March madness part 2: The roller coaster

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Race: Darwen Heritage Half Marathon
Distance: 13.1 miles
Date: 25th March 2018
Supporting Runners: James Foster, Becki Hall & Carl Brady
Fundraising to date: £1,810
Finishing Time: 02:01:16

Another weekend, another half marathon to conclude the March madness. Beware, this blog contains yet another obvious cliché.

Those that are up to date on the blog and 30for30 antics will know that last week, Wilmslow half marathon was cancelled but I went out in the snow and ran 13.1 miles anyway and claimed a virtual medal for race number 11:

IMG_1981.JPGVoila!

I wanted to do the double and complete back to back half marathons over 2 consecutive weekends as a little mini challenge to keep things interesting.

This weekend’s half marathon was chosen one day at work whilst debating who on the Marketing department can run a half the fastest. I think it is safe to say it was never going to be me, but James and Becki have since been winding each other up and giving it some serious fighting talk. So we thought we would put it to the official test…in Darwen.

Given that Carl (Brady) was also let down by the Wilmslow cancellation, he signed up to join the race too and quickly became the bookies fave.

Leading up to the race, the cockiness was dying down with Becki overdoing the booze on her 5 year anniversary and James rushing out to buy new trainers 2 days before.

I was trawling through Twitter and came across some tweets about the race which made me nervous about the hilly nature of the course. James and I went through GoogleMaps street view to see what was in store but I don’t think anything could prepare us for what was coming…

We planned our logistics after begrudgingly accepting the fact that the clocks were going forward and stealing an hours sleep 😡 and we set to meet at 8am (actual real life time 7am) ANNOYING.

Skipping ahead of some usual complaints: I’m tired, I’m nervous, it’s too early for a proper breakfast etc. We then arrived in nice time to collect our numbers and have a little chat and some pics:

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Fighting talk was at an all time low with pleasant wishes of “good luck” and “see you at the finish line” instead, and away we went…

The start was a really nice hill to welcome us to Darwen 🙄

James was off with his new trainers and couldn’t be seen by anyone. Becki was wearing orange so I could keep track of her a little easier for a short while and Brady had the joys of sticking back with me and listening to my moaning and apologies for holding him back. “If you apologise one more time…” 

This was my 7th half marathon and the only one that I felt like I wasn’t going to complete during the first half (within the first 3 miles to be precise)…I think I need to do some serious hill training…

The race was a roller coaster in both elevation and emotions. I was going for under 2 hours and at some points it felt amazing, but then we would always get to a really brutal hill to ruin the dream. I had to walk up some of the really steep ones (when Brady was looking away – and then pretend I was running when he turned around). 

It was good to have Brady there as I probably would have taken 3 hours otherwise… He would run up to the top of a bend and tell me it was flat around the corner… I’d make it to the top and turn the corner just to be faced with more hill.

Here’s a photo of him looking super chilled with me…not:

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By mile 9.5 I told Brady to go and get under 2 hours and I was on my own for the last leg.

James finished first with a really good time of around 1:52 with Brady making up some time to finish in 1:53 – Becki broke 2 hours with 1:59 and I finally joined everyone (including Mum and Andy at the finish line) at 2:01 and collected my free beer and bottle opener  medal.

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When I was on my own battling the last monster hill before a 2mile decline, I was remembering what it was all about, telling myself “come on Emma, 30for30” – I always think of angles I can use when writing my blog and whilst I was going to avoid clichés in this one, I’ll end with saying that although life is full of ups and downs – very much like this race – you will always finish out on top if you persevere and keep on going.

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Well that is me done for March and until after Easter!

A huge thank you to James, Becki and Brady for joining today and a massive well done to James for the win. I think a rematch on a flatter course later on in the year is in order…

If you’d like to sponsor any of us for today then you can do so here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaBramwell2

And once again, you can sign up to the upcoming 30for30 5k and 10k fun run on 29th April here >>

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