My first half marathon

I did it!!! I ran my first half marathon yesterday in 2 hours and 47 minutes!

After running 13 miles!

The whole experience from arriving at Victoria Park in Leicester where the race started, to crossing the finish line was incredible. I have to say that I felt a little overwhelmed by the end of the half marathon. I even cried a little when I went to give my sister a sweaty hug after crossing the finish line.

I arrived in plenty of time for a 9:15am start (I had to go to the toilet three times due to nervousness!). It was amazing to see so many people wearing different t-shirts showing the cause that they were running for, including Macmillan, Cancer Research, LOROS and Marie Curie. I saw a few people wearing local air ambulance t-shirts as well. I could’ve worn one, but I’m raising money for the Association of Air Ambulances so it’s for all air ambulance charities across the UK. In the end I borrowed one of my dad’s t-shirts, as I only have t-shirts from previous runs, including Race for Life, The Colour Run and The Resolution Run.

It was when I lined up at the start along with thousands of runners that reality hit me. Waiting for the runners ahead to start moving made me think about how I had never imagined in my life that I would be running 13 miles. Being placed in low ability classes for physical education while I was at school purely based on my physique and experiencing bullying for being fat meant that I never thought I could participate in something physically challenging.

Waiting to start

 

The start of the Leicester Marathon saw runners making their way downhill on a road called London Road, where cars and buses normally drive. It felt incredible seeing a sea of runners making their way on the route. I found it strange running along an A road north of Leicester, where one lane was closed off for runners. It felt quite nice when you felt the breeze from a car or lorry as they drove past the runners.

I made sure to keep to my own pace for the entire route. I sped up when I felt comfortable and made sure to take steeper inclines steadily. I hadn’t practiced any parts of the route so I didn’t know when to expect slopes and steeper gradients.

I enjoyed the route, which took runners through the city centre, up the ‘Golden Mile’ (aka Melton Road), through Thurmaston, then around the lovely Watermead Park, through Birstall, then through Abbey Park, past the National Space Centre and Abbey Pumping Station, then back through the city centre and back up the New Walk to the finish line back at Victoria Park.

What made the route even more enjoyable was the amount of spectators and supporters who cheered all of the runners on. It really helped to keep my momentum going; it was adorable when young children gave runners high fives as they ran past. Some people even offered sweets and small snacks as runners went by. I felt a great sense of community spirit during the route, which made me feel proud to be running my first half marathon at the Leicester marathon, my hometown.

I ran for the entire 13 miles except for towards the end, probably the last 1/2 mile up the New Walk, when it was a gradual slope all the way back up. I  had to walk up but a spectator urged me to run as I reached the top of the hill, and so I sprinted the final bit towards the finish line. I heard my name being called out and I jumped across the finish line in victory!

The t-shirt and medal I got at the end

It felt great to receive a medal at the end, as well as a t-shirt, a banana, a bottle of water, a flapjack, a small bag of sweets and a bag of crisps. I had to catch my breath as I felt a bit breathless, which was probably due to sprinting across the finish line when I felt tired already. I also felt a bit funny and sick, so I found a bench to sit down with my sister. I felt much better after drinking a lot of water and eating my flapjack and sweets.

I couldn’t help but cry when I saw my sister. I think it was due to the fact that I couldn’t believe that I had just ran my first half marathon. I felt like that I had overcome some of the challenges that I’ve faced in my life so far, such as bullying, body image, self-belief and self-confidence. I was shattered for the rest of the day, so I had a lovely Radox bath as soon as I got back home, my sister and brother in law cooked a lamb roast dinner and then I had nearly 12 hours of sleep!

I’m a little achy today but I feel very accomplished, which is a fantastic feeling. At this stage I don’t think that I could run a full marathon just yet. I would need a lot more training, but I am tempted to run another half marathon to try and beat my current time.

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Advertisements

Final preparations

*drum roll*

At 9:15am tomorrow I will be running my first half marathon!!!

