Saturday, 19 May 2012

Leeds Half 2012, done!

It's been almost a week since the Half Marathon, the blister has healed and steps can be tackled properly, not walking down them side ways. The Leeds Half was a real challenge, we are both he first to admit we're not runners and don't particularly enjoy running but like a challenge! After days of rain and wind we woke on Sunday 13th to sunshine, blue skies and low wind. Amazingly we were both calm and managed to eat plenty of porridge and cereal bars before pinning on numbers and tying up our trainers and heading to Millennium Square. When we got there the atmosphere was amazing, Capital FM DJ's were on stage, lots of photographers around and all sorts of runners from the elite to those dressed as bananas warming up. Before we knew it we were called to the start line and the nerves suddenly kicked in... And then we waited and waited for what felt like forever for the starting horn to go and suddenly we were off! The first few hundred yards were uphill, fast and hectic and within 500 metres my dad had printed off, Ben was going off into the distance, even my mum was leaving me standing and I knew at that point I was out of my depth. Running down Meanwood Road I felt as though all 6000 runners were passing me and by the time I hit mile 2 and saw our family supporters I was shaking my head feeling unable to carry on. At mile 3 the road climbed and I walked. I had no feeling in my right foot and my legs felt like lead. Just past mile 4 I pulled up at the side of the road thinking it was the end of my run sure I had fractured my right ankle as I had no feeling in my toes... then like an angel a guy at the side of the road came up to me, loosened my shoe laces and my pain went. That last minute tightening of my shoe lace on the start line- big mistake, lesson learnt! From then on it was a different run for me, the next mile or so was still tough but after a quick pit stop (loo stop, I'm not quite hardcore enough to do a Paula) at mile 8 I had a ball, waving to supporters, chatting and cheering on other runners and high fiving the kids supporting and giving out jelly babies... Yes I did take candy from a baby but hey I needed it more! Meanwhile... Bens run was taking a different shape. After a strong start where he covered the first 2 miles in 15 minutes and the next 6 miles at a comfortable pace of 10 minute miles his running came to an abrupt halt at 8 miles with cramp in both calves. The next 5 miles were a combination of jogging, walking and pain. At one point we both thought about quitting but the fact we had raised £400 and were running for injured service men and women meant that it really wasn't an option, at the end of the day our pain was temporary those we were running for wasn't. The final mile for me was the longest in my life (possibly as the GPS read 13.5 in total at the finish line!) and the final kick uphill was nearly enough to break me. I kept waiting for my usual strong sprint finish to kick in but instead when I saw the crowds lining the finishing straight and heard them cheering I just cried, amazed I had managed to complete the distance. As I rounded the corner I saw the clock and desperately tried to run or a sub 2hour 35, but even with my mum (who finished in 2h20) and my dad (an unbelievable 1hr47) cheering me on the finishing time was 2hour 35.07.  Meeting Ben at the finishing line I found out he'd come in exactly 1 minute before and his last 2 miles had flown , he'd not seen any mile marks until the finish line. We ran for a great cause and it was a fantastically organised event. The finishing goody bag included a proudly worn medal an a proper wicking material t-shirt. So now we are looking for our next challenge... We have entered the ballot for the 2013 London Marathon and in the meantime will be having a bit of an adventure with our big move to Perthshire, Scotland in the first week of July, but there's still going to be another challenge this year- suggestions welcome please! 

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