Sunday, 27 August 2017

Portishead Half Marathon

Last Monday, at ten o'clock at night, I decided I fancied running a road half marathon this weekend. Such is the brilliance of the internet on phones that, half an hour later after a little searching, I had found one that fitted the bill in Portishead, Bristol and had entered it. So this morning, the alarm went off at 6.30 and we headed off down the M4 to get there in time for the 10.15 start.

M, who is training for the Clarendon Marathon, drove us and was Support Crew as he and Poppy did a 19 mile run yesterday (we all agreed it was the most quiet we'd ever seen Pop afterwards, although it didn't last long and by afternoon she was bouncing around annoying Ted).

The weather was hot and sunny, but after Adderbury a few weeks ago where we ran in 28 degree heat (hot for the UK!), a mere 24 wasn't going to put me off. It was a Festival Of Running weekend, with various races taking part on both days, culminating in the Half this morning, so there were lots of folk gathered at the start and the tail end of the 5k was coming to a close as we arrived.

I got my number and pfaffed about for a while as usual trying to pin it on without attaching it to my skin....


The start was delayed by fifteen minutes for the kids' mile race to finish and then we were off, heading out into the streets of Portishead.


Neither of us had been to Portishead before. It's a small coastal down just outside Bristol with views over to Wales and a lovely marina, which we ran past on the two-lap route...


The marshals and locals were great, clapping and cheering the runners and calling out words of encouragement. As is usual on these longer runs, I got chatting to some lovely people. I didn't get the name of the lady above, but we had a good natter about Portishead (she lived there) and marathons (she'd run London earlier in the year and Gloucester at the start of the month) while we ran together.

I'd decided to work on my pace for this HM, having left it to chance with the previous three which have all been hilly, off road, tough runs where time is, frankly, irrelevant. I reckoned if I could do between 5.40-6 minute kms on this one I'd turn in a respectable performance. This course wasn't without hills so it was never going to be super-fast, but I stuck to my guns and maintained a steady rhythm all the way and by the time I finished I wasn't exhausted but didn't have oodles of energy left over either, so I think I judged it about right. All useful stuff with half an eye on Edinburgh next year.

On the final 3k I fell into step with a lovely chap called David who was using the run as pace training for the New Forest Marathon this September. I was tiring a bit by then and we still had one final long hill to get up just before the finish. He was a complete star, chatting away, getting me up the smaller hill before the big one by slowing down so I could run beside him. I've written before how runners can help one another by either pacing side-by-side or by leading when one is tired, and that is what he did for me.

Soon we passed M waving and cheering and that gave me a lift. The course turned downhill and we were joined by a friend of David's as well as a lady who'd faltered on the previous hill and another chap. Our little group of five stuck together for the final KM, egging one another one, making sure we were all ok, checking it was safe for all of us to cross roads together. Runners. You won't find a nicer, kinder, more supportive bunch of people.

At the final hill there was M cheering and yelling me on so I superglued myself to David's elbow and managed to keep running up all of it, but I was flagging and then I heard David telling me push, push, push and that simple bit of encouragement helped me find some little bit of left-over energy from somewhere to get up the last bit of the hill and turn down to the finish. Here we are just reaching the top of that final hill having run 13 miles in the heat...


We were running side-by-side as we turned to the finish so I suggested sprint finish? We pelted down the hill together grinning and then he did what is quite possibly the nicest thing anyone who isn't my husband has ever done for me in a race- he slowed down so that I could cross the line first. David, if you happen to read this, or someone from Bristol who knows you does: thank you so much for getting me up that hill and being such a true gent at the finish. These races are, in many ways, made for me not by the time I run them in, but by the many examples of truly decent human beings I meet on the way round them.

Job Done. HM # 4 in the bag and at 12 minutes faster than my previous best too.


Happy Days!

Hope you're all well?

CT x

26 comments:

  1. 12 minutes is a huge leap! Brilliant job.

    I have received a nasty insect bite on same leg as 3 weeks ago. Now swelling up. Just the same as before. It'll need 4 or 5 days to go away.
    I don't know what it was. A horrible big black thing anyway.

    C'est la vie!

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    1. Thanks, Gwil. Sorry to hear about your leg. What a nuisance.

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  2. Wow! You're doing so well. And twelve minutes off your best time too. I love how everyone is so supportive of one another. X

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    1. The friendliness at these events is one of the nicest parts of racing x

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  3. Brilliant, very well done you, and in the heat too, mighty impressive. Portishead is my neck of the woods, glad you liked it there. My sister-in-law lives there so we visit quite often and take a turn along the front. What a lovely man to let you cross the line first, it's great how supportive everyone is of each other. Glad the training is going so well, and an excellent new PB. CJ xx

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    1. Next year I'll be better organised and we can meet up beforehand xx

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  4. Well done, I am impressed with all your running events..
    Amanda xx

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  5. David sounds like a real sweetie. I'm so impressed with your running - it was so hot here today that I felt virtuous just doing a bit of gardening down the shady side of our house! 12 mins off your PB is quite something! xx

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    1. I think running adderbury in hot weather a few weeks back really helped - I wasn't worried about it today like I was then xx

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  6. Well done you for lopping off 12 minutes and on a hot day. I dare say when the Edinburgh marathon comes around it will be nice and frosty :). I'm always amazed how you have the ability to chat as you run, haven't developed that knack yet...too busy breathing. Good that you had that lovely encouragement, makes all the difference. Have a good week. B x

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    1. I've heard Edinburgh can chuck everything at you in May from frost to gales to sunshine. It will make packing interesting! I used to find chatting mid run impossible too- you'll get there with it, the more you do the easier it gets xx

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  7. You must have quite a collection of medals now. I wonder if they're all on show. x

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  8. Well done! Especially in this amazing weather – I'm sure it was gruelling. And how fab to get such great support from your fellow runners. Uplifting. Hope you're enjoying a restful bank holiday Monday :-) xx

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    1. We've been out to a race at a local village fete :o) xx

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  9. Congratulations amazing effort on a beautiful day. Well done.. 12 mins is a considerable time off.
    One of my oldest school friends lives in Portishead, they are heavily involved with the RNLI..
    Happy days as you say.
    xxxx

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    1. I really like portishead. Small world, eh? Xx

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  10. Congratulations on another successful run. It must have been quite hot too, we were nearby in Bristol on Sunday too. The support of other runners must be so helpful we were impressed how many runners thanked the stewards at the race at West Bay. Sarah x

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    1. I think Parkrun has helped with that- you get very used to saying thank you as you go round! Xx

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  11. Bravo CT!!! I love the casual way you fancied a half marathon in the way many of us fancy a bar of Dairy Milk!!!
    Leanne xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x