Friday, 25 September 2015

Wirral Half Marathon

Well, I managed it. I ran my first half marathon on the 13th of September! As the BTR Liverpool's Wirral Half Marathon was 2 hours away and started at 9.30am we had the pleasure of getting up at 4.30am to ensure I got to the start line on time! Porridge was eaten en route thanks to a handy porridge pot and a flask of hot water!

We were due to meet up with our WWC friends at Morrisons in New Brighton for 8am and after getting lost once we managed to get there about 5 minutes early. The group split up there, with myself and friends C and C headed for the start and Andy and the boys headed off with J and grandchildren to get some breakfast!

It was lightly raining at this point so I made sure I took my cap and hoody, and once parked up near Birkenhead Park my friend pulled out some very trendy disposable ponchos to save us getting wet. We took a little wander round with a loo stop (there was a plentiful number of portaloos) then dropped our things off on the baggage bus which would be waiting at the finish. I chose to keep my cap on as it was still raining very lightly and I like to be able to see out of my glasses!

We headed to the start funnel and stood by the 2 hour 15 minute corral. My ultimate goal was 2 hours and 30 minutes but you never know! Once we were set off it took 2 minutes for me to get to the start and I was quickly moved along by the sheer number of people taking part. We spent the first part of the run inside Birkenhead Park before heading out towards New Brighton. I went out too fast as per usual, but soon steadied my pace. As we headed out of the park I realised it had stopped raining and the sun was shining down on us. By the time I got onto the prom I had to take my cap off as I was getting too hot.

I managed the first 5km in about 31 minutes which I was really pleased with although slightly worried that I needed to take it a little easier if I wanted to get to the finish! I really liked that section on the prom though as the crowds of runners started to disperse and it became more roomy. I passed a fantastic art piece of a pirate ship made out of driftwood on the beach and made a mental note to tell Andy about that when I finished... little did I know he and the boys had already been playing on it!

I started getting nearer the 10k mark and where the 10k runners would break off to their finish. I was starting to tire here a little, but I managed 10k in 1.04 so was quite pleased with that. I started scanning the people along the sides here to see if Andy and the boys had come out to watch me pass by and they had! Not only was I able to get rid of my cap but seeing them gave me a real boost and I felt myself moving a little faster again. After a few minutes I passed over the half way marker (1.07) and kept going.

Not too much further on and I ended up on a slightly narrower section of prom, but with lovely views still. The 2 hour and 20 minute pacer overtook me just at the 8 mile marker, singing 'We're off to see the Wizard' as he went past with his followers.

I ran the first 10 miles in 1 hour 47 minutes (the same as my time for the Prudent Riverside 10 miler at Lancaster). I was thrilled with that time as it meant I had 43 minutes to get the last 5km done. 3 of those minutes I allowed myself to walk a little but I mostly managed to keep running. My motivation increased when I got back onto the prom and could see the finish line in the distance. As I got nearer I realised I was going to beat my goal plus I saw Andy and the kids on the way to the finish. Got a high five from William on my way in and finished my first half marathon in 2.26.29!

I received my medal and goody bag and walked like a little old lady over to the t-shirt tent to collect my shirt. After that it seemed to take an age to get over to the group, mainly because I had to have a sit down partway there. It's amazing how you really don't feel it until you stop! I was so proud of myself, and proud of my lovely friend who completed her first 10k event.

What a wonderful day.


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