Sunday, 22 October 2017


The Manchester Half…I was so excited for this race! It would be my second half marathon this year (and ever…actually!) and I had really stepped up my training since Hong Kong, so was eager for a personal best. The race is advertised as being flat with minimal turns…so a perfect chance to run a good time! My time from my first half was 2:25(ish)…yeah not amazing, but I was still so proud. I had only been running 6 months, and the course was through the mountains of Sai Kung, I don’t think there were any flat sections! Anyway, of course I knew I could beat this time, as 4 weeks prior to Manchester I ran a 2:11:32 and then 2 weeks prior I ran 15+ miles, and I know my half marathon time came in around 2:15. So the aim was to get 2:10…or sub 2:10 actually.

However, with it being race season, I was seeing so many of my runner friends smashing and hitting huge new personal bests that I felt inspired and craved more. I wanted that sub 2…on this race! The week before Manchester I did the Plymouth 10k, and averaged a 9.07 pace, which really surprised me as I had never even gotten sub 1 hour before on a 10k, so in my head I thought yeah…average 9.09 for 13.1 miles…on a flat course…gimme!

I had a pretty uncomfortable 9 hour bus journey up to Manchester on the Friday, but it was worth it because it was so cheap, and it meant I got to reunite with one my best friends. Fay was amazing the whole weekend, she understood that the race was important to me, and was polite enough to eat her curry and poppadum’s in a separate room so I didn't get jealous and whilst I reluctantly ate my brown pasta with vegetables! But seriously, she drove me around, acted as my cheerleader, treated me to post race muffins and even ran me a bath!
Last minute outfit change!

I spent the Saturday mainly relaxing, and did a short jog around a local park, and tried to get to sleep as early as possible. Race day came…and the nerves were bad, but I still thought I was capable of that 9:09 pace. It was super hot and muggy, which resulted in a last minute outfit change into shorts. Fay was my race day support! Once I left her, I found my sub 2 hour pacer and before I knew it, was off!

Fay said it was vital I got a photo here...

Mile 1 – I was strong, I stayed with the pacer and was on target. However, I struggled to even keep up for mile 2. By mile 3, I was pretty far behind and I just felt TIRED! Nevertheless, I did some math in my head and realised if I kept at the pace I was doing, I could still come in at 2:04…so although my sub 2 hour dreams were diminished within half an hour, I was still in for a 7.5 minute PB!

Miles 3-6, I still felt really tired, and just negative. I am normally good at thinking positive thoughts, and I hadn’t yet experienced a ‘bad’ race, but this was it. I was really beating myself up for, A. falling behind, and B. even thinking I was capable of the sub 2 hour race. Sure, I held the pace for 6 miles, but to hold it for more than double the distance and knock 11+ minutes off my time, was perhaps a far fetched goal.

Can you see my pain? I did not purchase these images...I'm sure you understand why!

Once I hit that half way point, the 2:04 dream had turned into a 2:07. Still felt tired, but now I felt angry and frustrated. My ankles were seriously hurting and my right foot was throbbing. I was running without music, and to be honest, this is when I needed some of my favourite songs. Anyway, I kept pushing, I felt sick at moments and so stopped, I walked when my legs felt numb and then mile 11 came. Now the final 2 miles of this race, it is a home straight, you can see the finish line…for 2 miles…it’s like torture. Mile 12 was my slowest mile! But once the crowds picked up, I found a final surge of energy, and like always, sprinted the final stretch, coming in at 2:09:03.

So…as you can see…my goals kept changing. If I had just gone in with the goal of sub 2:10, I think I would have been ecstatic that I achieved it. However, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, and quite frankly…a little stupid! After reuniting with Fay and speaking to Dom and my mum, I felt a little better…but that race high never hit me. Usually I’m on a race high for at least 24 hours! Yet it never came, and I had another 9 hour bus journey that afternoon (yes, next time I will fly!). Once I took my trainers off, I had a bruise and blister on my right foot which has never happened before, and I think it’s because I tied my laces far too tight (learn from my mistakes!).

I was smiling in the end! After all, I had just ran a half marathon PB!

Now don’t get me wrong…just because I personally had a bad race…does not mean I think the race was bad. The Manchester Half was amazing, and I would do it again! The crowds were awesome, and because our bibs had our names on it, it meant that the crowds could yell your name. There were literally so many Manc accents shouting, “go on Livvy”, which I found super motivating! We ran through residential roads, and the locals were incredible, setting up their own water stations, handing out gummy bears (which leave me with a dry mouth so I declined!) and with children high fiving pretty much the whole way. The set up was really organized too, plenty of toilets, water stations and gel stops. Yes it was mainly flat, with a few cheeky inclines but nothing that would make you want to walk it. So…if you get the chance, run it!

You get a pretty cool t-shirt and awesome medal!
Now I am on the hunt for another half marathon before the new year…not to get a sub 2 hour, but just to run for fun! That sub 2 hour dream is still a goal…but can wait until the new year!


No comments :

Post a comment

Back to Top