This year’s Great Birmingham Run had a record breaking 20,000 make Birmingham’s half marathon a record breaker on Sunday 21st October.
The Great Birmingham Run 2013, formerly known as Birmingham half marathon, was started by Walsall golden girl Ellie Simmonds, so I went along for my 2nd half marathon hoping to beat last years’ time of 2 hours and 17 minutes as I’m now armed with a little more experience and slightly faster stats.
On a downside, I probably haven’t run enough miles as I have been mainly running 5-8 miles so expected dig deep and let my heart to push me over the finish line.
It turns out this was my single biggest mistake, as soon as I hit the 10 mile mark and the infamous uphill section of the half marathon, I experienced my first ever bout of crippling cramp which was so bad, I simply could not even walk and thought I would have to exit the race.
I have heard tales from people locking up with cramp but I can honestly say I have never felt pain like it, but I hobbled foe a few minutes to the top of the hill and it was time to make the choice that you don’t get too often in life as race helpers offered Jelly Babies and Vaseline for sore nipples, I opted for jelly babies for that extra boost.
I found that I could run for 2-3 minutes before the cramp began to niggle again, but knew if I took it steady, I will make it past the finish line. In hindsight, drinking Jack Daniels the night before the race combined with not running longer than 10 miles in training was never going to end in a good way, but I remembered the old mantra of running being 99% mental and 1% physical and somehow finished with a time of 02:18 and in 10388th place out of 20,000 runners.
Slow and steady might not win the race, but despite my setbacks, my time was only 1 minute slower than last year and finishing around the halfway mark is still a million miles better than 3 years ago when I couldn’t even run for a bus.
I may never be an athlete but as the old saying goes “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone sitting on the couch”
My next challenge will be to stay motivated through the harsh winter weather to maintain enough fitness to start again in spring.
The plan is to try and keep up a couple of 3-5 mile runs a week, but this will be much harder as it sounds. When the central heating gets turned up, the comfort eating begins and the next generation of consoles arrive in the shops things could get tricky but watch this space…