Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Photo Diary: Cambridge Half Marathon 2017

Cambridge Half Marathon 2017 Cover photo CH Cover_zpsjppfddou.jpg

So. I did it. It being the Cambridge Half Marathon, something I've been banging on about both here on the blog and social media as well.

Cambridge Half finish photo CH4_zpsirsutglu.jpg

It's a big deal for me because it's a new event- I'd never run a half marathon before but also because in 2017 I decided I wanted to train happy- click if you missed my post. In part that goal came about because in training for & running a marathon in 2015, I had a rough time. I questioned not only why I was putting myself through the training but the aftermath of the event itself left me with self-doubt, a complete inability to enjoy exercise- you can read more about my marathon experience here. So here's how it went down...

Cambridge Half kit photo 32866527910_79ecc04e2e_o_zps2bifleki.jpg

21:30 Saturday night

The classic kit-lay. I really struggled to decide which of my favourite kit items to wear for the race but in the end decided my Cancer Research t-shirt over long sleeves was best for the weather. Also, can all races start putting names on numbers please?! So nice for people to be able to cheer you on personally.

And yes, yes I do take popcorn & dried mango for extra snacks. Anyone got a problem with that?!

Needless to say, it was an early night for me. Although I could have stayed about 40mins away from Cambridge I realised I'd rather spend the weekend at home in North London and the journey from Tottenham to the Park & Ride I'd booked still only took 55 mins...

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07:30 Sunday

I spent the journey up munching my way through my favourite pre-race breakfast- peanut butter on toast & strawberry jam on toast. Normally separate but for convenience shoved together as a sandwich today...

Cambridge Half Start photo CH3_zpsf8w2jfql.jpg


Don't get me wrong, I understand why race organisers want you to show up in plenty of time for a race, especially when it's a 9000 strong race through closed city road. But... 90 minutes is a bloody long time to be standing around and it was bloody freezing in Cambridge on Sunday morning. the MetOffice app tells me it was 5 degrees, feeling like 1 degree... and there was nowhere to hide on Midsummer Common. I was lucky and 2 friends spotted me early on, so we shivered together as the rain started to come down at about 08:15- with a start wave of 09:38, we weren't all that impressed....

09:30 Sunday

Cambridge Half Start line 2017 photo IMG_1617_zpsx8sym17r.jpg

And then we ran. I was a bit too busy actually putting one foot in front of the other to take pictures on my way around the course, and this is in itself a good thing. Mile 1 lipped past before I event realised but miles 2 & 3 were troublesome with my trainers- I'm struggling with having a numb right foot and I didn't have time to try out new trainers properly before the race and this decided it's better the devil you know. I got incredibly lucky at mile 4- not only did the weather break and it suddenly stopped raining and the wind dropped, but my foot started to behave and I got the feeling back.

Before I knew it we were back in Cambridge city centre and on the home straight. The last 2 miles seemed never ending but I crossed the line with a smile on my face and no injuries to report.

12:00 Sunday

Cambridge Half 2017 medal photo 4d7ef059-9ce9-42ad-a134-0f081c2d4e6d_zpssygepmpo.png

I wondered about posting my finish time here. It's been such an awesome thing to look back on all the changes and improvements I've made to my running over that last 2.5 years but I also remember that the inadequacy I felt after finishing my marathon in 2015 was the start of a period where I fell out with running for a while. I pursued races and training purely to better my times and the obsession spread to other parts of my life making sport a chore and and an unhealthy preoccupation. So I'll stand by this mantra, which has featured so often on my social media feeds because it's something I believe in:

Finish lines before finish times - MyProtein Women photo 32536091166_55099b3f3d_o 1_zpstaoqu5mn.jpg

Did I achieve everything I set out to with the Cambridge Half? Well, I finished (Tick). I completed my full and well scheduled training (Tick). I had a mostly enjoyable time (Tick). And I feel like I've achieved something, not like I should or could have done more, faster or better (MASSIVE TICK). So yes, I'm a happy girl. Also, the hoody I treated myself to afterwards, COSY AF.

And tonight, it's back to it. Between work and other commitments I haven't been to a club night in 3 weeks so 800m efforts it is and an ease back on distance as I prepare for a busy few months- business is already picking up for the season, I'm racing some of my favourite 10km events from 2016 and this weekend I'm going to do my best to keep everyone else going. I'll be volunteering at the North London HAlf, so if any of you are running, please keep an eye out for my at the Allianz Park. I truly believe volunteers and spectators can make or break your race- some encouraging words have been the difference between running on and quitting for me before now, and so despite the hella early start, I'll be doing my best to get you round the course ready for your medals and your glory.

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