Challenge 10 – Ealing Half Marathon

What a weekend – firstly on Friday supporting Wish Dad Tony on his attempt to cycle the 200 miles from Worcester to Eastbourne and then on Sunday running Ealing Half Marathon.

For the last three weeks I have been focused on getting myself ready for these two events, trying to get my tendinitis under control so I could at least make the 13.1 mile distance. Life is about challenges, we grow when we face and overcome them – I’m not one for seeking out the comfortable life so I was never going to miss either event. That’s not to say I’m reckless, but I believe that you have to at least try and in that way you can never regret any thing you do.

Ealing Half was about going out and having fun, enjoying the run and the crowds and just plodding around what is, based on various reviews, the UK’s best half marathon. This was my first race in costume, albeit it wasn’t as epic as some of the other runners efforts – there was a tap, a duck and bear (possibly a Panda) from memory. Again, it was billed to be a hot day and the British weather, for once, did not disappoint – an absolute scorcher.

The start, in Lamas Park, is a huge long funnel and as such the start of the race was fairly slow and congested making it hard to find a pace I was happy with. I felt for large parts of this Half that I was ducking and weaving around people, cars and going up over pavements. I’m not fast but it just shows how easily people can get backed up when start waves all go off closely together. My pace was by an large around the 8:30m/m throughout although I attempted to push the final 2 miles, getting down to 7:3m/m although I suffered with a stitch at the end where the race re-enters Lamas Park for one lap. It was like I couldn’t breathe and as such getting over the line was hard – and can be seen from the race photos. Running in a wig is, well interesting, I was fighting synthetic hair in my eyes and mouth and it held the heat in, after the race I definitely noticed the dehydration – I think it was this that may well have also brought on the stitch. I stuck to the fuelling strategy I have used for the other Half’s I’ve completed this year – oats for breakfast followed by a energy bar about an hour before the start. I then have one High5 EnergyGel before the start and a further sachet at miles 8 and 10 to see me through the final few miles.

All said and done it ended up being a Half Marathon PB, albeit only by a minute. So for me it has shown the that hard work in respect to strength training and active recover is paying off and making me a stronger runner.

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A final point on some of the pluses of this particular event – I’m in no way a celebrity, but running in any kind of costume definitely adds something to a race – I was cheered at every turn and team at the baggage area were seriously efficient, getting peoples bags ready before they were even at the table. The course, being in London, means there is plenty of support and virtually the whole course was lined with people – handing out water, sweets and oranges. This generosity, cheering and the support lifts your tired legs and pushes you on – I have no doubt that this was a big factor in me running a lot faster than I had planned.

The medal is nicely designed and pretty darn weighty, but as I’ve always said for me they are a nice memento rather than the reason to run – it’s a marker of personal progress and change.

Why?

Just a reminder that this year of challenges is all in aid of Make-A-Wish UK, so that they can continue to grant even more magical wishes to children facing life threatening conditions. I aim to raise £5,000 by the end of the year so every pound really does help. If you’d like to donate please visit

www.justgiving.com/milesforwishes

What’s next?

On the 8 October I will be running my first Marathon at Bournemouth, which I am both excited and scared about. Having never run a marathon it’s a bit of an unknown, but I will as ever go in to it with a positive mind-set.

A week later I am taking what I hope will be the best challenge yet – as my girls and I will be running in the Big Fun Run at Milton Keynes. Having them with me will be really special and the day itself looks like its going to lots of fun.

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