I FINALLY did it! Cracked that 1:25 mark and got a new PB! It may have only been by 7 seconds with a time of 1:24:53 but I was delighted to say the least – coming in as the third woman and 79th overall in the Chester Half Marathon.
The Chester half marathon was a tough one for me as I’d been invited for the first time to have an elite start – for some this would seem great fortune but even though I was delighted it also meant 1 other thing – PRESSURE!
Being surrounded by elite athletes is somewhat intimidating – especially when they aren’t so friendly. But I met a great guy called Tarus Ellis who kept me company and made me feel so much better with my anxiety – plus he gave me some words of wisdom and confidence boost prior to the race.
The race started promptly at 9am and I must say – the first 6 miles was tough. Whether this was because of the initial inclines on the course or the fact my anxiety and nerves were sky high, but for those first miles I seemed to have the incredible urge to stop and give up – telling myself to just “let it go”, “this isn’t your race”.
Then something happened… I got to 5.5 miles and two men were shouting “you’re third! You’re Third!” and that was it, the trigger switched. I swallowed some salt and opened my SIS Caffeine Gel and suddenly the battle seemed almost over – hills came and I signed at the sigt of them, but before I knew it I was over them without a struggle in pace and from their my confidence grew. It really is all about perceived effort mentally and self motivation – by knowing you can complete the challenge ahead and knowing your capable – motivation increases and the perceived effort decreases – if I’d kept telling myself I won’t do it – my pace would have slowed, but because I was telling myself “I’m third”, “I’m fit and I’m fast”, “this is nothing” – the upcoming hills just vanished in front of me.
I’d been warned about a big hill at mile 12 lasting the whole mile and I was bracing myself for it mentally as much as possible, but suddenly the 400m sign appeared…”was that it??” I thought and I powered to the finish line.
I don’t know about you guys but that cheer coming down the home run resonates in my head, the calling of your name and as you push yourself to sprint to the end the volume gets louder and louder – it really is the best part about any race for me – not the finishing line, but those cheers of support and acknowledgement.
I had a great say on Sunday 21st of May at the Chester Half Marathon and the staff could not have been nicer – big thumbs up for their organisation and hospitality.
COURSE ROUTE & SCENERY: 3.5/5
People have noted on Chester being a relatively flat course – I beg to differ. The first miles brings some inclines with a hill climb as soon as you break away from the race course. The course has an initial hill on starting, some steady inclines up until mile 5 and then an incline at mile 8 and 12.
The course itself takes you out of Chester and round back into the city which to be honest I didn’t enjoy too much – I felt like it was very much country roads – which are a little dull in my opinion. The charity supporters around the route made the course more vibrant and exciting but the best bits were leaving the town centre and coming back into the town centre – Chester is a lovely city and the buildings are lovely.
Overall organisation was great – plenty of water stations and even isotonic drinks and high 5 energy gels on the course which was great – although I had my own caffeine gel it’s always nice to have those added extras! The organisers were lovely and very supportive and its always great to have a radio station like Capital FM at these events to really create the motivational atmosphere!
PB POTENTIAL: 5/5
Has to be a 5/5 considering I got a pb! But for some the wind on the way back into the city centre and hills are challenging and so I’ve worked hard at hill training the past few weeks, working on my technique and power so I would advise others to do the same if looking for a PB at this event.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
Great event, very supportive, a nice race village on the day and a great medal and goodie bag. I also got third place which included £150 and a bottle of champagne so for me the value for money was definitely there but the experience of that home run is one I will not forget and was worth every penny.
Finisher Goodie Bags: 5/5
The goody bag was great – a fantastic medal, T-shirt, isotonic drink, high 5 energy gel and electrolyte tablets which are my favourite, Kit Kat chunky (which I LOVE), full size bag of haribo and a 9 bar. The only thing I would have added is a savoury snack to get the ultimate balance.
BEGINNER FRIENDLINESS: 5/5
Another good city race for beginners – lots of support along the course from charities and Capital FM, with lots of information points and a family fun run.
OVERALL RATING: 5/5
I got third place but more importantly a PB so this race gets a 5 from me! This race was VERY mentally challenge – I’d had lots of sleepless nights from anxiety and the first miles were tough in my head but the people and organisers were so friendly and the support was overwhelming which brought me out on top and made it an experience to remember – to book your place now for 2018 visit their site here.