"} Get a life, Get active! By Fit Lesley: November 2000

Friday, 3 November 2000

Challenge 26 - Lancaster Half Marathon - November 2013

Today Sunday 3rd November I ran in The Lancaster Half Marathon.

I was very apprehensive about running in this as it was my first post injury race!  
2013 has been a disastrous year for me fitness wise, and I have had 8 DNS’s. 

On one hand I was feeling thankful that I was actually OK to be running, as at one point it looked doubtful, but then on the other hand I was feeling extremely nervous as I had done so little training!

I actually had a fairly good night’s sleep and I got up at around 8am.  Thankfully the weather looked more settled than it had yesterday when we experienced gales, sleet, torrential rain and floods!

I managed to have my standard pre-race breakfast of porridge, a banana and coffee despite my nerves, and we set off from Kendal for the 20 mile journey to Lancaster at around 9.30am.  The journey was good and we arrived at the race car park at around 10am. 

The 10 minutes walk from the car park to the race HQ at Salt Ayre Leisure centre was a chilly one and the wind was making itself known! But at least it was dry! 

I went to collect my race number and timing chip from the pre-registered runners desk at the Lancaster and Morecambe AC Building at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be one with my name on it!  Luckily I had done as I was told (for once) and had my email confirmation with me so I was asked just to complete another registration form. Half way through completing another form they miraculously found the envelope with my name on it ... PHEW!

Next stop was the toilets which were inside the Leisure Centre and there wasn’t even a queue!

We then went into the Cafe to keep warm and I attached my race number (thankfully I remembered safety pins!) and put the timing chip on my ankle!  It was too cold outside to hang around so we lurked in the cafe until the last minute. 

We eventually braved the cold and arrived at the start line at 10.55am for the 11am start.  I took off my many layers and gave them to my pack horse (aka husband) before being abandoned on the cold windy cycle path surrounded by elite looking runners and the smell of deep heat.  

11am came and went and my nerves were escalating!  I was shivering quite considerably by this point (nerves or cold?) and just wanted to get going!  

At about 11.10am there was an announcement that the race start was delayed due to an accident close-by meaning a lot of runners were unable to get there in time for the start.  

I’m sorry but when I go anywhere by car I always factor in time for “what ifs ...” and usually end up at my destination far too early but at least I have the peace of mind that I am there.  If people want to leave travelling until the last minute then they should face the consequences and not inconvenience everyone else! 

Anyhow, at 11.20am the race was eventually underway.  I was pleased to be moving at last!  Thankfully I had opted for gloves and a long sleeve top but I was still freezing.

The race started by taking in the cycle track located
at Salt Ayre before moving to the public cycleway heading towards Lancaster. In the distance I could see the Lancaster Castle, Lancaster Priory and the Ashton Memorial.

The initial part of the race was very congested!  If I had been in top condition looking for a PB I would have been very frustrated by the number of people who had obviously gone to the front of the pack but who were not fast runners!  This caused quite a bottleneck as the wide cycle track narrowed into a single lane path.

After about a mile the field opened out a bit and I was able to settle into my pace.  The first segment was sheltered and scenic but fairly slippery, then we headed over the Millennium Bridge and followed the Quayside heading towards Conder Green and we had to fight against a strong wind in the process.  I was hoping that the wind would change direction and give me some assistance but as sods law would have it – it didn’t!

There seemed to be a lot of water stations early on, with water served in poxy small plastic cups but then later in the race they seemed to be quite sparse unless I missed them!

I was slightly concerned to feel my Achilles objecting at around 4 miles. I was hoping I wouldn’t be in too much pain by the end.

At around 6 miles we left the traffic free trails and joined a fairly busy road.  There seemed to be a lot of frustrated drivers trying to get past us, rather too closely for my liking!

I was astounded that the Marshall at around 7 miles was puffing on a big cigar, and I ran through a cloud as I went past him.  Surely this isn’t conducive with the healthy lifestyle running promotes?! 

I was beginning to tire and slow at this point but on a positive note my Achilles seemed to be holding up to the strain and the pain wasn’t getting any worse! 

Then the hills started, OK they weren’t really hills just little mounds but my mental state and legs both interpreted them as mountains!
By mile 10 I really wanted it to be over as we rejoined the traffic free paths!

My legs felt like someone had attached a sack of concrete to them.  I have never felt so bad in a half marathon before!  There was a couple just in front of me who I focused on keeping up with, without them I might have sat down on one of the many tempting benches along the way and cried.

Back over the river and the final mile felt like a marathon.  I  felt sheer relief as I entered Salt Ayre Race Track, which signified to me the end of the race and then I discovered I had to run round the bleeding thing with what felt like a force 10 gale battling me back.  I did half consider whether anyone would notice or even care if I took a short cut across the middle, but I very slowly persevered going around on what seemed like an endless journey!

There was a smattering of spectators around the course but none who were very vocal or offered much encouragement – and not a jelly baby in sight!  The people of Lancaster need educated on race day etiquette.

I passed through the finish and the big clock was showing 2:08:51, I didn’t feel any sense of satisfaction or elation just bitter disappointment! As this was a chipped event my offical time will be slightly faster - by a second or 2!

This is my run according to Garmin. Click Here!

One of my slowest times and I still felt close to collapse!

I staggered to the table to get my medal and T shirt, to be informed that they only had large T shirts left when in fact I had ordered a small.  What’s the point of ordering a specific size if it isn’t saved for you.  I’m assuming all the people who entered on the day (therefore didn’t order a T Shirt) nicked the small T shirts and it’s my punishment for being slow!

Along with a medal and T shirt big enough to fit my entire family in, I got a ham roll and a Mars Bar which were swapped for my timing chip!

Thankfully my husband predicted the state I would finish in and had actually moved the car to the Asda car park which was only a couple of minutes walk away!

I wouldn’t have made it to the other car park – I felt physically beaten and mentally drained!

I keep reminding myself that I have spent more time on the injury couch this year than I have done running so I shouldn’t be too harsh with myself!

This is my worse half marathon EVER! 

Not in time I took but in how I felt whilst running and at the end!

Nothing at all to do with the course which was mainly flat and fairly scenic and it should have been a great run – I’m just too unfit at the moment!

On a positive note things could have been worse ... a lot worse!  

When I got back home to Kendal it was raining and I was informed they had had the same torrential rain as yesterday all day today too! Phew! Rain on top of everything else and I really would have cried!

I will have to run it again next year to put the demons to rest!