Reading Half Marathon

Hello lovelies. Well, I am shattered! Ben and me completed the Reading half marathon yesterday and it was great. We survived! Hurrah! Here’s my recap of the race.

It feels crazy that it was only last year I ran this half marathon and it was my first proper race. I trained for like 12 weeks for it. Now it’s part of my marathon training. Honestly, I would never have believed you a year ago if you’d told me that.

Saturday evening we both had a pizza to carb it up and had a nice early night.

Pre-half marathon pizza My standard chicken, veg and BBQ sauce – hold the cheese

The alarm went off at 6.15am. I quickly walked Alfie, got ready, had breakfast (porridge) and a coffee. My parents and Ben’s mum arrived and we were off to Reading.

Pre-half photoI decided to go with my shorts and compression socks again as I felt so comfortable in them and liked the extra support that I find the socks give. But I was a bit chilly and thankful for my parents so I could wear my jacket and then hand it over to them at the last minute.

Reading half marathon race village The race village was cool with a huge inflatable shoe. It was very busy. We saw Tony the Fridge (top right picture) who was running the half marathon with a fridge on his back for charity. What an inspiration!

Then we said goodbye to the parents and headed to our waves. By this point I had had three pees and I would then queue up for another pee in our wave (we had a lot of time). That’s got to be a record for me.

At start half marathonOh we were so cold waiting to start. It was also fairly late starting. We did the group warm-up and then we waited for another five or so minutes, by which time we were cold again.

Then we were off. I have to say mile one to mile three weren’t great for me. I felt they were a slog. It was very busy with the amount of people but this kept my speed down so I didn’t shoot off which I was pleased about. There’s a huge temptation in the big races to let the excitement get to you but luckily this was not the case. There were a few inclines and I just felt that it was a lot of hard work so soon.

We got into Reading University and I started to get into it. My paces were coming down and I felt comfortable and strong. I grabbed a water from the water station. It might be because I’m a bit slow but I serious issues with these water things. I say ‘things’ because they’re not bottles, they’re like pouches of water. I didn’t really know how to get the water out so squeezed it in my mouth and then got choked by a gush of water. I spent the next 30 seconds almost dying.

I’d say miles four to eight I was happy. I was enjoying the crowds, my music, the bands, the atmosphere. It felt comfortably hard but I was in the racing zone.

I saw the parents at mile seven which was lovely.

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Miles nine to the end were when I had to put my head down and push on. I had had a gel at mile eight and was now counting down the miles.

The stretch at mile 11 down the dual carriageway was hard going. The wind was in our faces.

Hilarious side story: a man (I say man because he was at youngest 18, but potentially early twenties) was running alongside me. His family were ahead and cheered him on. His mother (probably in her late 50s) starts running alongside him yelling encouragement at him. This continues for about 30 seconds to a minute. The guy just looks like he wants to die. It was hilarious. I think everyone around thought it was somewhat amusing.

Then that horrible incline into the Madejski Stadium and a great finish into the crowds cheering.

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My official time was 1:39:35, 2275th. I’m quite happy with that. My two goals were to beat last year’s time and hopefully to get a sub 1:40. There was no way I could get a PB at my current fitness level and also Reading was never a goal race.

Ben got 1:46:12, 3847th – a PB by six minutes. That boy is on fire!

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We went to the lovely Jamie’s Italian for lunch (more on that in another post) after getting changed. Ahh the great joy of getting changed in the back of a car…

Then when we got home I had a lovely hot shower (nothing quite like it after a hard race where you’re freezing afterwards). And then a horrific ice bath.

IMG_6066But with a cup of tea and good reading material it wasn’t so bad…ha.

I think I’m done with Reading now. I’d like to do Silverstone or Bath next year I think. I’ve enjoyed running Reading but it’s not that scenic and when you’ve done it a couple of times it’s sort of done and dusted. I’d definitely recommend it though: great crowd support pretty much all round, very popular so you’re never running alone, brilliant finish in the stadium, nice goodie bag (snacks and cotton T-shirt) and the best medal I’ve had in a while!Reading half marathon 2014 medal

Thank you Reading, it’s been great 😉

What did you get up to this weekend?

What’s your favourite half marathon (or race)?

How do you recover from a race? It’s all about food for me, then showering, then ice bathing. Then NOTHING.

20 thoughts on “Reading Half Marathon

  1. I love how you and Ben run marathons together, it’s really sweet. I doubt I could ever get Alfie to do one, but maybe one day he may surprise me 🙂 Well done on another amazing time, you definitely deserved a lovely meal at Jamie’s Italian.

