Keeping my eye on the prize

Nothing quite like rocking up for a Half Marathon having not run more than 8 miles in the last five months, 10 miles in the last year AAAAAND having had over a month off due to illness.. 

Underprepared is one way to describe it! However, this was the first Hampton Court Palace HM and the medal looked amazing. So despite every fibre of my body telling me to stay tucked up in bed, I dragged my sorry carcass out of my pit at 4am last Sunday… *Note to self, do NOT enter races on the weekend BST kicks in!

Technically it was 5am as the clocks went forward.. tell that to my body clock!!

Travelling up with three others from the running club, between yawns and exclamations of how stupidly early it was, there was some chat about anticipated run times. 

Me? I just wanted to finish. I had spent all of Saturday convincing myself I was just treating it as a training run.. No pressure, yada yada yada..

Bleak forecast

The weather looked every bit like it would live up to the Met Office expectations!

Grey and damp!

Having received a last minute email from the organisers discouraging use of the bag drop I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of a slickly organised race! The ‘race village’ pretty much lived up to expectations! 

Race village… more of a hamlet!


A good friend who knew how badly training had gone, and also knew that I’d berate myself endlessly about my myriad of failings, had told me to have a plan to deal with the undertraining. The plan was simple, run the first half and run walk the rest according to how I felt on the day. The only ‘rule’ being that I had to cross the line running. 

The first three miles went well.. Really well. I struggled to keep the pace down to meet my ideal timing scenario. I dared to dream of a PB! Cue the start of massive amounts of self sabotage! 

At 4.5 miles my left toes were numb and painful (how is that even possible?) and I wanted to walk..

At the first water station I briefly walked so I could drink without spilling water all down my front 😁… And this was the beginning of the end. I’m don’t think I ran another full mile! 

By 9 miles my right toes were joining the numb and painful party. I wanted to stop, throw myself in the Thames, burn my trainers.. You name it! .. I was PISSED OFF. The headwind and rain had stripped me of every last ounce of humour. I vowed never to enter another race and I tore mental strips off myself for being pathetic!

At 10 miles I tried telling myself I only had a parkrun to go… All things considered not great motivation as I HATE parkrun!! (Don’t get me wrong, as an event I think it’s awesome. It’s the distance that does me in!). 

Another two miles of mentally berating myself about every last ‘shortcoming’ of my abilities (by this point it wasn’t just being a crap runner that was pissing me off).. Then I decided come hell or high water, and no matter how slow it was or how much my feet hurt, I WOULD run the last mile.. Which I did, just! 

Anyway, the long and the short of it is… I finished. 2:21:07 – 6 minutes slower than my previous HM and not having enjoyed much of it at all!

Deep as a puddle though the medal kind of made it worthwhile…its a fairly weighty bit of bling! 

All about the bling

Medals and bags collected we headed home.. Job done! 

Once home I refused to talk about the race, I was just too upset. It was without a doubt my worst race experience and has given me loads of things to consider blogging about. I just need to wait until I can write about them in a less ‘woe is me’ way! 

Have you had a similarly horrific race experience? 

Are you naturally predisposed to self sabotage? 

How have you conquered these demons and slain the dragons?


8 thoughts on “Keeping my eye on the prize”

  1. I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t an enjoyable HM but well done you for doing it anyway! How did you feel afterwards? Pretty glad it was over I bet?! I did one in Gosport in similar conditions and felt exactly as you did. I was running with my marathon-running cousin who continued to keep a quick pace and made me keep up. I got a PB but wanted to launch myself off the Spinnaker Tower I felt so bad! I hope your next one will be lots better πŸ™‚


      1. Ran again yesterday but nothing in my legs… 6 tortuous miles but at least I did it. I suspect the lack of leg strength was due to a long bike ride Friday as we recce’d the May Day Tri cycle route.


  2. I’m really sorry it wasn’t a great experience. All I can say is you got out there and did it despite hating it, not being trained for it and just generally feeling pants. Clearly you have a strong will and determination and at the end of the day this overcame all your shortcomings. Think of what you can be capable of if you had have trained as well as you could – only 6 minutes behind your last HM? That’s not bad at all!!


    1. Thanks Anna. I’m nothing if not a stubborn old cow… Shame that stubbornness doesn’t extend to refusing to walk in races!!!
      I’m really happy to see your training is still going well. This weekend was horrific with all the stormy winds though!!


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