I was up at 5.30am this morning and sat in an ice bath by 5.40am. All in the name of running. I can not explain why I was doing this – the Sheffield Half Marathon, my second year after a 32.5 mile Ultra Marathon the day before. I was officially mad. I had no idea how I would feel, a little heavy but actually ok, the DOMs hadn’t set in properly yet and I was still on a high. The ice bath eased the heavyness and I took in all the right food before the 9am start.
Don Valley was buzzing when I arrived. I was trying to find some of my fellow twitter followers but failed miserably -sorry guys! Next time, next time. I did manage to meet up with the Sheffield Running Club guys though for some words of support all around. This is not my favourite run going through some grotty parts of Sheffield, however it is a very strong club event and I had to get out there and show support to my home city and my club.
Sun is shining, the weather is sweet
Make you want to move your running feet
To the roads, here I am
Want you to know ya, where I run
I positioned myself at the 1.45 sign and at 9.04 we were off after a great comment from Sheffield Running Club’s very own Nick Duggan “Keep moving to keep warm” – Yes Nick thank you for that very handy hint on one of the hottest weekends of the year. We will not take your advise.
And we were off, my legs felt ok as I felt that I was running at a nice pace. At the one mile mark one of the runners shouted out 7.43 pace – that seemed to fast for me so I paced back a bit, don’t go out too fast, don’t go out too fast you have 32 miles on your legs from yesterday – prep talk prep talk.
Through Don Valley and into town, even at the 3 mile mark I felt strong and even up commerical street, one of Sheffields’ many hills. I wasn’t particulary breathing hard like some people around me, I felt good and had a real big smile on my face. The four mile sign came up far too quickly what was going on? I felt so focused and relaxed, not looking at my watch not wanting to push further – just running, just running through my home city.
I don’t know how long I’ll last
But I’ve gotta get movin’ and movin’ fast
I’ve gotta break through to the other side
I’ve got to run, I’ve got to fly
Free, free, running free
That’s the way I was meant to be
Free, free, running free
Freedom looks pretty good to me
Now I’m in a hurry and I can’t stand still
If I don’t go now, you know, I never will
I wanna be footloose and free to roam
I wanna call the whole wide world my home
I missed the Sheffield United football ground water, just like the team missed their goals on Saturday (owch!) as I thought I would be clever and take water at the last table, but they didn’t have a last table so took a sponge and ended up sucking the water out of that – yes discusting but I would rather do that than collapse.
Onto London Road, nope not to run down to London – no chance! Star club member Debs was there with a drink for me – oh thank you so much Debs! I stopped and grabbed the drink and got it down me – bliss! But what was I to do with the bottle? Now I am not a litter lout but this was a race , so I threw the bottle, into the edge. A passer by shouted strongly at me “pick it up”. I didn’t think they were joking so I nearly did turn back and pick it up, I didn’t want to get a reputation for the club especially as I was of course running in my Sheffield Running Club vest. Sorry people of London road I did throw it in the edge. So I should have picked up my litter but instead I picked up my feet and ran on still feeling remarkably good.
Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. – Corita Kent
I thought the hill up near Green’s Gym was going to get to me but a cheer on from fellow club member Ian gave me extra strength and onto the best bit – Eccelsall road. This bit is amazing, the whole of Sheffield comes out to cheer everyone on with bands, cheer leaders and so many people shouting and cheering it can get a bit emotional. The front runners come back along the other side of the road so its gives a great opportunity to shout words of encouragement to them as well.
I feel so extraordinary
Something’s got a hold on me
I get this feeling I’m in motion
A sudden sense of liberty
I passed fellow club member Pete going up to Hunters Bar with words of encouragement and strided on seeing the “half way” sign but not daring to look at my watch. Back down Eccie rd I really felt focused, this was just my run, not a race just a run and really I had no idea of time even though my garmin was ticking away. I was not racing for a PB nor to beat last years time I was just running and enjoying the amazing atmosphere and just to be grateful to be part of such a brilliant event in Sheffield. I could almost feel tears in my eyes as I ran through the crowds as it suddenly hit me that I was running this after yesterdays 32 miles. It finally clicked. The running community is just completly amazing.