  2. Brilliant!! I know it’s not a PB but that’s a seriously good time off the back of an injury and in the midst of marathon training, well done 🙂

  3. Fabulous – well done to you both! I know you didn’t get a PB (not that you were looking for one), but I think it’s brilliant that you did it at all 🙂 It’s lovely that you share this hobby with Ben too, that’s something I really like about cycling, sharing it with Mr PoP. Hope you’re not too sore today!

  4. Oh, I absolutely hate those water pouches. It’s fine if a volunteer has already opened it for me (and I always thank them regardless), but trying to tear the top off in exactly the right place so that you can actually drink from the thing without getting it all over you (while on the move – I can’t afford to stop in half marathons!) is next to impossible…at least for me. I’m not very co-ordinated!

    Congratulations on a fantastic race, and so soon after coming back from injury too. I’ve seen Fridge Man so many times he must think I’m stalking him 😉 But he does run a lot of races up here…speaking of which, no half on Earth can surpass the Great North Run: it would be brilliant if you could come to the North East and try it some time, although the ballot is now so inundated with entries that it’s really difficult to get a place first time. You never know though: you might be lucky 🙂

    Any chance of a close-up of that medal? It looks gorgeous!

    xxx

    • The first pouch gushed in my mouth (hmmm, that sounds wrong). And the second one, like you mentioned, wasn’t torn off and I couldn’t get anything out. When you’re running and trying to navigate the damn thing it’s a nightmare!
      The GRN is on my bucket list, believe me. Sadly they’re sold out and I don’t fancy raising money for charity again as I’ve already rinsed my friends and family dry for this half marathon! So next year I think.
      I don’t know why I forgot to upload the photo of the medal, but I’ve done it now ^^ It’s a beaut!

  5. Wow well done to you both! You have come back from your injury so well- those targets were sensible for you and you smashed them!
    Ha I love your comment about changing in the car! After I did Blenheim I could not be bothered to walk back to the village and change (I was too late for the bag drop) so I just put up my boot and stood behind it to change- a lot of wiggling about under a baggy t-shirt to swap bras over!
    I really like Brighton- I’ve only done it once (Andy has done it twice) but the weather was fab both years, plus I love running by the sea so that scenery never gets old. And I love any excuse for a weekend in Brighton!
    Our local one (St Albans) is good, but hilly, although I never find it too bad as you can get up speed on the downhill sections, plus it is through a lot of country roads so nice scenery.
    Andy did Silverstone (it was the year I was meant to but couldn’t) but he said it was so tough as there was no shade and of course when you watch the cars speed around you don’t realise how far it is, plus the camber on the tracks can make it tough. However I would like to do that one at some point as it feels like unfinished business.
    I liked the Oxford one too actually- I would do that one again at some point. Gosh, so many to choose from! I like new ones though as I think it is great to see new places while you run.

    • My family joked that we need a race mini bus so we can get changed easily in the back and then have beds set up where we can lie on the way home haha. Wouldn’t that be great?
      I am reconsidering Brighton next year. I think my initial reaction of not wanting to do it again was that I used it as a training run so I wasn’t mentally in a racing zone. I think if I was going to actually attempt a PB on it it would be different. It is fairly flat and the scenery is good. But quite an early start for us!
      I think we will probably do Silverstone only because my dad got very excited at the prospect of seeing the track (bless him). And it is one I think you need to do at some point.
      But there are so so many on my list (including GNR).

  6. Well done on another great race! And the same to Ben as well! Six minutes off a half PB is excellent! I’ve not come across those water pouch things but I struggle enough with opening a regular water bottle whilst running so I can guarantee I won’t be a fan!
    I ran Silverstone in 2012 as it’s not far from where I live and I wanted to experience a race with large start numbers before my first marathon but it wasn’t one of my favourites. Despite only really living just up the road i queued for a good two hours to get in. When we were on the course I couldn’t keep track of where we were or if we’d passed the same bit before. I ended up having a rubbish race as the weather was so hot and I set out too fast for the weather conditions with the sun beating off the tarmac. Then queued for a further two hours to get out of the car park and head home! I did have medal envy looking at this year’s medal though. Maybe next year…
    My favourite half is Bedford, – not too flat but not too hilly either and lovely scenery!

    • Ahh traffic sucks. Well, we’ll bare that in mind if we do decide to do it next year. I can imagine it getting a bit rammed as it’s not a city half marathon but more of a location half marathon – if that makes sense.
      Bedford you say….I will check that out.

    • So we’ll add delusional to paranoid. All the current polls show Christie ahead, but he has a “secret” internal poll that shows him losing badly and that’s why he wants an early debate? Natch. I’m amazed that you aren’t working for Carville or one of the other great campaign management teams with that type of political insight.Fred – You need to get Ted his own column or blog. His work would draw people like flies.

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