(the last bit is when I crossed the finish line and forgot to turn my iPod off for 10 minutes. Good to know my speed while collecting bananas and Lucozade though…)
It’s done! The half marathon goal I set back in October is done! 4.5 months of training seems a little bit excessive for just over 2 hours of running – but it was so worth it when I was able to finish 13.1 miles in a very respectable 2:06 beating Katie Price AND Fatboy Slim.
I was very impressed with the organisation of the Brighton Half. The race packages arrived in plenty of time and the timing chips were built into the bibs with a little foam piece at the bottom. GENIUS for anyone who has fumbled around or worried about the zillion things you need to remember on race day. The start area was well set up with plenty of porta-loos and bananas for the 7400 runners who didn’t have time for a full English breakfast. And the line up was very casual with people choosing where they wanted to start based on their hopeful finish time.
There was some controversy about the length of the course – and due to a small error we actually ran 13.48 miles. Not that it really mattered to me, 13-point-whatever miles is long enough to count as a great run.
The warm-up (which I usually dislike) was amazing! Lots of dynamic stretching, but also they did it to my favourite Vegas pool party hype songs*
* side note: I’ve never been to Vegas or a pool party but this is what I imagine them to be like
Then we were off – I think I was in one of the busiest areas the whole race, so there was a lot of dodging people and weaving in-and-out throughout the race so I definitely didn’t run the tangents for an efficient race.
The first 5 miles (Ugh. Get with the metric system UK!) were great. There were a few rolling hills and the wind was at our backs. The first few hydration stations were out of the way and I had yet to be hit in the head with a 3/4 full water bottle – so all in all I was pretty confident for the rest of the race.
(http://sportcam.net/ Not bad race photos even if I do look like I’m powerwalking at the mall)
Around mile 6 the race ran back through the starting area by the Pier and there were so many people out lining the race route! It was so great to have the crowd cheering you on (even though I only know a few dozen people in this country and none were in the crowd) and at this point the leaders of the race doubling back to the finish line right beside us so that was pretty inspiring. At this point I spent a lot of time thinking about what it must take to run 21.1km in 1 hour and decided that giving up pies and chocolate mousse and pints after work was not worth it.
From this point on in the race I knew it was at least another hour of running, but seeing the leaders close to the finish I somehow hoped the last turnaround would be a lot closer than it was. Around mile 8 I started to wonder how in the heck the first 5 went by so fast. I also tried to do running math. 13 miles total – 8 miles done = 5 more to go? No way, must be shorter. How many km in a mile? If my Nike+ is about 1.4km off accuracy then where should the next mile marker be, one song on average is 3.5 minutes so how many songs until the next mile… Any runners know the feeling of trying to do simple math while running = impossible.
(http://sportcam.net/ Fatboy Slim, Katie Price and Alex)
My legs were on auto-pilot and short of a few bursts of speed to pass heavy breathers (I cannot run near a heavy breather. Ever) I just kept moving forward to my amazing playlist of pop anthems.
A brisk pace for the last mile put me across the finish line at 2:12 something and I tried to do some more runners math subtracting my start time – but the call of medals, emergency blankets, bananas, and 4 flavours of Lucozade was stronger than my subtraction skills.
I found Alex and all of the above rewards right away and although the medal was amazing and one of the best I’ve got – the goody bag was disappointing to say the least! A coupon we had already all got with our registration kit and a magazine subscription offer that anyone who runs already has been offered on Twitter. Obviously running and finishing the race was reward enough, but IMO that goody bag wasn’t even worth giving out.
All in all I give the Brighton Half a 9/10 (7 of those points were due to the sunny weather) and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a winter challenge in England. Plus, if you go to the beach after the rocks are the perfect foot massage.
Mandatory after any activity in Britain is a trip to the pub. We went to the amazing Bath Arms for roasts and fireplaces recovery.
Our #toptip is to not stay at the Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront. The room we got was what we expected and what they advertised. Nothing special but decent and clean enough for a one night stay. What I did not appreciate was that they had the audacity to charge an extra £30 for all late checkouts on the Sunday because of the race. It’s one thing to only offer a few late checkouts because they have a cleaning schedule to keep, but to charge for them is taking advantage of your guests who have specifically come for an event, already paid a lot for a mediocre room and were bringing their entertainment and food money to your town. Bad move by their management and a sure way to spread ill-will towards your hotel. Check out my Tripadvisor review here.