Running - Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon

Hi everyone!
It's been a week and I am now sufficiently recovered from my first ever half marathon!!!! *eek*! 

I don't have one of those lightweight running tops and I didn't want to wear my heavy charity t-shirt over the raincoat for 13 miles, so this time it had to do without. Instead I ran in my trademark purple :) And yes, you read correctly, I ran a half marathon.

Well, technically I finished it as what I did was not running exactly, at least not all the way. I actually ran about 6K easily and then my knee started to be all funny, so I put on the knee brace and continued. I'd only ever done about 12K in one go before so I thought if I could just run 10K then I could walk the rest. Yeah right, I couldn't even run 10K... but it wasn't all bad (although I'm having a hard time being all happy about it really).

To start off, I was nervous for like a month. I think I drove the bf a little bit crazy... The time would change to summer time right that morning so I'd have to get up even earlier. I didn't want to sleep on site as the last time I tried that it was horrible. Nah, I'd take my own bed thank you very much! So I got up at 5am (new time 6am), having spent the entire day before doing practically nothing except going to the Hobbycraft Show (more on that later) and making goulash. There are no tubes that early in the morning so I had to take a bus as far as possible, then a tube which by then was running, and then a train. But I got there in the end with time to spare :) 

The weather was horrible and even though we were hoping for a break in the clouds, none came. As you can see from this piccie, it was really quite wet outside.

As I knew my phone battery would die in the middle of the run, I'd brought my camera to take some pics on site. So I asked a fellow runner to take my picture and gave him my camera. Error error, missing memory card! OMG I could kick myself! Home was hours away so no chance of quickly getting one. Luckily said fellow runner kindly took my piccie on his phone and emailed it to me. It was so sweet!

 At 9am, about 3000 runners crossed the starting line under watchful eye of Henry VIII. 

The race itself was not too bad, for obvious reasons I don't have any 'during' pics, I'm still waiting for the event pics to come through but they seem to be taking their time with those. Afterwards, I spoke to some people on the way home and they said it was one of the toughest courses they'd ever done for a half marathon. The course had road, gravel, grass, and dirt so it pretty much had everything except for obstacles! While I did enjoy the scenery, the weather didn't really help the enjoyment factor. The staff was amazing though and stood in this cold and wet to cheer us on. A big thank you to them!

Once I'd reached 11 miles (who counts in miles anyway? It was seriously confusing) I hit the infamous 'wall'. I'd read about it but had no idea if and when this would effect me. At this point my knee was seriously hurting and we'd just rounded a corner meaning we were facing very strong head winds. I was so done with this! I was annoyed about my phone dying, my memory card which was at home, the fact that I'd dropped behind so much that there was no way I could make a remotely decent time, and I could see the finish line but the course was going into the opposite direction. I was about ready to cry. In hindsight it's quite funny really and I seriously hope no one has photographic evidence of me between mile 11 and 13 as I was just grumbling all the way and I imagine my facial expression left something to be desired. Then, as we rounded mile 13, a fellow runner appeared on the side lines. Having finished her race, she came back to cheer on her friend for the last bit. Somehow that really helped me going as well, and I started cheering said friend on too and we sped up and raced across the finish line together. I immediately lost sight of them in the post-finish chaos, claimed my medal (it's enormous!) and my t-shirt. I'd done it! 

My finishing time was 2:48:01, at least it was under 3 hours!

The lovely people from Lornah Sports UK had an actual throne and a 'lion' that you could pose with. As I had no camera myself, this was the perfect chance to get a piccie of me and my shiny medal :) Clearly the dog was very sweet and calm but I still managed to look a little worried...

I did it!!

I saw some amazing pictures of the race on Twitter and Facebook, and hope no one minds that I borrowed them for this. I just love the above picture! I had no means of taking this (can you tell I'm kicking myself over this the most?) and it's just so awesome!

Another gorgeous picture, it completely sums up the event. And still no break in the clouds ;)

The baggage people were very nice and understood the emotional bit which was nice as I couldn't stop crying for about 10 mins or so. It really messes with your emotions this stuff! I slowly gathered my stuff and headed home....

...where the bf was waiting for me with flowers, bubbly, and a pizza! Best homecoming ever *swoon*

I spent the rest of the day admiring my wonderful gigantic medal, and sleeping on the sofa. Now I could finally take my own photo of the medal :) 

Isn't it wonderful? Something I only noticed once home: the medal has the 'Mo' pose and the t-shirt has the 'Bolt' pose hihi, excellent!

I also discovered an importance difference between a 5/10K and a half/whole marathon other than the distance. In a 5/10K you get the t-shirt at the start as a motivator to run the distance. At a half/whole marathon you get the t-shirt as a reward at the end to show you finished it!

In the end, I probably stressed about the whole thing too much, but I really hate running in bad weather. It does nothing for my mood and takes most of the fun out of it for me. I try and think positively about having finished, one of my friends pointed out that at least I ran a PB which still makes me laugh! After I'd crossed the finish line I thought I would never do this again, ever. Now that I feel better, my toes are looking better and there is actual sunshine outside (really, why could this not have been one week ago??), I think I might just do another one later on in the year when the weather is all lovely and I actually have everything I need, including a memory card for my camera ;) Who knows? My aim is to finish in 2:21:00. Don't ask me where that time comes from, but it's what I'm aiming for. Until then, I have nothing planned for this month and have 2 races in May and some more after that. And do you know what that means? Lots and lots of sewing :) :) :)


  1. Congrats once again! You did it!! I said the same thing after I finished my first half - never again, but I did go back - and again, again...... It's such an achievement and that medal is certainly worth it! What a great homecoming afterwards too! Good luck for your next races!


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