Oxford half marathon: The one with the lucky pants

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So the time finally came for the Oxford Half Marathon – my ‘A’ race for this season. All the signs of just being happy with finishing were there – horrible cold that knocked me out for ages, only long runs (2×10 miles) done weeks before, and a grade 1 tear in my calf muscle. I had in the back of my mind a real stretch target (1h 55 mins injury free) a doable target of sub 2 hours (if the planets were aligned and my lucky pants weren’t in the wash) and an easier target of just PBing (ie, less than 2hours 10).

I knew it was going to be cold, wet and miserable, but I was secretly looking forward to the first race of the season without overheating (I don’t run well in the heat!).

In the morning, I had my usual porridge and a shot of Beet-It Sport before heading off in the car to park near the Kassam stadium (where the race started from). All seemed fine until I realised I had forgotten to bring my chip with me as we parked up (note to self: add the chip to my trainers the night before!). Then the panic and disappointment set in – I mean without the chip time it’s like it didn’t happen! I gave myself a good shake and realised that unless I’m coming in the top 10 who cares?

We met a bunch of people at the Helen and Douglas House tent and made our way rather late to the race start (way back beyond the 2h 15min pacer). As always, I then spent the first few miles ducking and diving and running past the usual walkers, over taking the 2hour 15 pacer and the 2hour 5 pacer. I ran the first 5k around the 27-minute mark and was feeling good, despite being soaked to the bone. The boyf decided to wait for me at mile 4 and mile 11 to get some pictures and provide much-needed moral support. I made the 4-mile rendezvous on schedule and was feeling good.

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My Sweaty Betty compression tights were a god send!

Around mile 7 when we were trundling along the bog-like paths through Christchurch Meadows and as I was dodging the numerous puddles I made a comment about the hideous conditions and my friend turned around (I hadn’t spotted her). After a hug and a run together, I headed off (the tow path section, although lovely, was far too cramped and I was struggling to maintain my pace). Just before mile 10 and the end of the tow path section, I heard my name being called again and it was none other than the lovely Chilton Diva – we wished each other well and I bounded off again – I’d hit 10 miles at bang on 1hour 30 and was really conscious of the last 3 miles being tough. In my head I had broken the race down into quarters – I love 5ks and I told myself it was just a series of easy 5ks. Having said that, I had to fight through the tiredness and complete the last 5k in between 25 and 28 minutes to get the time I had hoped for and the illusive sub 2-hour half marathon. A little boost came in the form of the boyfriend again who was waiting patiently at mile 11. I only just spotted him hence the slightly bemused expression!

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Just before mile 12 I spotted another blogger – Katie of Cake of Good Hope fame looking really strong (the woman’s a legend!) – I managed to stick in close proximity to her until the end when we crossed the finish line together into the Kassam stadium (nice place to finish!).

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My time was an astonishing 1:58:57! Despite the injury and the terrible lack of training I had smashed my previous PB by a  whopping 12 minutes! I am beyond pleased with that. Big thank you to all the lovely people on twitter and the blog who have been so supportive it means a lot. xx

Diva rating: 4/5

rating 4 of 5

Good points: 

- Local to me

- Easy to park

- Nice bling

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- Accurate course

- Lots of spectator points

- Hearing my name called out at least 3 times!

- Finishing in the Kassam stadium

Bad points:

- Not all of the course was that pretty – quite a lot of it was through housing estates and along main roads, which, given that Oxford is touted as one of the prettiest cities was a little disappointing!

- The information pack was pretty poor to say the least and comprised a number and a chip (which I forgot!)

Would I do this again? 

Probably – it all depends on whether it clashes with another race next year.

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Me having a sports massage and looking ridiculously pleased with myself!

sian

16 thoughts on “Oxford half marathon: The one with the lucky pants

    • Ah thank you. I am SO proud. I remember about 18 months ago my PT saying that some people try all their lives for a sub 2-hour half and I nailed it today. :-)

    • haha – i just noticed that. No certainly wasn’t or that would really be an impressive time! :-) Beetroot was indeed involved, although I will stick with a glass of the juice not the shot which is puke-inducingly disgusting!

  1. Hey, you made with all of those things working against you. Congrats! Yeah beet juice!
    The massage must have been great. I’ve never had one after a race, the only time I’ve had is at the PT’s office.
    I like how you list the good and the bad parts of the race experience. It’s never all roses and sunshine!

  2. Pingback: Absolutely Bricking it! | Dashing Divas

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