company reached out to me after I commented on the blog post so I happily got to try it out myself (for free, in exchange for a review).img_5435elete Holistic Hydrate is a zero calorie and zero artificial nasties product that is used to add to water in order to hydrate effectively. It contains a balance of magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride, which are all key electrolytes, as well as over 60 other naturally occurring trace and ultra trace elements.img_5434Why are electrolytes important? Well in fairly basic terms, electrolytes help keep the body functioning as muscles use electrical impulses to do certain things and so we require a number of minerals in electrolyte form (ionical charged minerals) to help this happen. The electrolytes help keep the fluid and pH balance in your body. I’m not a scientist (obviously) so that’s about as far as I’ll go with this, but the website has lots more information. Basically electrolytes can help maintain hydration, prevent muscle cramps, sustain energy and endurance and enhance mental focus.

I’m a big fan of using electrolytes during and after running. I really like this product for many reasons. One because it has the decent line up of electrolytes and two because it’s practically tasteless. I say practically only because if you don’t dilute it with enough water it can taste slightly salty. However this is easily eliminated by increasing the amount of water you use (2.5ml teaspoon of elete to one litre of water is ideal, I can barely taste a difference). You can also add this to food!! It’s such a small dinky bottle as well that i can take it with me to races or in my handbag. Very very handy. Just a few drops and boom, your water is upgraded. Love it.

Getting the itch to speed train: This whole marathon cycle I really haven’t done any proper speed workouts. I’ve done some very informal fartleks and speedier parkruns, but in general I’ve just ran however I fancied. Now this has been fantastic and also sensible due to my hamstring niggle/issue that I was still feeling the effects of months after Boston. It didn’t hinder my running or cause me pain but it was definitely an echo and made me think twice before pushing things. (Incidentally, my hamstring is 100% fine now thankfully! *Touch wood*)

My times therefore haven’t increased dramatically. I’m minutes away from PBs in most distances. But I’m OK with that because I’ve enjoyed injury-free running and I’m not PB hunting anyway and, finger’s crossed, I’ll get to this marathon unscathed and hopefully finish similarly.

The half marathon the other day did get me itching for the buzz of a speedier run though. I decided to head out the other evening and do some intervals on my own. I did a mile warm-up which gave me a chance to see how my legs were feeling and whether mentally I was up for pushing things. I was, so decided to do three fairly fast (for me at the moment) 1km loops, with 1km slower loops in between.1k-intervals

My speeds aren’t exactly crazy fast (for me) but it’s encouraging. After this marathon I’m going to be trying my hardest to put more effort into doing speed workouts. So going to the track workout sessions with my club and doing hill sessions. It’s not with a view to smash out PBs but rather to change things up as I feel like my running has become a bit stagnant and my paces all blur into one. It’s nice sometimes to feel that “omg I’m going to die” burst of speed and the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a session.

But, like I said, after the marathon and that very much assumes I’ll survive it uninjured! And we all know, that’s not a given for me!

Do you do speed workouts regularly?

What are your favourite speed workout sessions? I love a good hills session.

How do you stay hydrated?

parkrun Review: Netley Abbey

So I thought I’d start a blog series on different parkruns. Though of course the parkrun website is always the best and first place to look for information about where the course is, parking etc., it’s always nice to have someone give you a first-hand account of what a parkrun is like. Obviously I haven’t done a huge number so this will hopefully be a growing list (one more until parkrun tourism #20!). And if anyone fancies contributing or doing a post, that would be fab (or pointing me in the direction of other people’s posts so I can link to so there can be more than one view). I thought I’d start with my home parkrun, Netley Abbey parkrun.img_1762Location: It’s set in the lovely Royal Victoria Country Park. It’s not that hard to find and once you arrive at the park you can usually see the signs and flags. The scenery is pretty with lots of trees, foliage and a view out to the sea.

Parking: There are lots of car parks in RVCP. It’s £1.50 to park if you buy a one hour ticket and leave a spare parkrun barcode printed next to it on display (and can park from 8-11am). Otherwise I think it’s £3. There are places outside of RVCP but they’re residential areas and, understandably, people can get a bit annoyed with lots of cars parking up and down their road. But usually parking isn’t an issue.