People ask why I run. I say, If you have to ask, you will never understand. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels. – Erin Leonard
This year the race didn’t go down the subways – much better much better, so round the roundabout we went, no sign of any magical roundabout; dougal (or my friend Becky – next year Becky next year!). I remember last year flaking at around 8 miles but this year I felt stronger as I turned into Devonshire Green with a little hill. I saw fellow club member Laura infront of me – well I spotted her taped up knee. My aim was not particulary to pass her but to focus on her for a bit of a pace maker. Thanks Laura for keeping me going up Devonshire Green. Then through town I got an extra wind and focused on nothing but my stride as I felt like I glided past Laura – not daring to look at anything apart from the road.
Through the town centre I got a few shoutouts for the club and thanked the people shouting for me. This bit was downhill so a fast section even so I didn’t find I was pushing myself I was just running with my mind not my legs, an odd sensation.
#Passion is energy. Passion is desire. Passion makes you smiles when nobody is watching – Running Quotes – Twitter
At Park Square roundabout Ettiene – fellow club member who dragged me round in 139.20 last year was there with camera so I gave him a big wave and a smile feeling really quite strong despite the sun still beaming down at me.
Some surrounding runners were beginning to flake but somehow I put one foot in the other and let my mind do the work. Forgetting my 32 mile legs I just concentrated on the next water stop with sponges, took on water threw it down me and stuffed a sponge down my back. Lovely.
Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage. – George Patton
Then onto watching paint dry whilst running – 3 miles of pure running hell, ok although its flat down Don Valley it is the most boring part of the run. I had a sneaky look at my watch at 10 miles around 115 minutes, would this mean I was on for a sub 1.45? or even a sub 1.40? Or would I really flake? I could just do with a flake stuck in a nice ice cream, a perfect 99, not 99 minutes to go oh no, just 25 or so, maybe less?
So my mind went into ‘race’ mode for the first time – prep talk as I began to over take people, and tell myself that I did not have stiff painful legs and it was just 20 minutes or so of running that is all, nothing more nothing less. A water station at just after 11 miles was a welcoming sight as I took it on and threw it down my legs as well.
There is no time to think about how much I hurt; there is only time to run. – Ben Logsdon
Unfortantly going back up to Attercliffe Road a girl had collapsed in the road, 2 other runners had gone to see her so I left it – otherwise I would have stopped (I do have basic first aid you know). 2 of us alerted a marshall and then ran on. By this time lots of people were melting as I strided past them.
At 12 miles I saw fellow club member Steve walking, for some unknown reason I threw my remaining jelly beans at him, tripped over one of the cones and lost my balance – good one Helen 12 miles in. Why I did that I do not know, my mind was just somewhere else – I had to get passed this last mile to finish, that finish was just over a mile away, not far to go not far to go.
Prep talk prep talk – I started speaking loud to myself as I realised that I could be on for beating last years’ time, come on , come on come on as the crowd got thicker around Don Valley. The horrible part was about to come up, the stadium so near yet so far as runners have to go all the way around the top before dropping down onto the track with the nasty 800m signs to go, 400,m signs and 200m signs. Fellow club member Jason was at the top cheering us on so I just focused and ran.
You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime. – Mark Allen #Ironman
Just before entering the stadium I saw the car with the clock at 139 something – omg I was on for getting a similar time to last year. Normally normal people would want to beat the previous years’ time – but then I am not normal I wanted to plod to get under 2 hours, under 1.45 would have been brilliant, under 1.40 was incomprehendable, yet I even found myself passing people on the last 100m towards the finish line to crack a time of 139.14.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – -2 Timothy 4:7
Madness, complete madness. And to add the cherry to this weekends’ cake I actually ended up with Bronze South Yorkshire Female VET 35 – little did I know until nursing a pint of cold lemon infused tap water in the pub later.
Games require skill. Running requires endurance, character, pride, physical strength, and mental toughness. Running is a test, not a game. A test of faith, belief, will, and trust in one’s self. So hardcore that it needs a category all to itself to define the pain. When game players criticize, it’s because they aren’t willing to understand, not because they’re stronger. Running is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. If you have to ask us why we run, you’ll never understand, so just accept. – Jessica Propst
Well done to everyone who battled through the heat of Sheffield, everyone of you who ran even those that didn’t quite finish due to the heat you all are brilliant just to get out there and do it. Congratulations to the brilliant Sheffield Running Club guys – some amazing results all round for all 40 plus runners.
I have just run over 45 miles this weekend. *ponders*.
Position: 694 out of 7000 plus people
Gender Position: 7th Female VET