It was six months ago when I signed up to run at the Leicester Marathon, and now the day has finally come around. I’m feeling nervous and excited tonight, but I’m mostly trying to keep my cool. I ran the distance of a half marathon two weeks ago so I know that I can do this.

For dinner I made myself some pasta in a tomato sauce with chicken breast, white kidney beans, mushrooms and mixed herbs for extra flavour, topped with some grated cheese. My father recommended to have some chicken with dinner since it is a good source of protein. I also added the kidney beans for extra protein and fibre. The pasta is a good source of carbohydrates, just what I need for a 13 mile run.

Chicken and tomato pasta

Tomorrow morning I will either have an omelette or Belvita biscuits and a banana for breakfast. I will be leaving out quite early for the half marathon, so the food will have time to settle in my stomach before I start running. Apparently I get a banana at the finish line so that’ll be a nice treat at the end.

I am aiming to have an early night tonight so that I am well rested. I know that I’ve already said this many times, but I still can’t quite believe that this day has come round so quickly.

I will post either tomorrow evening or on Monday how I get on in my first ever half marathon!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

5 days to go!

It’s the final countdown to the big day, when I run my very first half marathon! This Sunday I will be running at the Leicester marathon along with thousands of other runners who are either doing the same route as me, or are going for the full marathon!

I’m feeling rather nervous now, but excited at the same time. I definitely feel a lot more prepared than last year, as I was planning on running a half marathon last year but I didn’t train enough, so I decided it was for the best not to run it.

Only 5 days to go!

I managed to run the distance of half marathon recently for my training, which went really well. I haven’t been for a run since, but I have been walking to work and made it to the gym last week. My plan for the next few days is to go to the gym and/or go out for a 10km run. I don’t want to work out too much in case of causing an injury, and I want to feel comfortable and ready for Sunday.

I’m very pleased with how fundraising is going so far for the Association of Air Ambulances. My mother walked a total of 83,650 steps last week, as she is walking 10,000 steps a day for the same charity. We’ve both raised over £500 so far and are aiming for £10,000. If you w0uld like to sponsor us, you can do so through our Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clare-abbott6.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #20

The month of the half marathon has finally come around! And as usual it’s hard to believe that it’s October already; there’s only this month, November and December, and then it will be a new year before we know it.

Looking back on September, all of my blogs have been focused on fitness. This comes as no surprise since my main focus has been training for the half marathon in Leicester. I ran 18km for the third time at the start of September, and then I very recently ran the distance of a half marathon for the first time. I was very pleased with how it went, despite being absolutely knackered afterwards. I now know that I can run that far and I’m raring to go for Sunday 15th October.

To facilitate my training I bought a fitness tracker which counts the number of steps you take in a day. I have found it more useful as a timer for my long distance runs, as I don’t think it’s entirely accurate for running. My mother has a fitness tracker as well as she’s walking 10,000 steps a day this month, so it’s more suited for her challenge.

I was aiming to post foodie and feminist blogs, but time and life got the better of me, and I’ve been mainly focused on my biggest physical challenge yet. I did however write a few poems last month which are on my poetry blog. I wrote a pessimistic poem about the current state of the world called ‘Ticking time bomb‘, and a more upbeat and satirical poem about online dating called ‘Swiping away‘.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

My best run yet

I woke up feeling tired and a bit achy this morning, but I feel much better and my legs don’t hurt so much now. This aching is due to the fact that I ran 21km/13 miles for the first time yesterday afternoon; I’ve finally reached the distance of a half marathon! With just two weeks to go, I’m now feeling more ready than ever to run in my first half marathon at the Leicester Marathon on Sunday 15th October.

I’m so chuffed at how well my first attempt at running 21km went yesterday. I felt like the master of the steep inclines and slopes as I didn’t have to walk up them; I took them gently and made sure to recover by running at a steady pace and gradually pick up speed again. The only time I had to walk was towards the end during the last 1km. This point was when I was running in the unknown, further than 18km which I had been running previously.

