Belfast Marathon 2011- My 3 miles & a personal best!

It was last Thursday I went to the City Hall and collected my race pack. I actually couldn't find the advertised expo, so I just collected the pack, took a photo of the huge trainer in the grounds of city hall, and went to work.


Other than the usual junk like adverts, the tote bag gave me my event tshirt, my bib number and the official event program.



The weekend leading to the run was a bit of a mix. I have a cold, I have hayfever, and of course the three different injury prone problems in both my legs. But I had my last physio appointment and I was told I should be grand if I just listen to my body, and if it wants to stop I need to stop and just walk the rest. So that was my aim. All I wanted was the following:

  • to actually finish the run, having ran as much of it as possible.

  • to not come in last.

  • to complete it in 45 minutes.

Quite achievable. Right?

A lot of you will know I've been looking forward to the day for about 6 months. I've had it booked off work, and made rough plans of what I wanted to do after it - picnic, cinema, dinner and or drinks. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Gavin went to a 5-a-side tournament so I went home after my run and fixed my laptop all by myself!

Anyway, back to the day itself. I almost didn't do it. My cold was driving me mad and breathing was difficult when at rest on the sofa. But I made a pro-con list and decided there was no way I couldn't do it. I would walk the entire thing if I had to.

So the day itself came, we were up by 7.30 and at the city hall for coming up to 9am. It was then the stress began. The stewards were useless and actually lied to us, twice. Over where we were meant to be. Instead of just saying "look, my job is just to make sure no one goes past this wee bit of tape - if you go around there someone else might actually know" - no, that wasn't the case. After being sent round to the back of city hall where there was no one. We met this lady with her bit of tape who told us to go to an area we had just walked past that had about 20 people not in the race floating about. She then told us that there was hundreds of thousands there. Right. Whatever crazy lady. Stressful for me who is easily stressed. We went back to where I originally was and sure enough the original steward who was still there was lining up the start line for my run. So instead of saying, just stand about here, you'll be starting shortly. I was sent to the other side of Donegal Square. Beyond infuriating. I could have missed the freaking start!

(I'm fully aware I'm taking this run seriously for a fun run. And I've had a few people ask why didn't I do the relay. I'll tell you why. I had no one to do the relay with & at the minute I'm advised not to run more than 10k at once. That's that!)

Gavin still annoyed with the lack of organisation / communication


Here we are at my starting line, Gav with my Superman bag and QUB hoodie.


Taking pictures of some buildings around me


Me and my bib



The start line


City Hall


And the run began, I only managed to take two photos on the run, because not too far into it the SD card on my phone became corrupt and it's only taken me until now to be able to rescue them on my pc.

This was taken just as we turned to run up the tow path.


And I loved the quote on the gable end of this house


Onwards I ran, with no music, so I couldn't judge my pace at all. I was overtaking a fair amount of people, and those who overtook me, I did later run past myself. For the most part it felt good. At one point my lungs feeling like they were about to collapse in on themselves (hence a stop and then getting back into a jog). Despite my injury prone legs, my cold, my hayfever and the incredibly hot weather (seriously -was that the hottest day of the year so far? It must have been) I ran most of the route, stopping to walk twice, and each time for no more than 30-60 seconds. I sneezed most of the route, a nice fellow runner offering me a tissue out of his wee bumbag. And the finish line came up a lot quicker than I expected. I sprinted the last of the stretch, happily got given my water, finishing certificate - and a packet of crisps.

Although it was alluded that there would be an official time for the funrun, there wasn't, I've since complained and that piece of misleading info has been removed. I did set the timer on my watch/HRM as I set off. The reason I wanted an official time was because my actual time seems to unbelievable. 28minutes, 34 seconds. That means my pace is 9mins 32secs. I've never, ever done a run that well. Ever. Even last summer before the injuries I was a strict 10-11 min mile person! And in the training for this I've been a steady 14 minutes per mile.

I cannot believe I smashed my personal best and for a while I doubted the distance on the course, but I checked it out with imapmyrun and sure enough it is, and I did it in that time. I am beyond happy with myself, despite all the crap I thought that would hold me back. I couldn't be happier! I suppose the route is very flat ground - but still. I'm so chuffed.

Throughout the entire run I was trying to keep my eyes open for the official photographers, just to wave at one. But I didn't see them at all. Alas. And so the official photos are nothing special. I don't think I can legally stick them up here, so I'll link to them You cane see them here (link opens in a different window) I look like a dude in them haha. I like the first picture because it looks like the 'V' shape that geese fly in,the second one my face looks scary - are they my cheekbones? and the third picture my legs look like my daddys! haha. I'd love to download the pictures but alas I do not have £24.99 for the three. Maybe sometime? If they keep them up.

I took the next few pictures with Gavin's phone after I was sitting down and had sorted out my bleeding ankle and trying to regulate my breathing



And from there I went home! Here is my certificate of completion:


And then on Tuesday I got the paper to be nosey at everyones times.



I'm so pleased with myself. And there is still time (actually for the next 3 months) for you to sponsor me if you want through justgiving (link to my justgiving site will open in another window). You can use your credit or debit card or a paypal account. It's all entirely safe and for the NI hospice (the adults one). Even just a few pennys can do an amazing amount.

So the next run I get to do is the race for life at the end of the month! I can't wait!

Sarah xx


PS. for those that have asked, yes my legs are killing me since. Been soaked, iced and ibruphened since. Still ache though- but it was worth it. A definate NSV!


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