Amenities: There’s a lovely little cafe on the grounds and this has toilets (just outside of the cafe). The cafe serves hot drinks, cold drinks, cake, crisps, ice cream and snacks and lots of hot food options. It’s great!

Course: There are quite a few different course options at Netley due events that happen throughout the year and due to the weather. The usual course is a three lapped course that starts along a stone-tracked path (not horrific to run on as the stones are quite compact and small, but not as nice as flat ground).

img_5532The start area on the stones

Then you head up into Bluebell Woods. There’s a small hill that is neither very steep nor long lasting and then you head off to do a quick loop round the wood bits on a dirt/road track.

img_9264In the woods

You then come back down the small hill (keep to the right!) and swing round to go along some road for about 30 seconds before heading onto the grass. The grass is fairly even though there are some sneaky potholes to be wary of.img_9863You go round a few trees to finish off the lap before starting on the stones again. During the winter there can be many puddles on the stone track and you’re likely to get muddy and wet.netley-abbey-parkrun-courseUsually during winter we switch to the winter course which is tougher. It again involves three laps but instead of running straight to Bluebell Woods it goes down a decline towards the nearby coast and you run alongside the water for a bit. This can get very windy and if it’s raining can be hard-going. You then run back up another path, but this time at an incline which though isn’t that steep does seem to go on forever. The rest of the route is fairly similar though instead of going along the grass you just head back down the stone path to repeat the lap.netley-winter-courseOccasionally, due to summer events, we’re moved to the cricket pitch. This is called the “Marmite Course” because it’s five laps of the pitch which are very flat but quite dull. It’s a great way to get a PB but it does drag on. It’s also tough remembering how many laps you’ve done!

netley-abbeyThe cricket pitch on a misty morning

Elevation: Like I said, one small hill you do three times. You get to run back down it so it kind of evens up.netley-abbey-parkrun-elevationElevation gain is 70ft over the entire run.

Number of participants: This parkrun isn’t hugely busy. We normally get 200-250 participants. It gets busier if other parkruns in the area have been cancelled for whatever reason. Though it isn’t that busy it can feel crowded at times because of the switchbacks. We have a lot of “Keep Right” signs on the course to try and ease this but it doesn’t always helps as faster runners want to overtake and if there are a lot of runners with running buggies. Running with dogs is also allowed and a couple of people do it regularly but the dogs are usually well under control.img_2483It’s a very friendly parkrun and I fully recommend it. No it’s not a PB course but it is pleasant and pretty!

  • Tamsyn Smith from Fat Girl to Ironman blog wrote a recap of the winter course HERE. You can also see more information from their Facebook page and Twitter.
  • Emily writes a fantastic blog reviewing different parkruns and she wrote a recap of the winter course here.

If you’d like to write a parkrun review for this parkrun or any other one you’ve been to, please contact me: annatheapple@gmail.com I’d love more input!

Have you ever been to Netley Abbey before?

Do you like big parkruns or small parkuns in terms of number of participants?

Do you like to go to a cafe after parkrun?

Last long run and dating frustrations

This was my last weekend before the Chester Marathon. I had one last long run to do and decided on 12 miles, an arbitrary number based on the fact that I had a good route for 12 miles.

I would have done it on Sunday morning but I was going to be marshalling fairly early at a local race so I decided to do it Saturday…But this also meant a very early morning and sadly not being able to do parkrun as my dad and me were heading to the O2 at 9am. We had gotten tickets to Empire Live, which is an event done by the Empire film review magazine. I’m a huge fan of their podcast and we had tickets to watch the it being recorded live. We also had tickets (it came as a package) to see some old and new films at the cinema there but the timings didn’t work out (we’d have had to have left super early or stayed there later than we fancied) and really we were only interested in the podcast, having a nice meal and a wander around.

