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Tuesday 5 March 2013

Silverstone Half Race Report

Woke up with a face that felt hot and swollen and a sore throat. Stupid cold. Took my final antibiotic and a cold & flu tablet and some lockets in an attempt to medicate the cold into submission. I was still feeling a bit tired from bootcamp yesterday even after 14 hours sleep.

As is usual for events at Silverstone, the A43 was queued about a mile before the Silverstone exit. But I’d left plenty of time for coffee and multiple loo breaks so it didn’t cause any problems. Also, I’d been caught by the Silverstone traffic management problems a while ago when I came here for a Race for Life and didn’t get into the car park until 30 minutes past the official start time ...

There was a great atmosphere walking up to the start. There’s not much nicer than walking with hordes of other runners, all excited and with the atmosphere of a big race ... at a world famous track!! The sunshine made everything seem lovely ... until we came over the final bridge and saw the toilet queue. Already stretching out into the field beyond.

I said my toilet prayer. Please let there no one be in front of me with a nervous stomach. Please let there be loo roll. Please let the toilet flush and be flushed. Don’t let me drop my race number into the bowl.

Happy as I've located the coffee kiosk!

Got into the main part of the circuit and found a couple of friends who were also running it and we quickly located the nearest coffee shop. Rob put on his charity race top with his name on ... but due to unfortunate positioning, instead of promoting the charity, the t-shirt seemed to be asking the viewer to ‘Stroke Rob’. He didn’t get any takers. Although he did get a packet of jelly beans from somewhere ...

However, I had prepared and took out my crème egg from my race bag. A final treat before the race. Ate that and scoffed my final Locket in the hope of chasing the last of the cold away before I had to run.

Feeling the pre-race nerves now ...

Found my place in the crowd and the shuffling towards the line started. And stopped. But finally we were off. It took 27 seconds to cross the line (according to the email afterwards) which wasn’t too bad at all and it was quite a treat to run on such a smooth surface.

My half marathon race pace would have been about 7:10 min/mile.  I wasn’t feeling 100% so decided to sit at this for as long as possible and then drop to marathon pace if I couldn’t sustain it. I’d talked to Marathon Coach Steve about this and it was decided to play it as I felt on the day.

The first mile was fantastic and I ran it with a big smile on my face. I was running with 6,000 other people! Who also liked running! The sun was shining and I was out for a run! Life was GOOD!!

Then the sun went in. And I realised that I had another 12.1 miles to run with a sandpaper throat and a rattly cough. Bother. Concentrate on the good bits ... I don’t need a loo stop. I’ve already done a mile. I can have a coffee when I’ve finished. Maybe an ice cream too!

I found this a tough run. I don’t think it should have been as there were hardly any hills and although a few people have mentioned the wind I didn’t really notice it. I found it a tough slog and my mile splits reflected this as I started to fade early on and I slowed badly from mile 4. 

Not really feeling the running love right here ...

However, there were some really GOOD bits too! The lovely lady from Spa Striders who ran with me briefly at about mile 2 for a chat and invited me out for a run with them! The tall gent with blond hair and a dark blue top who asked me whether I was with the Asics 5 and wished me luck! The people who were supporting and saw my name on my top and cheered me on ... thank you SO much!

I really struggled with my cold in this race and I really think that if I hadn’t had the support, I may well have had my first ever DNF. 
I knew early on that I wasn’t going for a PB in this race and after about mile 6 I ran it to how I felt without looking at the Garmin. It’s reassuring that feeling as rough as I did, it was still all under marathon pace. As Marathon Coach Steve said, there’s plenty of time for other races. Not every run has to be a race. I think I’m still learning that.

Also ... short bloke runner in a black top? Please check there’s not a short girl running just behind you before you spit. Sputum isn’t my preferred choice of cool down. Especially not in the face. If I wasn’t so knackered I would have been REALLY grumpy. As it was I had to put up with overtaking you and giving you a dirty look.

However, it wasn’t all bad. Managed a sprint to the line. Well ... a fast stumble anyway.

Time: 1:37:57
Gender position: 38th woman / 2142
Overall position: 619th / 6189 people

P.s. Official marathon pic people? If you want me to pay £45 for a photo, then please take one of me with my eyes open!



  1. Nicely done - it's never good running when you know you have a cold but it does reflect how well you would have done if fully functioning.

    1. Thanks Taffster! I'm tempted to enter another half quite soon after Paris to see how I get on. This one was such hard work compared to Dorney Lakes half a couple of weeks ago which was nice and comfortable!

  2. Dear Sarah, please can you refrain from running such a speedy time when you are unwell, thank in advance, Plod :)(great post btw)

    1. Hee hee! Sorry Plod. I'll consider myself told! :)

  3. Bloody hell, I can't even manage that sort of pace feeling 100%!! Well done you :)

    1. Thanks Marie! I read the post back and reaslised I sound like a right moany cow! :) I was pleased with the time - it's quicker than my PB before the Paris training - I need to get out of the mindset that every run has to be a PB! :)