Bristol Half Marathon 2012

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A few weeks ago, I went out for another long training run, and it was horrible. I was hoping to head somewhere near a half-marathon distance. Instead I did a horrible, slogging, slow 10K, and hated every minute of it.

I’m not entirely sure why — I may have been over-training, as I’d done quite a few longer-distance runs in the previous couple of weeks. And it was the evening, and maybe I was tired.

And, possibly, I might have been injured, as well. Because the Monday after that run, I could barely walk. I think I might have trapped a nerve, or something; certainly I was in a pretty poor way. Luckily that extreme didn’t last for long, with the pain gradually fading over the next couple of weeks.

But it wasn’t conducive to getting out and training. So I didn’t. I didn’t run at all, in fact, until yesterday’s Bristol Half Marathon, though I did cycle a fair bit, just geting around town.

So. I was pretty worried that I’d have another experience like my horrible Bath Half in March.

Luckily, that turned out not to be the case. I got a good night’s sleep on Saturday, after having some lovely lasagne cooked for me by my friend Emmeline. Sunday’s weather was great for running — cool and overcast, but dry — and I was feeling fairly optimistic by the time I got to the start line, even though I’d started the day with a bit of a headache. It helped that this was my fifth half-marathon, so I’m starting to feel a bit more blasé about them now.

And, to cut a long, 13-mile story short, I had a good run. As usual, I enjoyed most of the sights and sounds. Special mention to the guy who overtook me in the Portway tunnel whilst juggling three batons (that must take some practice!), and to the person in the ten-foot tall nurse outfit bouncing happily along…

I didn’t enjoy all the sounds, mind. As an introvert with a headache, I could certainly have done without the guy who dogged my heels from around the turnabout point on the Portway all the way to the finish, alternating inane, repetitive encouragement at the top of his hoarse, drunken-tramp voice with blasts on his air-horn, for example. He gets my prize for “most annoying co-runner of any race I’ve ever been in.”

But it didn’t seem to do my race any harm. I went happily through the 10K mark (where I pretty much ran into a wall on the Bath Half) and carried on jogging fine until the last two or three. At that point my legs started feeling a lot heavier, and I had to rely more on will-power and encouragement from the crowd to pull me round. But I carried on plodding, albeit rather less steadily if the RunKeeper track and stats are anything to go by, and crossed the finish line without ever dropping back to a walk.

Emmeline met me and accompanied me slowly up Park Street for my traditional post-race Rocotillos milkshake (strawberry, this time 🙂 ), and then I headed very, very slowly home for a very, very long bath. Hurrah!

The best news of all, apart from the fact I actually survived, was my official time: 2:47:33, which is my fastest half marathon time ever, beating last year’s Bristol half by about a minute and a quarter. Considering how worried I was about my training, I’m extremely pleased with that result…

All that, and I’ve raised a bit of money for Children’s Hospice South West, too. It’s not too late to bump up my total, if you’re inclined. My Just Giving page is here. Thanks!


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