My Great Birmingham Run - Women's Running Magazine

My Great Birmingham Run

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 18, 2015

Birmingham cover

I completed my second Great Birmingham Run which was my 9th half marathon last week, and am really happy to have another medal to add to my growing collection.

Sometimes things just don’t go to plan, last Sunday was one of those days for me! In my last blog I shared about my preparation and planning for the Great Birmingham Run and, unfortunately, due to many different reasons, it all went a bit ‘Pete Tong’.

Firstly, I cancelled the hotel I had booked for the night before the half-marathon due to a last-minute change of plan and a clash in the diary. This meant that instead of the lovely lie in I had planned, I was in my car at 6:30am driving up the M1 to make sure I beat the traffic and road blocks on the day of the half-marathon, and got parking close to the start line.

Secondly, I decided it would be a good idea to run parkrun on Saturday and, instead of taking it easy, I ended up with a 27mins 30secs 5K result (not bad considering the zig zags, and starting near the back). Then, instead of resting and taking it easy on the Saturday afternoon, I spent five hours on my feet running around supporting a fantastic fundraising event for Meningitis Now (it was well worth it to raise over £250, but my feet and back were aching afterwards).

Thirdly, my well-loved, well-worn Garmin watch fell apart when the paperclip that was holding it together finally gave up the ghost. This led to a hasty order of a new running watch, which I used for the first time the day before the Great Birmingham Run, so I had no idea of what all of the buttons and extra gadgets on it did (not sure I will ever know.)

New garmin

I started the Great Birmingham Run in the white wave, just ahead of the two-hour pacer, and as soon as the race started, I shot off downhill towards Bullring and Digbeth. I continued at a speedy pace, determined to stay ahead of the two-hour pacer and to try and make up some time I knew I would lose at the hills at mile 11 and mile 12. My Redway Runner friend, Jim, tried to pace me, but by mile three he was a dot in the distance and I was into my own running rhythm. By the time I reached the first hill at mile four in the Selly Park area I was feeling quite confident, and well on target to beat my PB.

I would love to be writing about how I broke my PB, or beat the two-hour finish time I have been aiming for since the beginning of 2015, but unfortunately it did not go to plan at the Great Birmingham Run. Just after the mile-five marker I saw the two-hour pacer glide past me, and felt a great deal of pain in my left ankle. By mile six I was getting slower and slower and, despite completing the first 10K in 57mins, I was feeling really bad and my ankle was getting worse. When my Redway Runner friend, David, sprinted past me near mile eight I knew that I would have to change my plan and walk/run the rest of the distance. So the last five  miles were slow and painful, but I managed to run sections around the Edgbaston Cricket Club, through Cannon Hill Park and up towards Moseley. I was determined that at mile 11 I would run up the hill past my old university accommodation towards Five Ways. The support along the whole course was fantastic, but in particular the people along the last mile were great and really helped to motivate me to attempt a sprint finish along Broad Street (although looking back at the official video it was more of a shuffle.)

My official finish time was 2hrs 11mins (a long way off the 2hrs 5mins time I ran in Cardiff only two weeks ago, and well off my PB of 2hrs 3mins from last December.) My lovely boyfriend waited patiently at the finish line as he finished in a very impressive 1hrs 28mins, sadly with no cup of tea this time!

Despite the disappointment and injured ankle, I have time to rest and prepare for my next run in December at the MK Winter Half Marathon (my PB course). I also have plenty of races already in my calendar for 2016, and I am planning to run in the following events;

February – my 100th parkrun!

March – MK Festival of Running 10K and Silverstone Half Marathon

May – Milton Keynes Half Marathon and Edinburgh Half Marathon

July – NSPCC Milton Keynes Half Marathon

October – Bournemouth Half Marathon

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