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.
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!
Susie, did you run the whole time or did you walk part of it?
I ran the first 9 then walked for most of 10, 11 and 12 and then ran most of 13
So incredibly happy for you! God Bless you girlie-Q. Sending many hugs from this side of the pond. ❤
Thanks so much Annette!
Congratulations. It won’t seem so bad as time passes (you may just want to do it again next year … but a little faster) 🙂 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. 🙂
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!
WELL DONE SUZIE 😀
That’s brilliant, Suzie. Really, really well done!
Thanks so much Richard!
That’s wonderful, Suzie. 🙂
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. 🙂
Thanks Donna! They weren’t the most flattering of pics but I was gutted when my phone died right toward the end haha! Thanks for your support!
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 🙂
Thanks Haylee!ive done a 5k before for the race for life so I think I might stick to doing these from now on haha!
Well done Suzie!! I’m delighted for you!! 🙂
Thanks my lovely!
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!
Thank you! That wall was horrible – every part of my body was screaming at me to stop and go home haha!
Reblogged this on Daily Echo and commented:
Congratulations, Suzie! And if anyone fancies donating to a good cause…?
Thanks Sue! And thanks for reblogging too!
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!
Ooh thanks Jennifer, I’ll give that a try! I think smelling pickled will be worth it if it gets rid of the pain!
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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!!
Haha – I’m doing exactly the same at the minute Geoffle! Thanks!
Incredible achievement Susie, very well done!!
Saw this on Sue Vincent’s blog and popped over to read the full story. Well done – brilliant achievement.
Thanks so much Mary – really appreciate it!
You freaking rock, S! ❤
I am starting (again) couch to 5K this week….one day I hope to get to this level! 😀
Thanks so much my lovely!
Well done Suzie… *high five-ing you* 🙂
Thanks my lovely – really appreciate the support!
Congratulations! I’m envious, I wish I’d done something like this when I was younger…
Thank you! It’s never too late!
Good for you, Suzie, good for you! You set a tough goal and you achieved it. And raised money for a good cause in the bargain. The ache will subside, the glory will endure.
Thanks Sharon! I read that as ‘the acne will subside’ at first haha! Thanks so much for your support as always!
Don’t you just love it when the screw ups are so much more apt than what’s really in front of you? If you’re a teenager, assuring them that the acne will subside is pretty important. So all you teenage marathoners with acne – stop worrying!
Suzie, I’m still chuckling about your comment.
Haha! I love autocorrect – it’s got me in trouble on a few occasions!
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!
Thanks Deb! By mile 10 I was certainly thinking about it!
Congratulations! Very well done, you have every right to be proud of yourself.
Thanks my lovely!
Thank you Jamie!
This is awesome, congrats!!! This run would kill me…
Well done Susie!
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!
Thanks Stacey! I’m feeling really sore today but when I recover I’ll certainly feel a little better about it!
Well done Suzie! What a fantastic achievement, and for a brilliant cause as well. You must be absolutely ecstatic,(not to mention knackered)! 🙂
Thanks my lovely! I’ve slept a lot, but I’m definitely sore!
You should be so proud of yourself 🙂
I am, I think I’ll feel better about it when the pain has stopped haha! Thanks so much for the support!
Thanks my lovely!
Well done Suzie what a fantastic achievement!
Thanks Kirsty! Much appreciated!
Bloody champion!! Well done xx
Congrats. Runner Boy is seriously impressed!
Thanks Runner Boy!
Fantastic determination and follow-through, Suzie. I’m impressed, and proud of you. Thirteen miles is quite a haul to cross in 3 1/2 hours. Wow!
Thanks Mark! I’m certainly paying for it now but it was totally worth it haha!
Wow! Congrats Suzie and thanks for sharing and inspiring us as well! Brilliant!
Congratulations, Suzie. You did it!! I had to laugh when you said that you would never do it again 🙂
Thank you! I may possibly sign up for the 10K next year but I’m never doing the half marathon again haha!
Seriously, well done, that’s can’t have been easy, but you made it and that’s something to be incredibly proud of 🙂
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….
Thanks Nina! I’m certainly never going to do a run of that length again, but I might do a 10k next year… Possibly… Are you thinking of doing one next year?
Hmm, maybe. I need to get back into running again first! Then I might pick an event to aim for….
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
Thanks so much Melissa!
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!
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!
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). 🙂
I hope your legs are back to normal soon. Next time we meet up I’ll chase you around Pizza Express 🙂
Ooh chase me chase me! I’ve got an image now of the waiters being even less impressed than they were last time!
Congrats! I’m amazed how you managed to take a few selfies during the marathon 😉
Thanks Kat! I had my phone out with me so I thought I’d take the opportunity while I was out there…
Congratulations Suzie! You are awesome! I bet when the pain subsides, you’ll start thinking about your next half marathon…right?
Haha! No! I’m never going to do that again, but I’m going to do a 10k possibly next year, and I’ll certainly continue the running!
Congrats! What an amazing achievement
Did u have a cig straight after? Lol
Haha! No – I would have passed out!
I tried quitting on Sunday.
How did you get on?
Lasted until 1030 on Monday morning 😦
Well at least the intention was there haha!
So amazing that you did this – I am completely impressed! xx
Thanks so much Helen!
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
I’ve heard of the City2Surf – I think they may have showed in on the TV over here… I’m certainly never going to do a half marathon again, but I might do a 10k next year…
It’s a fabulous achievement and as I sit here late at night my wicked sense of humour thinks about a lare night chocolate run, even though my stash is still there and I’ve cut back a bit. It just sounds so devilish: Why go on a marathon when you can do a chocolate run?!! xx Rowena
Ooh now if chocolate was involved I might be tempted to do another one!
That would be my sort of race as well!
Huge congratulations, my dear! Well done! I admire you so much already; this just adds to it even more!! Cher xo
Thank you my lovely – it’s been nearly a week and my feet have almost recovered!
I am sure they are tired but happy feet!! Good to hear they are almost recovered! I’m so sorry I didn’t congratulate you earlier! We’ve been on holiday and just got back last night. I could never do what you have accomplished, dear Suzie! ❤
Thanks Cher! How was your holiday?
It was really good, thanks! A wee bit on the hot side (California normally has lovely temps) but overall we had fun (only gained a couple of pounds) *LOL* xo
That’s the whole point of going on holiday – to eat beautiful food and put on weight haha! So glad you had a good time!
That criteria is exactly what I needed to hear my dear! Yes, that is exactly right! We had a good time!! (If you can think of any and all junk food……….we ate it)! *LOL* P.S. I wouldn’t have changed a chip!! 😉 Cher xo
I love that sentence – I wouldn’t have changed a chip! I’ll use that myself at some point!
They handed out Jelly Babies during the race? Where do I sign up? Congrats!
They did haha! I was covered in icing sugar, but it was nice to have a few on the way round, purely to keep up my blood sugars of course 😉
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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