I completed 21km in 2 hours and 35 minutes, which I’m pleased with. I felt more determined than ever yesterday to run the distance of a half marathon. I think that this is mostly due to the success of my fundraising so far, as I am running a half marathon for the Association of Air Ambulances. My mother has started her 10,000 steps a day this month, which is also in aid of the same charity. We’ve both raised over £500 together so far!

I think that another reason why my run went so well yesterday was the fact that I went out in the afternoon, rather than in the morning. During my training so far I have been going out for a long distance run not long after I wake up in the morning, but I went out at 2pm yesterday afternoon. I wonder if being awake for longer during the day made it easier to run, rather than going out shortly after waking up.

I got rather wet yesterday as it rained during the last 4km of my run. It was refreshing more than anything, and I was dripping with sweat anyway, so a bit of water did no harm. There is also the possibility of rain in two weeks’ time, so I’m prepared to run whatever the elements may throw at me and the thousands of other runners!

Hot, wet and sweaty after running 13 miles!

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t mind what time I finish the half marathon in, but I’d like to aim for 2 hours and 3o minutes. The majority of the route is flat, but the last mile will be the real challenge, as it up a long slope known as the New Walk in Leicester. I’m hoping that there will be lots of supporters along this last part to cheer all of the runners on. My sister will be waiting at the end to take a photo of me crossing the finish line!

If you’d like to sponsor my mother and I, you can donate online via our Just Giving page.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Racer #201

I was going to write ’18 days to go’ as the title for this blog, but I changed my mind and thought ‘Racer #201’ would sound cooler!

So I received my racing number today through the post, and the number is much lower than I expected. I signed up for the Leicester half marathon four months ago, thinking that lots of people will have already signed up. In the past I’ve had much higher numbers for race; I do like the number 201.

Racer 0201

On the back of my number is a foam chip, but will record my time once I cross the finish line. On the day I will be wearing my new fitness tracker so that I can check the time as well.

There are a few more things I need to do before I run my first half marathon. I need a t-shirt to wear on the day, as runners receive a Leicester Marathon t-shirt at the end of the race. The only t-shirts I have are from races I have completed. I can’t really wear an Iron Run t-shirt or a parkrun t-shirt when I’m raising money for the Association of Air Ambulances! I’ll see if I can get a t-shirt with air ambulances on it.

The other thing I need to do is run the distance of a half marathon if I can before the 15th October. I was thinking of running either tomorrow or on Sunday. The weekend before the half marathon I will be away in Brighton so I need to run this weekend.

Not long to go now!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

22 days to go

In just less than three weeks’ time I will be raring to go and running my first half marathon in Leicester! I still can’t believe how quick it’s coming round. I can’t wait to get to the start line and join thousands of runners who are also running a half marathon, or those who are brave enough to tackle the full 26 miles!

I have now found a map showing the half marathon route for Sunday 15th October on the Leicester Marathon website. Here is the route I’ll be running in 22 day’s time:

Starting at Victoria Park (where I have ran two Race for Lifes), the route goes past a lovely park called Abbey Park and round surrounding suburbs north of Leicester, including Thurmaston, Wanlip and Birstall. I will know that it’s not far until the end when I pass the iconic National Space Centre and then back through the city centre towards Victoria Park.

I’m looking forward to trying out a new route. My training has involved running along the same route which can get quite boring, so running past some of Leicester’s attractions will be exciting to do.

In terms of my training, I’ve yet to run 13 miles/21km. The furthest I’ve ran to date is 18km (approx. 11.2 miles). I’m hoping to run the distance of a half marathon this coming week or during the next weekend.

I went to the gym this morning and tried out rowing as a change from running. I quite often pass rowers when I run along the canal into Leicester and it looks tough. I’ve had a go at rowing a few times at the gym and now I tend to avoid it as it hurts my legs, hips and shoulders however, it’s a good intense workout. I then went on the treadmill for about 30 minutes, until I had reached 2.5km by varying the gradient and speed for another good workout.

I suppose I ought to think about what to eat the night before the half marathon. I’ve heard that carbs is a good option, so potentially spaghetti bolognese, but I’ll have a look into it and let you know what I decide to have as ‘the last supper’ before my toughest physical challenge yet!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