Sunday, 22 March 2015

Reading Half Marathon 22.03.2015

My prep for today was absolutely text book - tapered my training, carb loaded and stretched, meaning I went to bed last night with my mind set on a new PB. That unfortunately was not to be the case as on getting up this morning I pulled a muscle in my neck. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, I think I had leant down to put my socks on but felt the pull instantly. Straight away I knew this was bad news as I couldn't move my head in either direction and had pain with any movement.

Need a smaller vest for London!
 But, not one to let things get in my way, carried on with usual prep, determined to make the best of the day. Breakfast was my usual 2 slices of wholemeal toast topped with Nutella (the real stuff) and Banana plus a big cup of tea in the car. We arrived in Reading an hour later and I was struggling - I had no mobility in my neck and was feeling really achy, not good but I still felt ok to run.

As I headed to the start line, I walked by the Physio tent and after a stern word from Coach aka Delia aka my Boyfriend, was forcibly sent in to see the Pro's. With just 5 minutes until the Gun there was only time for some basic manipulation which hurt, ALOT but got the go ahead to carry on. I was advised to expect some pain at the start of the run but that it would ease as I got into my stride.

So feeling a little more reassured I continued on to the start, which by the way, was about a mile from the race village! So I had no time to properly warm up, just a few basic stretches then we were off. From my first stride I knew I was in trouble. The pain was immediate and not just in my neck but down my spine and across my shoulders which I expect was down to my carrying my arms stiffly as compensation.

Not good and a mile in and I was feeling horrible. Then came the first big hill which seemed to multiply the pain by ten. For the first time ever, I was considering pulling out, which is not a good place to be in. But being of a particularly disposition I made myself carry on.

The rest of race wasn't fun, the pain was constant and I was obviously carrying my body differently as it felt unnatural and just plain hard work. I was counting down each mile of the route which probably made it feel even longer! The route itself wasn't one of the best I've done, very towny which isn't the most stimulating. Getting to mile 7 was a small victory knowing I was half way and from there, only 22 minutes until mile 10.

On arriving at mile 10, I had mixed emotions. Yes I was at mile 10 but there still another three to go and by this time I was reallt struggling. I really did have to dig deep to keep going and was trying my best to focus on anything but my neck. Luckily, the race bibs had our names on which meant I was getting a lot of support from the fantastic crowd. Hearing your name is such a boost and really did make all the difference today - in fact, despite the race being a struggle for me, I think the atmosphere was one of best to date.

3 miles later and I was turning the corner into the Madejski Stadium for the final hundred metres. Far from a sprint finish, I crossed the line in 1:38:15 and have never felt so relived at the end of the race! I knew a PB was off the cards before having even left the home this morning but was feeling ok with having come in under 1.40. My spirits were instantly raised with finding a Lion Bar in the goody bag - never underestimate what chocolate can do for you post race!

So its with mixed emotion that i'm writing this (from bed, with a hot water bottle behind my neck). I'm glad I did the race and managed to push through but am obviously disappointed I didn't get a new PB. Still, there's only 5 weeks until the main event so now all my focus is on London and my goal of a sub 3:30 finish - i'm now even more determined.

Early night, pain killers and food - hope to be back on
my feet tomorrow!

Today goes to show that even with the best preparation things can happen that change the game. But your body will ultimately do what your head tells it too, so we all have it in us to keep going when it gets tough. I have no doubt I will have some struggles on the 26th April but I will absolutely draw on today as a means of getting through.

I'm hoping that i'll be back to normal tomorrow as I have a big week of miles, including interval training, a 10 miler and a 21 miler before started to taper.

Positive recovery vibes please x