Anyway, so Saturday morning saw me up again at 5.45am to be running by 6.30am. I felt very tired in general and like I should be in bed during the first mile but then I woke up a bit and got going (basically woman’ed-up). I saw a gorgeous sunrise over a farmer’s field that was growing pumpkins and it really was a beautiful sight. I wished I’d have taken a photo but I couldn’t be bothered with the faff. A bit later on though I did decide to snap a photo as I was a bit more compos mentos…img_5306The run seemed to fly by quite quickly. The temperature was lovely and cool and only started slightly warming towards the end. I did have a near miss moment with a squirrel that I almost ran over. I don’t know who was more shocked, the squirrel or me! He (she?) lept out of the bushes and in a comedy-esque moment stopped dead-still wide-eyes when he (she?) saw me. Then ran away.

capture

And my last long run was done! Woohoo! It’s funny because this twelve mile run was exactly the same as one of the first long runs I did when I started this marathon training. I did that run in an average pace of 8.20min/mile and for this run I did it in 8min/miles. Good progress I think!img_5329Then I got showered super fast and we were on the road to London. I decided to just have two apples for breakfast en route as I wasn’t that hungry to have anything bigger straight away and we were having a big early lunch as soon as we got there that I didn’t want to spoil.o2I’ve never been to the O2 before so it was quite cool seeing it – it’s huge! We’d booked a table at a Brazilian restaurant called Rodizio Rico which was fantastic.rodico-o2It was the usual Brazilian-style cuisine with a huge salad bar and the waiters offering different meats on skewers. I was in heaven. I was so proud of my dad who was very restrained and careful about his choices (he’s trying to lose weight). In fact, I think we were both quite good. I ate a lot but not so much that I felt uncomfortable (like I do so often!). It was very tasty but it did start to get really busy as a Marvel event finished and about 20 families with little children came in. Our cue to exit fast 😉img_5341The live podcast was fantastic and really showed how good the guys who run it are as they’re exactly the same on and off mic. They’re so charismatic and knowledgeable about films. There were two guests interviewed as well, Tom Bennett (from Love & Friendship and the Ricky Gervais film) and Mike Colter (he’s in the new Luke Cage series – I didn’t really know who he was but he was a really nice guy and built like a house). It was a really fun thing to watch. We then had a mosey about and a (free!) drink in the Empire Hub (which was like the main congregating area) and then we headed home.

The next morning I was up at 7am to help marshal the Perform 5 race, which is very local to me and is helped run by my club. I took Alfie with me and we walked to the cricket stadium, the Ageas Bowl, which is just up the road and we collected our bibs, signs and instructions.img_5348My instructions were so confusing about which side of the road needed to be closed and for how long. It was really quite stressful. I would have to stop traffic but it wasn’t clear from which way! I was so worried about telling cars to stop but not knowing if I actually should be telling them to stop. In the end another marshal came and joined me on my spot to help out as no one could work out what the instructions meant.img_5354

We worked it out thankfully after coordinating with the marshals up and down the road and could relax a bit until the race actually began. We were around 4ish miles so it would be a while until the first runners got to us. We were right next to Burger King so we used their facilities and bought some coffee 😉

img_5359The lovely Louise and me

I think our position is now a coveted one due to how convenient it’s location is 😉 As the runners started passing through I really got into cheering them on. I started yelling silly things like “Pain is temporary! Glory is forever!” and “the incline is a figment of your imagination!” and got a few laughs and wry smiles. I really enjoyed myself. Alfie even got a few quick strokes.

After my marshalling duties I then headed out for my own run. Four miles round the block. It was windy but lovely and sunny. The run started fairly sluggishly but then I got faster as I went on. The route was a new one to me and nice because it was literally two miles away from home then swinging back for two miles home again so it felt quite satisfying.4-miles

 

 

 

I then got showered super quickly and made some lunch. I had a date planned (met through Internet dating, God help me) for a coffee in Winchester at 2pm so I needed to have an early lunch. I’d luckily had an early breakfast so this worked out nicely…Until the prospective date cancelled at the last minute saying his mum wasn’t well and her partner had asked him to look after her at the last minute as he wasn’t there. I’d practically given myself indigestion trying to eat as quickly as I could to make the time. *Sighs* I’d washed my hair, put a nice outfit on and made some actual effort…for it to be wasted. Oh well! I went shopping with my mum instead. Hey hum.

