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Great Eastern Run Half Marathon Recap

October 10, 2011

Hello again! I hope you all had fabulous weekends. Yesterday I took part in my first half marathon – The Great Eastern Run in Peterborough. I chose this race as my first attempt at 13.1 miles because it was listed in Women’s Running magazine under “flat races”. I didn’t fancy tackling hills along with a distance that seemed like a ludicrously long way to run for “fun”. Nearly all my training runs have been really hilly, so by the time yesterday came around I was reasonably confident that I could manage to get round the course. You can see how I’ve been training on my running page.

My first impressions of the race organisation were good – in the race pack the organisers sent a car parking pass along with a list and map of all the car parks, which took the stress out of race morning. They also sent safety pins, which was a real winner in my books because I always have a last minute safety pin panic. After fuelling up on porridge with a banana and almond butter, we set off for Peterborough. We got there in plenty of time, so we hung around the Cathedral Square where there was baggage drop-off and a group warm-up.


I have a brilliant band of spectators – Peter was my official photographer as usual, and my parents travelled across the country to come and watch me.


Thankfully it was lovely and mild yesterday, so it wasn’t too uncomfortable to wait around in my running gear.

Ten minutes before the start we all lined up ready to set off.


Where’s Wally?

It wasn’t an overcrowded race, so I actually managed to get running quite quickly. I set off at a pace that felt comfortable and that I thought I could maintain for the whole distance, although in hindsight perhaps in was a little bit fast. I felt great for the first half of the race and was really enjoying the whole experience. The course was mainly through suburban housing estates and there was fantastic support from the locals. Some people had tables laid out with water and juice, some were handing out sport drinks and gels, there were some local fire-fighters cheering us on and one family had a disco going on at the side of the road.

Just as I passed the half way point a wave of tiredness washed over me, but although I slowed down a little I managed to keep going with the help of some Clif Shot Blocks, water and by concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. I also found someone with a similar pace to me and stuck with him.

From the start my feet were a bit sore – I’ve had a massive blister on my big toe for a while, but it really started playing up around mile 8. I think I started to alter my gait, which irritated my left IT band and my knee. I’ve had issues with my right IT band, but the left has never given me any trouble at all before yesterday and I have never suffered with knee problems. By mile 9 I was in agony, I’d really slowed down and it took all my effort not to walk. Ironically, my tiredness had worn off, but it was my legs that stopped me from speeding up.

I was so pleased when I saw the sign for mile 10. I can run 3 miles easily, so psychologically knowing that I only had that distance left was a great boost. I did give in and walk three times over the last few miles, probably for a total of about 90 seconds. The last 0.1 mile seemed like the longest I have ever run, but I did managed to speed up, although I wouldn’t call it a sprint.


It was such a relief to cross the finish, but as soon as I stopped all the muscles in my legs completely seized up and despite trying to stretch they stayed that way for most of the day. I refuelled on coconut water and a Clif bar as I hobbled back into town.


My official chip time was 2 hrs 1 minute and 4 seconds, which I am really chuffed with. I was so close to getting under two hours, so that’s definitely my goal for my next half marathon. To be honest my training over the past two weeks hasn’t been fantastic because I’ve been so tired. I’m hoping that once I get my anaemia sorted out I will be able to train better and get a bit more speed up.

I didn’t sleep too well last night because my legs were so sore still! I’ve been stretching and massaging my IT bands like crazy, so I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before I recover. Today is a rest day and I’m going to take the next few days very easy. Peter bought be some Hotel Chocolat dark chocolate batons to celebrate, so I’m off to indulge …

21 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2011 11:47 am

    GREAT job!! 🙂

  2. October 10, 2011 11:55 am

    Well done! 😀

  3. October 10, 2011 11:56 am

    You did a fantastic job and that is a great time! Please don’t be disappointed…You have been battling with fatigue so next time you run a half-marathon, I am sure you are going to demolish that time and be well under 2 hours 🙂

  4. October 10, 2011 11:56 am

    Fantastic race report and HUGE CONGrAtuLAtioNS. You did awesomely well, I’m very envious xxxx

  5. October 10, 2011 12:11 pm

    What an awesome race recap!!! Congratulations on your first half marathon- in such an amazing time too! 🙂

  6. Bronagh permalink
    October 10, 2011 12:20 pm

    Well done! I would’ve been REALLY chuffed to have completed the run in that time! I hope you enjoyed refuelling with some Hotel Chocolat goodness 🙂

  7. October 10, 2011 12:22 pm

    Great race recap and well done for keeping going when your legs were sore, that’s so tough! You got an amazing time especially considering that as well, huge congrats!

  8. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance permalink
    October 10, 2011 12:23 pm

    Sarah, that is an AWESOME time! Congratulations on the completion of the race! I know you’ve worked very hard for it 🙂

  9. October 10, 2011 1:08 pm

    What an amazing time! Congratulations, I hope you’re not too sore today! Chester marathon next year? 😉

  10. October 10, 2011 1:40 pm

    Well done!

    Sounds like you had to push through some tough moments in the race ~ I hope your recovery is going well 🙂


  11. October 10, 2011 4:14 pm

    Congrats! What an awesome accomplishment 🙂
    I hope your leg feels better soon- the next few days off should help a lot.

  12. October 10, 2011 5:55 pm

    Congratulations, that’s such an amazing time!! Enjoy your rest day 🙂

  13. October 10, 2011 7:14 pm

    Wow that is amazing! An amazing time, especially for your first one! And for keeping going when you were in pain and wanted to walk! Hope the recovery is going well 🙂

  14. October 10, 2011 7:48 pm

    Also thank you so much for sponsoring me- I keep forgetting to thank people it means a lot!

  15. October 10, 2011 8:55 pm

    Well done Sarah, what an amazing achievement! 🙂 I can just imagine how you felt during those difficult miles. They seem to go on forever don’t they? You must feel so chuffed with your time too! You’ve certainly set yourself a high bar!
    Very thoughtful of Peter to get you some celebratory choc! If you fancy some more, I’m having a free giveaway on my blog this week to celebrate Chocolate Week! xx

  16. October 10, 2011 10:44 pm

    Wow congratulations that’s a fantastic achievement! The fact that you had a difficult time for a few miles only makes it more amazing, you must be feeling so proud 🙂
    I hope your anaemia gets better soon! I can imagine how draining it is 😦
    Jealous of the hotel chocolat chocolates, definitely my favourite!

  17. October 11, 2011 4:09 am

    Nice job! That is a GREAT time, and you must be so pleased!

  18. October 11, 2011 6:45 pm

    Congratulations! Such a brilliant achievement, especially that time with your legs hurting so much!
    It sounds like such a great day – and lovely pic of you and Peter 🙂

  19. October 11, 2011 8:01 pm

    Congrats on your awesome time! A great recap!!!

  20. Errign permalink
    October 12, 2011 1:27 am

    Awesome job & great recap 🙂 Hope your legs & blister are feeling better!

  21. October 12, 2011 9:06 am

    utterly amazing, and to do it when you’re not 100% too is fantastic 🙂

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