The Gosport half marathon
On a miserable rainy Sunday in the middle of November I took on my very first half marathon… The Gosport half.
OMG have you seen the weather?
I woke up at 6am raring to go and with the usual pre race brekkie I was out the door, having been carb-loading all week to try and give myself the best possible shot.
Got into Gosport at 8.45am with no problems, the car park was pretty much empty but began filling up five minutes after we arrived. We had a long hour and forty-five minute wait filled with many toilet breaks and a lot of despair at the weather. Five minutes before we decided to head to the start line it hammered down, I have never wanted to run a race less than at that moment, on a windy sea front in the middle of winter!
Amazingly the weather took a turn for the better and the rain stopped just as we had to leave the safety of the car. It was very exciting standing at the start line with around 1600 people, from pro’s to newbies like myself. It was very varied, and very colourful with the many running club vests and T-shirts on show.
Having recently joined the Fareham crusaders I was eagerly looking out for their distinctive burgundy and yellow logo as its always nice to see a familiar face when you are new to running events.
I managed to borrow a Garmin for the race and so as the race began I was able to pace myself at a comfortable 10mpm. I figured I would sustain this for the first half just to allow myself the energy to complete the race. The race was as promised, relatively flat aside from a couple of really gentle inclines, this meant a very happy me as having learnt from the Denmead 10k, hills are not my strong point!
I have to say, keeping myself at that pace was a lot easier with the Garmin, I was able to check it to make sure I was on track. I had to slow myself down at times as I would usually run at 9.30 ish but was desperate not to lose steam early on and flag at the end. The first 8 miles were really enjoyable, the rain held off for most of it with just a gentle shower in between, I got a little hot in my waterproof jacket so had to stop to take it off.
It is the first time I haven’t run with a water bottle but there were so many water stations it wasn’t a problem at all. Really cute kids were at the sides too offering us words of support along with jelly beans and babies. There were so many marshals to keep you going and a few of our very own crusaders. It was such a nice feeling and even though I was lapped by front runners at one point I didn’t feel disheartened. I was honestly so impressed with the support on hand considering how horrific the weather had been and was predicted to be.
I managed to catch up with my step dad who was running the race too at mile 8, he had injured his knee so was slowing down a bit. Mile 9 was my strongest mile, I think I averaged about 9.40 that mile, I paid for it the next mile though as I slowed down to 10.30 but I did have a few water stops and a few jelly babies… which I was unfortunately snapped mid chew! dammit! lol
I literally have no luck with running photos!
The last stretch
The 11th mile was by far the hardest, I had pushed it a little too hard in the last 4 miles as my head thought I was nearer than I actually was to finishing. I began to struggle a little but its amazing how quickly the mile comes and goes. Last mile… I was really happy to be nearly finished, not out of breath at any point but just desperately running out of energy. 400 metres to go…
That was the longest 400 metres of my life but I had a final bout of energy, I over took a few people on the way to the finish and then I saw the group I came with. They cheered me on and said “go on, sprint finish” and I can’t believe I actually had the energy to but I did a sprint finish! I managed to over take a couple of people extra and made it over the line.
What a feeling! It could have been the London marathon it felt that good! You can’t quite describe the feeling you get when you finish a race, no matter how long, its just an amazing feeling and you did it, you did it all!
I got my first half marathon medal and another goody bag of treats, this one had home-made ginger cake in (bless the little sweetheart who baked all that cake just for us) and an array of sweets and treats!
I managed to catch some of the super fast crusaders at the finish line with the Fareham crusader flag which is awesome, so that was a nice end to the day. On the way back to the car the rain started, I can’t believe it held off for the whole race, how lucky were we?
I finished my first half marathon in 02:10:55, it was 55 seconds off what I was aiming for so I am so pleased.
Who would have thought that in 7 and half months I could go from unfit to running 13.1 miles?? Insane! It just goes to show what you can accomplish when you really give it everything you’ve got!
I wonder what’s next?
Until next time…
Follow me for more updates on http://www.twitter.com/nikkismithbaby
or instagram on http://www.instagram.com/nikkismithbaby
Don’t forget to follow the blog 🙂
Photos used with permission from the Fareham Crusaders