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.


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.


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!


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.

15 miles, chicken and chocolate

Morning you fabulous people. Does anyone else feel like there needs to be a day in between Saturday and Sunday? A day to catch up on all the things you think you’re going to get done over the weekend but actually don’t. How many times has clean the kitchen floor been on my to-do list??

The weekend started off nicely, with a cheeky little trip to Nando’s on Friday night with my parents and Ben for a whole lotta chicken.

Nandos 21.02

So many choices of sauces! I went for mango and lime

I went for half a chicken, corn on the cob and side salad. How very Paleo of me (is that Paleo? Potentially…) 😉 I also got to eat Ben’s leftover chicken as well. Yum.

Saturday  morning we were up and at ‘em to help set-up Parkrun at Netley Abbey.

Netley Abbey It was the cricket pitch course again (five laps…snore). But I was determined to beat my time from last weekend (22:30). The weather was better and the course a bit drier.

It was quite nippy so I made sure I warmed up a lot – lots of walking lunges, high knees and strides. Then go go go!

IMG_6015 There’s me in the pink top and shorts. I felt really strong and just kept pushing. My pace dropped as I went along but I managed to maintain a speedier pace than last week.


In the end I got a time of 21:27 and was first female 🙂 Almost a minute off last week and I beat the lady that beat me last week, which was quite nice. And my lovely pregnant friend who is still running despite being fairly pregnant wasn’t far behind – I mean seriously, how inspiring is that?? I hope that’s me one day!

I foolishly did not prepare well for the next day’s long run. I ate a really big dinner and a lot of fudge the night before and felt very bloated and not too well when I went to bed. How stupid can I be?

Ben and me were planning to join up with our running club’s long run on the Sunday and for various different reasons, we managed to get there too late (by 5 minutes). This was really annoying as I was looking forward to running my long run with company and hadn’t brought my headphones or anything. Ben and me decided to part ways and just run on. I was aiming for 8.30-9min/mile pace and Ben wanted to do 9.30min/mile so we couldn’t really run together.

Anyway I headed off with the vague and optimistic hope that I could catch them knowing that a part of the group would be running Ben’s pace. This kept me entertained for about 8 miles thinking “Keep going, they’re just around this corner”. Happily I had no idea I got their route wrong and was going a completely different way…


I’d say it sort of went OK. I had some serious stomach cramps and moments when I thought I’d have to dive into a bush which wasn’t great. I had also brought only a tiny water bottle which disappeared by mile 10. And my legs felt very heavy and tired from the day before. The last two miles were spent mentally pushing myself and fantasying about a cold glass of water.

Basically I’d say 60% of the reason why the run wasn’t brilliant was because of the day before (hard Parkrun and bad preparation), 20% was my IT band feeling tired and niggling my knee (not major though) and 20% was mental. Not running with any music, podcast or conversation really put the focus on running and the miles counting down. It was nice to have that quiet time and focus but I’m not used to it for such a long run.

When I got home I had a glass of water within seconds. Best drink in the entire world. Then I stretched like a madwoman, had a huge bowl of porridge and then screamed the house down by having an ice bath.

Ice bath with socks I have to wear socks as my feet get so so cold. It took ages for them to warm up afterwards! Ben had to hug them for about five minutes. That’s love.

Then the rest of the day I somehow managed to get the ironing done, walk Alfie, prepare my lunches for the next few days and make Mars Bar crispie cakes for work! I then promptly collapsed onto the sofa and did nothing. Heaven.

I made the cakes for work to sell in order to raise some money for the charity (Make a Wish) I’m running for on Sunday’s Reading half marathon.

Mars bar crispie cake I went for the simplest baking I could. But still, what an arm work out! Stirring up melted chocolate with rice crispies is no small feat.

I made sure to save Ben one though when I cut them up this morning to take to work 😉


So a productive, tiring but brilliant weekend.

Now to relax a bit at work 😉 At least physically!!

What is the easiest thing you bake? I find everything hard to bake 😉

How do you recover after a long run/hard workout? All the foods!!

What’s your sauce of choice: hot, spicy, mild, sweet…? Sweet and spicy is one of my favourite.

**If you did want to sponsor me and my little team for the Reading Half you can find out fundraising page HERE. No donation is too small.**