I realised the other day that I have not really kept a record of my training for the Bristol Half Marathon. I also realised that I have been 'in training' for the last nine months as I didn't take a break from running between completing the Bath Half in March and deciding to run the Bristol Half again. In some ways, training has just become part of my normal routine. However that is not to say that it has been easy. Some days it felt like I was pulling my body through a sludgy swamp. This time round I've felt the physical effects of running on my body, with achey knees and a back that feels like it's compacting, I feel like I'm wearing my body out too quickly.
Having been struck with a stinking cold and a hacking cough for the last 8 days, I knew that I was unlikely to be running like road-runner, but have been telling myself I can do it, it's all about mind over matter. The day started misted and cold, changing to glorious sunshine by 8.30am. Not the best conditions for running in. I felt pretty calm - I seem to have got the hang of not allowing nerves to get to me on the race day as I know there's no need to be nervous - and so enjoyed the atmosphere created by 16,000 runners getting ready to run the 13.1 miles. As I lined up at the start line, it was lovely to have my friend's 4 year old daughter Phoebe (one of my favourite children) shouting my name from the sideline.
I started off well, running 8 minute miles for the first 8 miles which I totally had not anticipated doing, so took myself by surprise. But I could not sustain this speed so slowed down to a more leisurely 9 minute miles. It's quite amazing how the last 3 miles feel like they're getting longer and longer - by the last 1 I was so desperate to see the finish line, and so, so thankful to finish, as my head had started feeling rather fuzzy by this point. I walked the 40 metres to collect my medal and goodie bag (providing me with some much needed chocolate) in a total daze. I seemed to have lost control of my legs and so was totally unable to walk in a straight line. I don't think I have ever craved food as much as I do when I run half marathons!
I made one slight mistake and did what all the training programmes and running magazines tell you not to do - I wore a new pair of shorts that I bought yesterday - which made for some rather nasty chaffing : (