Wednesday, 25 August 2010

ufdance half marathon

The weather has not been great recently, rain, rain, rain, but luckily it held off a tiny sprinkle in the morning but that was it.  I had  my usual shredded wheat and that was it, stomach played up a little bit, but not too much. 

Drive there was cool, no traffic probs, car park was shut, the area is being done up for the Olympics so no showers or changing rooms, but there were four porta loos, of course the line was looooooong, so I took too the bushes across the road,  it was a bit busy a few other ladies had the same idea and there was a dog running around, but luckily I was able to do my business without being shamed!

Once finished, I noticed a girl looking around, seems likes she dropped her IPOD shuffle whilst doing her business, so I helped her looked for a it and we chatted, funny enough when she’d given up, and we were on our way back that’s when she found it. She was running with a friend and it was there first half, they were great girls and we had a little chat, took a couple of pics and went on our separate ways. Bev is on the right she is the one who was hunting for her IPOD, Mariama is in the middle.

I decided not to put any Kinseo tape compression guards or socks on, my reason for this is because my injury has to heal for itself, no amount of gimmicks are going to make it better, so recently I've just been following the phyiso instructions and it seems to be working. Tactic today was to ensure I did not aggravate my injury and if at anytime it had become too painful I gave myself permission to stop.

There was a bit of a warm up, I hate group warm up, I always just want to get started, once that was over, we went on our way, the route was six times around, the route goes through a long wooded area which has a slight incline, then through a grassy area, where there was a water station, then the last mile takes you along a canal, all very pretty, then back on a grassy area then start all over again, every lap was just over 2 miles.

Here go all the speedy bastards!

There I am starting slow, the field was full of serious runners, so even though my pace was around an 11 minute mile at first I was way at the back, tried not to get carried away and start running like my life depended on it, but it can be hard when everyone around you is steaming away. The pics above are of Bev and Mariama starting off as well.

I love pictures of other runners, the determination, the pain, the elation the confidence.

My achilles was hurting I can’t lie took a few miles to warm up, and left leg was cramping a bit, but I am so used to it during traiing, I paid it no mind, plus I think I’m getting stronger and my body is getting so used to my imblalaces it’s just gets on with it.

Above is a picture of a good mate of mine called Grace, we used to go to the same gym together years ago, and even been on a few fitness holidays together, she came to my birthday BBQ in June, the funny thing is I didn't even know she was running, it's only as I was looking through pictures I realized it was her. She looks so happy, so serene and in her own little world, don't be deceived she was pretty quick, finishing in 2 hours 5 minutes. Well done Gracie do proud of you, you look fantastic and your time was amazing.

My average pace was just underneath an 11 minute mile, I tried hard not to go slower than that. The hardest mile was mile 11 that is always a problem for me, I just seem to lose a bit of hope around that time, O.K I was losing the will to live to be honest, I think it's because I’d run so damn far already and I know I still got a way to go, I have a bit of a dip in confidence. I  lost count of the laps after a while, and was unsure how many more I had to go. It’s like you mind losses focus. Luckily my garmin was a life saver and that helped to keep me on track. 

Then I was attacked by stitches the bane of my life, began to attack, right hand side of my stomach and then the left hand side, Lord, I had to stop for a minute, breathe it out, curse myself, sorry encourage myself then continue that must have been my slowest mile I think it was a 12.01 mile, shame on me. 

 Look at the pain on my face in the first picture, notice how I perk up when I see the camera, what a girl would do for a great picture!

Mariama, she was walking so I got her running again, by now my paced had picked up to just about a 10 minute mile. I always get excited towards the end of a race and I always start shifting, she said I was going too fast and stopped, but I wouldn't let her, I literally yelled. "Shit we're too close to the end, you just have to finish your first half marathon in glory." Plus I was grateful for the company, it took my mind of my pain, we kept pushing, final corner and I really let go, the excitement got the better of me I really ran for it and passed three people in the process!

I finished in 2 hours 21 minutes 33 seconds, a 10:54 pace, which I'm very pleased with, with my injury I  was in fact surprised, I was expecting to be a bit slower, I feel as if there is a lot more to come and once I'm one hundred percent injury free, I can really knock some time off, but I'm happy, happy to even be able to run, let alone race.

Mariama and I then ran up to meet Bev, who was walking due to cramp
Kat "What are you doing come on, you have to run to the finish, are you injured."
Bev"I got cramp."
Kat"Great, lets run." 
And we accomapnied her to the finsih line, everyone back safe, she managed it in 2 hours 35 minutes.

Well done ladies you both done brilliantly for your first ever half, and it was a pleasure to be part of you experience, welcome to the wonderful world of half marathons. Mariama good luck for the Great North run (for those of you who don't know it's a massive half marathon, held in Newcastle, North of England, it's the biggest half marathon in the world, and takes place on the 19th September 2010, lots of fun runners, and charity runners, it's very hard to get a place and finally this year I get to run it, yaaaah).


A few people complained on Runners world that the length was not correct but my garmin read 13.03 maybe I cut a corner somewhere, don’t know how people managed to go way under time unless they cut a lot of corners.