Do you do any marshalling at races?

Have you been to the O2 before?

Have you ever had a date cancel on you?

Reigate Half Marathon recap

I was both excited and anxious about the Reigate Half Marathon. I was excited because I it was a switch-up from the usual long run grind I’ve been doing week after week, but I was anxious because my runs lately haven’t felt amazing.img_5066I had a terrible run on the Thursday evening before that made me seriously doubt the sub 1:40 goal I had in my mind. Running at 8 minute miles for 6 miles that evening was a struggle. It was a really warm evening so this probably had an effect but it mentally knocked me. The parkrun on Saturday helped relieve some of my nerves but I still didn’t like going into a race without a real plan of attack.

Reigate is about an hour and a half away from my parent’s house, where I was staying the night before. My dad had kindly offered to drive me and support me and we planned to make it into a fun day with Nando’s afterwards. We left at 7am and I had my porridge and black coffee en route.

We were actually a little close to the mark of timings as we arrived and parked at 8.45am (the race began at 9.15am). Parking was easy to find and there were loads of car parks – and only £3! We then walked the short distance and got momentarily distracted by a very cool looking McLaren car. This was the lead vehicle! (Though my dad pointed out what a terrible journey that would be for the driver going less than 10mph for just over an hour).img_5062We arrived at 9am at the race village. It was quite chilly that morning so I was glad to have on my new Brooks leggings over my shorts and the Brooks long-sleeved top but I started panicking as I realised how little time I had to get into my running gear (take leggings off, put compression socks on and attach bib to top).reigate-half-marathon-race-villageIt was fairly overcast for which I was grateful for. A nice cool run, I was hoping. The race village was really quite impressive and set in the lovely Priory Park.

I quickly got myself in gear and said goodbye to my dad, who was on a mission to find some good spots to stand and cheer at over the course.img_5069Now it was 9:05am and I wasn’t even in the right wave yet, argghh. I quickly squirrelled my way through people past the different Xempo paces (saw Susie Chan pacing 2 hours, she was very friendly) and then spotted my friend, Matt who was pacing 1:45. It was a very quick hello as I was still needing to get a bit further forward.img_5078I also managed to fan girl a bit about Kelly Holmes being on stage literally right next to us.img_5075She was giving lots of encouragements and advice (and had done the warm-up, of which I’d missed of course).

And breathe. I was in the right spot, my phone was tucked into my armband holder and my music was ready to play (my playlist was basically three albums I’m enjoying at the moment, picked purely for enjoyment rather than to get me to run fast as I wasn’t sure if I would be running fast but didn’t want to listen to nothing or a podcast).

The race started with a rather long incline that I wasn’t expecting. I suppose it helped stop me begin like a bat out of hell (which I do so often and shoot myself in the foot). After the incline (not really a hill, but definitely an incline) there was a nice decline and then I settled into a solid rhythm. I saw my dad within the first mile and he said he’d see me at mile 10.

And then realised I needed to pee. I HADN’T HAD MY PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY WEE. And it definitely wasn’t a psychological one either. I knew I’d left drinking my coffee too late. I tried not to think about it but realised I was inadvertently looking at bushes considering my options. I decided to forget it but if a portaloo appeared then I’d stop. Happily at the first water station (mile 3?) there were a row of portaloos and I dashed inside.

Honestly, I’m amazed at how fast I was in and out of there. I spotted the girl I was running next to up the road (bright pink shorts) and aimed to get back there – not by sprinting but by running probably 15 seconds faster than I had been. I just fixated on those pink shorts (not in a weird way…) and got back to my original area of people.

At this point I was consistently running around 7.30min/miles. It felt fishy. This was a pace I’d been running at parkrun lately (my best times being around 22 minutes at the moment). And yet 7.30s were feeling comfortable (not a breeze, but comfortable). I was
wearing my Fitbit (I wear both my Fitbit and my Garmin when I run) and checked my heart rate. It was 170 which I didn’t think was too bad. I decided to keep at the pace I was at as it felt fine but I’d monitor my heart rate. If it went up I’d slow down.splits

Actually I did have to keep slowing myself down a few times, reminding myself I had a long way to go. In the back of my mind I wondered if the pace I was at was too fast and that I’d pay for it later but I thought, “what the hell, just embrace it”.

