Royal Parks Half Marathon report

I know I should have blogged about the Folkestone Half. I even started it a day or two before the actual race but then didn’t finish it. I did finish the half though, although in a very very very slow time. Afterwards, me, iliketocount, helsbels, Travelling Hopefully, Travelling Hopefully’s husband Rich and helsbels’ two friends Jimmy (who will be getting a blog as he will be doing Janathon) and Helen, went to Googies for lunch. You can see my lunch and my recent recreation of it on my Planet Veggie blog.

Helen, Jimmy and Helen drove back to London afterwards, while me, iliketocount, Travelling Hopefully and Rich went to the pub. A very strange pub that you’d never think was in Folkestone due to its mahogany tables, crystal sherry glasses behind the bar, a baby grand piano and Mendelssohn and Brahms coming through the speakers (I know it was Mendelssohn and Brahms: not because I’m a secret classical music fan, not because Shazam told me (although I did try it) but because the Classic FM DJ told me).

Shaun then took us to his favourite pub in Folkestone. Shaun’s favourite pub is a dirty shithole full of scary people with more tattoos than teeth and so we quickly drank up and left Travelling Hopefully and Rich to continue with their Folkestone pub crawl while we headed back to Ashford.

That was two weeks ago.

I almost didn’t make it to the Royal Parks Half. I looked at the train times and the only train to get me to the start on time was leaving at a stupidly early hour and there was no way I was getting up at 4am to run a race I hadn’t trained for. Even if there was going to be pizza and beer afterwards.

helsbels kindly offered me her sofa bed and at first I accepted, mostly due to the fact that it meant we could go out for pizza and beer the night before the race but then I declined as I knew I just wouldn’t be able to sleep as I can’t sleep in a strange bed.

But then, hurrah! a new train was added to the high speed timetable that would get me to the start on time without leaving at a stupidly early time.

So yesterday morning, I got up at 6am and caught the 7:43 to St Pancras. I arrived at Hyde Park with what I thought was plenty of time to put my bag in and go to the toilet.

Then I saw the baggage queue.

It was a long queue. Luckily, it did go down quite quickly and then I joined the toilet queue. Which didn’t go down quickly and I was still in the queue well after 9:30 when the gun for the first wave went off.

I eventually crossed the start line at around 9:55am and did my first mile in under 10 minutes, fast for me at the moment. The second mile didn’t take much longer. 5k came quite quickly and I was feeling fine until 5 miles when my leg started hurting. My leg has been hurting all through my training and during Folkestone Half but luckily hadn’t turned into an injury. Because I didn’t want it to turn into an injury, I seriously thought about DNFing at 5 miles as I didn’t want to walk/limp for 8 miles. Then I decided I didn’t want to wait ages for everyone else to finish and I also didn’t want to turn up at the restaurant and tell everyone I was a loser.

Then at 6 miles a smile spread across my face as I saw Shaun on the pavement, camera poised. I gave him a ‘thumbs up’ (which is really naff and almost as annoying as that ‘fingers-as-quotation-marks-thing’ that makes me want to bash with a hammer the fingers of the person who is doing it) and said ‘my leg hurts’, to which he replied ‘no pain no gain’ which made the girl running behind me laugh. Seeing Shaun gave me a bit of a boost and I carried on running, albeit very slowly, until about mile 8 when my leg started hurting too much for me to carry on running and so I started walking. Shaun popped up again at mile 12 and told me to stop walking and to start running. I hobbled along a bit quicker for a while then started walking again, when he ran up to me and said not to start walking as soon as he was out of sight. Bah.

I walked up to the last stretch and Shaun, Helen and Jimmy were there to cheer me on but I didn’t have it in me to run again until I was practically at the finish line. I ran/limped over the line, turned off my Garmin, which despite me taking flipping hours, was still ticking over, and got my medal and goody bag. Which was just a bag with nothing in it. I JUST RAN 13.1 MILES AND YOU GIVE ME A BAG WITH NOTHING IN IT? It’s a swindle! Luckily in the park there was a tent giving out free stuff and we got free biscuits, Shreddies, teabags and toothpaste.

A pub was found, then we went off to meet fairweatherrunner, fortnightflo and abradypus – who had also done the race – for lunch at Prezzo.

Then, strangely enough, me, helsbels, Jimmy and Shaun went to another pub on the way home.


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