Great Birmingham Run 2015: I Did It!

In a moment of madness earlier in the year I signed up for the Great Birmingham Run… all 13 miles of it. As a cheese eating, chain smoking carb lover with a large bottom it wasn’t the most sensible decision I’d ever made, particularly when I followed my sign up and payment with two months of procrastination!

Over the summer, I started training regularly, building up my fitness levels, stamina and distance with several of my friends, and I started to feel a lot more confident about it. I purchased some decent running gear, changed my eating habits a little and lost weight. It was looking good!

Then, in September, I went to Barcelona, and managed to burn my feet so badly that they swelled up to double their size, taking a fortnight to go down, which was a bit of a setback. I started running again once they had gone down, but then was hit with a bad dose of the flu and a nasty cold, which knocked me out for the two weeks leading up to the race.

However, yesterday was the big day, and I was determined to do it even if it meant walking! My mum came down to stay so she could watch me run, and she and The Bloke planned to go to various parts of the track to cheer me on. It was perfect weather, being quite cold, and when I arrived the atmosphere was electric, with thousands of runners from all over the country warming up and getting ready.

As we set off, I felt good. In fact, for the first seven or eight miles I felt reasonable – I went at a steady pace, controlled my breathing and made sure I wasn’t putting too much pressure on my knees. I saw The Bloke and Mum at the 3 mile and 8 mile mark, and saw several of my colleagues and students cheering us on along the way and it spurred me on to carry on. However, by mile 9 I was beginning to hurt. Nothing bad, just a mild ache in my thighs, so I slowed down and kept going. By mile 10, however, it was getting worse, and I hit the wall that I’d heard so many runners talking about. By mile 11, the only thing I could do was walk – we hit the mother of all hills and there was no way I’d be able to make it up there by running without passing out. In fact, I walked mile 11 and mile 12 and it was agony – I felt every single step and it seemed to go on forever. By this point, all of those around me did the same thing – we took advantage of the Jelly Babies that were being handed out to keep up our blood sugar levels, made conversation and cheered each other on, and it lifted my spirits.

And then we saw the finish line at the bottom of Broad Street, and we started to run. I could see The Bloke and Mum waiting and cheering, and as I crossed the finish line I felt an enormous sense of relief. By this point, I couldn’t feel my feet or legs, I was shaking and desperate to get my medal and go home. I got a huge hug from both of them, and they were very patient as I hobbled my way to get a taxi.

13 miles.

I managed to do it in under three-and-a-half hours, exactly the time I had been going for, which I was really pleased about. However, despite stretching down and following all the recommended steps afterwards, by yesterday evening I had completely seized up from the waist down. I didn’t know that I was capable of hurting so much!

Still, I bloody did it, and I’m proud of myself! Will I do it again? Never. However, I may just sign myself up for a 10k next year… Possibly.

There’s still time for you to add the the huge amount of generous sponsorship that has already been donated to the Just Giving page I have set up, with all proceeds going to Dementia UK, in memory of my grandfather…

Thanks to all of you who gave so much support over the last few months, and to everyone who joined in my live tweeting yesterday during the race!


119 thoughts on “Great Birmingham Run 2015: I Did It!

  1. So incredibly happy for you! God Bless you girlie-Q. Sending many hugs from this side of the pond. ❀

  2. Congratulations. It won’t seem so bad as time passes (you may just want to do it again next year … but a little faster) πŸ™‚ Always remember that 13 miles is 13 miles, regardless of whether you run, walk, or mix. Completing that run puts you physically ahead of most of the population in ability so, again, congratulations. Expect to be sore for a few days! Rule of thumb guideline for recovery : 1 day rest for every mile raced. Rest can include light “loosen up” kind of runs……. but nothing strenuous. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks very much! I’ve got a day off today so I’m resting, but I think tomorrow at work may be a little painful! I’m certainly not planning on doing that ever again haha!

