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.
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.
I 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.
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.
Oh 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.
But 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!
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.