The course runs through beautiful country roads. There are a few undulations, but after every incline there was always a decline. Along the way clusters of people were
standing on the sides cheering or handing out jelly babies and it felt very friendly. The marshals were all lovely and it just felt like a nice race, you know? A lovely run through the countryside ticking off the miles.

The sun did come out though and this made things all a bit sweaty but it wasn’t humid or overbearing. It also wasn’t crowded but there were enough people that you were usually running alongside two or three people at all times.splits2It was nice knowing my dad was at mile 10 so it broke the race up nicely.img_5103It’s always nice knowing where your supporters are roughly going to be as it meant from mile nine I could start looking around and this took my mind of running.img_5108I spotted him literally under the mile 10 sign and we smiled and waved and I shouted, “just a parkrun to go!”.img_5102I then switched my music to my parkrun/speed-workout playlist as I was ready to go-go-go. Sadly the course wasn’t quite optimal to put the hammer down as some rolling inclines increased in frequency and the most horrific hill appeared at mile 12.reigate-half-elevationIt was a BEAST. A few people walked it and fared the same as me running it (I say “running”, the motions were there but the speed was not). Then there was another equally sharp hill afterwards. A lovely marshal shouted “it’s a short one!” which really helped to know. Then a sign saying “Caution Steep Decline” appeared and it was like party-time for my legs to speed up and goooo!splits3(Well, in my head I was going speedy!) I kept pushing and finally reached the race village area and knew it would be over soon. A marshal shouted at me that I was in the top ten females and that pushed me on faster. I smiled all the way to the finish and was greeted by lots of people cheering and shouting us in. It was a fantastic finish line.img_5081My time was 1:37:45; I was not in fact in the top ten females ( was 14th (or possible 13th if Matthew made a mistake…) as it’s chip-timed of course so I might have been top ten gun time but not chip time – hey, I’ll take 14/13th position! I was SO pleased. Yes I’m like three minutes off my PB and over a minute off Weymouth Half earlier in the year but  honestly I was so chuffed. I felt in control of the race (besides the hill) and comfortable. I wasn’t dying at the end either. It really has given me a HUGE boost of confidence exactly when I needed it. I was floating along happily, getting my medal, water, banana and perfectly fitting technical t-shirt.img_5089Happy days indeed!reigateBy now it was very warm though! It gave me a good excuse to show off my lovely Brooks sports bra which by the way is fantastic. Do you know why? Because you can undo it from the back exactly like a normal bra. This means no sweaty-almost-getting-stuck-horrific sports bra removal process. It’s just a quick unclasp and boom, done. It’s also very comfy and supportive (though I’m hardly the most blessed in this department to be the best judge).

I also nipped into the massage tent and a truly fabulous 10 minute FREE massage as well.img_5090I was still sweating as I laid on the bed which was, erm, pleasant.

My dad and me had a wander round the village and saw loads of amazing food tents offering loads of different foods, like Indian cuisine, burgers, Italian food, etc.reigate-half-race-villageIt was a great atmosphere. I also bumped into fellow blogger,Beki (aka Miss Wheezy). She’d run the 10k earlier. We had a nice little natter and it was lovely to meet her in person!img_5097Then my dad and me headed off to refuel, Nando’s-style.img_5115Standard whole chicken with a side salad and endless Diet Coke. I was heaven.

I thoroughly enjoyed this race. It was well organised and good fun. It had the feels of a big half, like Reading, but with a better and more picturesque course (and not as crowded). I went away with a smile on my face.img_5119And what was lovely was that the design of the medal had been done by a clearly very talented five year old boy. Lovely touch!

What makes a race a good one for you?

How do you know a race is going well for you?

Do you like to travel out for races or prefer to stick to nearby ones? I love going to different and far-away places for races as I get to see other parts of the UK (and the world!).

**Full Disclaimer: I was given a free entry into the race as well as further products to help with my training and racing. All opinions are my own honest ones. I fully recommend this race and would happily enter it myself another year**