  3. That’s wonderful, Suzie. πŸ™‚
    Loved your updates for the run on Twitter yesterday (until your phone battery died).
    Congrats, you must be wobbly but proud today.
    Cheers and to many more triumphs. πŸ™‚

  4. Congratulations! Although I’ll happily walk these distances, I’ve only ever ‘run’ a 5k before and that took its toll. So loads of admiration for completing this πŸ™‚

  5. Well done Suzie – a half marathon is an excellent accomplishment, especially for someone who’s not a runner! And as a runner myself, I can absolutely agree with you that the dreaded ‘wall’ 100% exists! It’s nasty… but being able to push yourself over the finish line, even if it was a bunch of walking at the end, means you pushed right through the darn thing. Yay you!

  6. This is fantastic news! I’m so glad you did it and you managed not to crap out in the middle!! Now for the PAIN – taking a hot bath with about a pint of vinegar in the water removes all that lactic acid from your muscles – so you feel better FAST! It sounds weird and you won’t smell perfect (kind of pickled) but you will feel so good!

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  8. I have never done so far but I did manage a 10 k and for four days after I had to go down the stairs backwards which, at work, was beyond embarrassing. Still, tick and fab achievement, Suzie!!

  9. You freaking rock, S! ❀

    I am starting (again) couch to 5K this week….one day I hope to get to this level! πŸ˜€

  10. Good for you! Glad you made your goal and finished the run. I’m afraid I would have backed out at the last minute or hit the wall of pain and stuck there!

  11. Congratulations! That’s an amazing achievement and you should be really proud of yourself, no matter whether you walked, ran or crawled over the finish line. I’m not sure I’d have been made a mile!

  12. Congratulations, Suzie. You did it!! I had to laugh when you said that you would never do it again πŸ™‚

  13. Well done on completing it! Not an easy thing to do at all – I’ve done 7km, 8km, 10km but have never managed 13 miles. Yet….

  14. I’m a little late to the after party, but *shakes pom poms* WOO HOO! You did it. You totally rock, Suzie. I’m in awe. Many congratulations for all your raised and achieved x

  15. A terrific achievement – and you’ll always have it to look back on. If it’s any consolation, I hit the wall on my first 10k. I’ll say no more about that one.
    Well done, Suzie, and here’s hoping it’ll generate some extra sponsorship

    • Thanks so much Grame, really appreciate it! I have felt so much better when others have shared their ‘wall’ stories – makes me feel a little less incompetent haha!

  16. CONGRATULATIONS, Suzie! Good job. I think you need a long soak in a hot tub and a massage. I can empathize with those last several miles – I once did a really long trek in the mountains and I really don’t recall the last miles!

    • Thank you so much my lovely! I had several long soaks and it helped, but my feet are still a little sore haha! I’ve never been one for hiking, but I can imagine that it was quite painful for you!

  17. Many congratulations on completing the run, Suzie. I did a half marathon many years ago and know completely what you are going through when everything seizes up. Not even hot baths helped me. I never did another run (apart from the time I was chased by a Store Detective). πŸ™‚

    I hope your legs are back to normal soon. Next time we meet up I’ll chase you around Pizza Express πŸ™‚

  18. I could feel the agony in each and every step going up that hill…not that physical exercise and I have much in common. I’m actually nibbling on a bit of Toblerone as I write.
    Well done on getting to the finish and good on Mum and the Bloke for cheering you on.
    In Sydney, we have the City to Surf: The City2Surf is 14km in distance starting from the intersection of Park and College Sts in Sydney’s CBD before heading up William St and through the tunnel at Kings Cross. The course continues along New South Head Rd through Rose Bay, then up “Heartbreak Hill” (the halfway point) and also the toughest part of the course.

    The course then turns the corner at Vaucluse, right onto Old South Head Rd, left onto Military Rd and then down the hill to the finish at Australia’s most famous and spectacular Bondi Beach.

    The City2Surf finish line is located on Queen Elizabeth Dr at the southern end of Bondi Pavilion.

    I’ve never even watched the race but it’s a real thing of pride to enter.

    Something to consider if you ever get over this way! xx Rowena

  19. Congratulations Suzie – a fantastic achievement. I have competed in one ‘fun’ run (why do they call it that?) a measly 12 k’s compared to your marathon (cough, cough!) effort. I know that feeling of pride and personal achievement and there’s nothing like it. Of course, now I want to know what music was streaming through your iPod!!

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