Sunday morning was cool, windy and raining, but I wasn't too concerned, blazing sunshine and heat would have worried me more!
We arrived at Halstead Leisure centre, collected numbers, chips, chatted, did pre race photos and numerous trips to the loo!! (Possibly was only me that did numerous loo trips!!)
So this was it, this was what Aprils training had all been about. Lindley was running with me and we had a plan. Plan A was get round in sub 4:15 and Plan B was a new PB there wasn't any other options one of those was going to happen...
The rain stopped as we began and it was reasonably pleasant running conditions, the wind was pretty strong in places and that made it tough at times. I love Halstead Marathon, the course is great, if a little hilly, but it is really well organised and well supported for a small marathon, this was my fourth time and I will continue to take part each year.
The first few miles flew past and I felt really good and would have made my usual mistake of going out much too fast if Lindley hadn't been there to slow me down! It was nice not to have to carry anything, Lindley kept me supplied with sweets, gels and drinks, I wasn't wearing a watch so the only thing I had to focus on was running which was great.
Plan A was pretty much on target until 20 miles then the pain hit my legs and although mentally I was still focused I just couldn't keep to target pace, had also started to feel a bit queasy. My legs just wouldn't do what I wanted them to. I was still running albeit slowly and I know from previous experience if Lindley hadn't been there to encourage and motivate I would have run/walked those last six miles.
We finally crossed the finish line in 4:22:53 which was a new PB by ten minutes, the happiness probably didn't show on my face at that stage as I was concentrating on not being sick!!
Was I disappointed to miss Plan A... In a word no, I can honestly say that I gave 100% for the entire race. There aren't any sections where I think I should have pushed harder, it was a tough race and I'm really proud and happy with what I achieved.
I have to say a massive thank you to Lindley for pacing me round, it really helped me to stay focused and push on through the tough sections and although at first I was concerned about not having a watch, that combined with not carrying anything really left my head clear to focus on running the best race I could.
Yesterday was another big confidence boost that the coaching, training and hard work is paying off, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and now (after a couple of days to recover) I am ready to focus on the next two months of training to prepare for my next ultra run, The Saffron Trail, a 70 mile over night trail run.
For more information on coaching with Lindley and The Saffron Trail Ultra have a look at
Lindley is really helping me to believe that I am a good runner, that I can achieve my running goals and the whole coaching experience is making my running even more enjoyable, even the sore legs today are a happy reminder of a truly awesome day at Halstead!
Well done to all my friends who also ran yesterday you did some awesome times and thanks to those, including Abbi and Laura, who supported on the course and were there at the finish x
Have a great week and happy running xx