Six laps, Lord you lose the will to live after a few laps.


The postitive thing about the laps was no one needs to know what lap your on, so you never feel like your right at the back of the pack even if you are.

Marshalls, very enthusiastic, calling out your name, and being very encouraging, although they had a bit of a nutter on the final stretch home, shouting and jumping up and down and running along with people, I had my IPOD on so did not hear his madness!

Great food at the end, bagels, bananas, lolli pops, oranges, mmm, thanks.


Well after my 9th half marathon, yes my 9th, I've learnt I need to trust myself, stop starting so far back in the field, I can run faster, I just tend to start slow and then speed up, conserving energy as I fear if I go out too fast, I'm going to blow up and embarrass myself and end up crying and walking and.....
See what I mean! I finish and then feel disappointed that I did not push myself more, achilles permitting, it's time to step up.

Time to do some speed work, something I have never done, as my achilles gets better I can start putting some into my training programme.
Have a structured training programme, intervals, fartlecks, hill work, yuck, time to get familiar with these terms learn to love them embrace them and make them work for me.

Try to work on my pace, which tends to be all over the place, 
Do some weights,
Work on my core.

Thanks to the other half for taking such great pictures, and as always for his support, thanks to Bev and Mariama for being such great company, look forward to running with you again in the future and  good luck to anyone who is racing this week. 


  1. Great job and lessons learned! Like always you looked fabulous!

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  3. Thank you TMB, I am a bit hard headed so it can take a while for lessons to sink in, thanks for the compliments, you American ladies have taught me well, always try and look fabulous when I run, that way I will look great no matter what happens.

  4. Awesome blog post and pictures. That is a great time :) Looks like you had a blast.

  5. Congratulations!!! Love the pink outfit too!

    Do you know where the pictures are posted that were taken on the day by the professional photographers?

  6. What a great recap - and run! Loved the pics!

    Winks & Smiles,

  7. Hey Michelle, thanks for the love,yes I did have a great time, funny how the pain goes away as soon as you stop running, thanks for passing through.

    Anonymous thanks for the comments all the pictures I posted were taken by my other half, I know UFDANCE, had photographers out there, they should post up their pictures soon. If you did run and would like to know if my other half took any pictures of you, let me know your number and what you were wearing and I will search his pictures,hope thats of help.

    Wifey thanks for passing through, glad you liked the blog and the pics, take care.

    Happy Running all.

  8. Great race Kat! Love the pink :) How sweet of you to help these women in! Love the pics by other half :)

  9. I love your race outfit! I bet it was a bit annoying running 6 laps, but at least you got some great pics!

  10. Hey Anne, glad you liked the pink, I'm usually not much of a pink girl, but it's a great racing colour and the colour for Cancer Research which was who the race was in aid of. Will pass on the message about the pictures. Take care and hope your injury is healing.

    Laura, thanks for the compliments on the outfit,I always try and make an effort when I race, don't think it makes me run faster, but It makes me feel good. Yes 6 laps is annoying and confusing but at least you always know what's coming! Glad you like the pictures.

    Happy running ladies.

  11. Hey it's me again, 'Anonymous'! There's no need to look through loads of pictures but it's very sweet of you to offer! I'll just wait for the pics to be posted on the UFD website - although it seems to have vanished!?

    I'm doing the Run to the Beat Half too. It'll be good to see how the big events compare to the UFD Half (which was my first). Do you prefer the smaller races?

  12. Looking through the pictures is not a problem so let me know if you change your mind, not sure how long UFD will take to put them up.

    What do I prefer big or small half marathons,mmmm good question, the biggest half I've done is Reading, which I have ran 2009 and 2010, bit mad logistically as the car park was quite far from the race start, about 2 miles in fact, but bar that it was great due to the crowds the great organisation and stadium finish.

    I'm doing the Great North Run this year, which is said to be the biggest Half marathon in the world, again I presume it's the crowds that really make that marathon special, although getting accomodation has been a bit of a nightmare, but it's a race I've always wanted to do and I'm looking forward to it.

    Run to the Beat, I'm signed up for that as well, I'm just glad that it's in London, as half marathons in London are far and few between, fingers crossed it's a good one, so let me know how you get on.

    The UFD Half is a favourite of mine, as it is small, last year they had a steel band which was a real nice touch, and they are one of the only halfs I know that give out bagels, and fruit! I've run it four times now!

    How was your race, were you happy with the organisation and your performance?

    There is a half marathon in Richmond held in May, I ran it this year, it was a very small race, full of club runners, but well organised and a lot of fun, and I'm not the fastest runner in the world, if I can cope anyone can! I felt very welcomed, there was water available and the marshalls were very encouraging, link to there site below if your interested, they also held a 10k in June, which was also great, I've blogged on both races so feel free to have a read of my reviews.

    I didn't manage to get a place on the ROYAL PARKS half marathon but that is meant to be a good one.

    Feel free to hit me up with anymore questions, in all honestly I just love to get out and do the races, it makes the hard slog of training worth it, I got two more half marathons in September, a 10 miler in October and toying with the idea of a 16 mile race as well, nutter ah!