Home run: the Bath Half

I know I’ve been a bit quiet about *the running* since the marathon last October. So it’s time for a check in with yet more words of a pootling badger’s introspection and observations after my latest race, the Bath Half marathon.
I have run this race for the last 5 years now, it was my first ever half marathon and what started me on this ‘ I quite like running longer distances’ lark. I’ve counted my medals and I seem to have run 9 half marathons now! Wow, how did that happen?!?

2014 Bath Half Marathon  BHAK2913  Marathon Photos - Mozilla Firefox 06032014 095154.bmpI have begun to love the Bath Half route. Not only for the fondness I have of my home race  (so convenient!! And so many friends out along the route and in the race!) but I have begun to enjoy its two laps, it is now a known quantity- I know what comes after the undulations, that I can tell myself, ‘just get past this small up and then there’s a downslope to recover’. I know where the challenges are and where to assign the *emergency tunes* on my playlist. I love the drums at Queens Square, the student houses along the route pumping out their own pumping tunes through wide open windows or speakers brought out into front gardens. The wild crazy crowd cheering by Sainsburys. The awesome start – downhill for the first mile when all you can see before you is a wide regency tree-lined road filled with runners and the sound of a million footfall.   And the final straight along the grandeur & cheering crowds in Great Pulteney Street.  Yes, this is my home run.

To say that my training didn’t quite fire on all cylinders this year is the truth of the matter. I had wanted ( after last year’s glory) to shave another few minutes off my pb, but various factors affected my training which I won’t dwell on as they will sound like excuses which I could have overcome had I thought it was important enough.  (Clearly I didn’t!!)  So when I realised that my running form was not that of a pb I knew I needed to review my race goal. I decided that I would be happy to get around it with enjoyment and not to push myself to the point of holding back kerbside vomiting.

Bath Half Green startThe start

As larger races tend to group people to start according to their estimated finish time, I started in a faster start pen this time (not to be confused with the superfast starters mind you!) as I was aiming higher after last year’s pb. It felt great to be closer to the start, to better hear the pre race build up. It also felt less crowded, more space all through the race. Despite not quite hitting my original target time, I was pleased to see that I was still running and finishing with plenty of other green numbers – so I didn’t disgrace my promotion with my slower than planned time.

A great thing about this race is that you can wear one earpiece and listen to music- it makes such a difference.   My playlist contains loads of happy or big songs that are uplifting to remind me that I’m supposed to be enjoying it!  As I slightly updated my playlist this year, I wondered how many other runners’ playlists included Pharrell Williams – Happy (have some!  it’s the ultimate feel good song!)

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and Daft Punk- Get Lucky.  (I’ve even been hearing “Get Lucky” on the ski slopes, belting out of snowboarders’ backpacks!)

Medal and tee shirt

So I didn’t get my pb, I didn’t feel I ran with the grace of a gazelle, but yes, for most of the race I can say I enjoyed it: I ran around without too much discomfort or mental torture. The crowds who supported all along the route were incredible, especially considering this was great weather for running in, but it was not great to stand around cheering people on- grey drizzle in the most part.  As my friend said who was there cheering like a loon both times I went past, ‘ You’ve just got to do it’ on being a supporter and standing for hours in the cold & wet.  She did confide in me that she is likely to be tempted to put herself through it again on the other side of the barriers next year as a runner, which frankly is awesome as she doesn’t seem to escape injury when she runs the Half.

2014 Bath Half Marathon  BHAM1431  Marathon Photos - Mozilla Firefox 06032014 095443.bmp

I was lucky enough to benefit from Melissa‘s VIP entry which allowed her to take two guests with her for pre race food and drink, post race hot food, plus bag check, parking, showers, real loos….well worth it I’d say.   (Read Melissa’s race review here – now she did get a pb!)

Here we are the night before!  It was so great to meet my sewing & running hero in real life!

The #sewing concentration is at all time high levels! Me & @Scruffybadgerti ON THE SAME COUCH! - img.ly - Mozilla Firefox 06032014 100118.bmp

(Yes that is a foam roller behind us!)

And here we are pre-race.

Winnie & Melissa pre-Bath HalfWe are both wearing an item of Melissa’s Fehr Trade running clothes: Me – my leopard xyt top (you can’t see it underneath, sadly) & Melissa, her Rainbow PB Jam leggings.  I’m also wearing a top made using Maria Denmark’s Olivia tee pattern.  My leggings are Sweaty Betty & never have I seen anyone else wearing them until I was in the medal queue at the end, & there were two of us wearing bright floral legs.  Funny that.) And of course, running bows.

 So, remembering that I am continually challenged by running, not being a natural, this year’s personal  lessons:

  • If you’re the kind of person that does enjoy running, when your training loses the fun, have a look at why and see how important this is to you and whether you need to change anything.
  • It’s ok to change your race goal when you realise that your training hasn’t gone to plan.
  • Race goals don’t have to be about your finish time.
  • Yes it is possible to eat too much cheese on a ski holiday and to still feel as if you are carrying it around with you weeks after.
  • And an obvious one – Just because you like running in the rain, it doesn’t mean that only having rain to train in is fun.
  • I like the Bath Half route.  I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it but finally I can say that after 5 times I have warmed to it.  I expect I shall be running next year – although I wish it was slightly later in March – it feels so close to Christmas in terms of training.

SO looking ahead…I shall be aiming to train better over the summer for the Great North Run.  I shall put the right kind of effort in to run better & stronger.  I shall include hills & speedwork in my training (even though I don’t like it!)  Because surely even a crappy summer is going to be more pleasant to train in than the wet dark & grey winter we’ve been stuck with this year?  And for me, running is all about being outdoors.

21 thoughts on “Home run: the Bath Half

  1. Sam

    Winnie, you have my sincere admiration for even taking part in a half marathon! I ran for a while a few years ago and found it bloomin’ hard – so hard on my hips that I had to give it up. And I don’t know how you find time for running AND sewing!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Sam! I just wish there were more hours in the day to be honest! And yes, I do feel running certainly puts your body through it, I know my own weak points but have got to the point that I would hate for that to stop me running …

  2. Amy

    Wow vip access sounds very helpful! Congrats on your running achievements. And of course on your running clothing achievements too!

  3. LinB

    Hurray for you! Sounds like a roaring success, all ’round.

    Am glad you’ve landed on the side of “love” with the Bath Half. I’ve had relatives (in-laws) like that … not all of them have yet won me over, 32 years down the pike.

  4. Rachel

    Nice one! It you didn’t seesounds like you’ve reached running Nirvana. I’ve just started training again this week after 5 months of no running. It has been bloody (insert better swear word here) hard, especially with the extra 3kg I brought back from NZ… Lol. But anyway, back to you. I’m glad you recognised the need to revise the original goal and that you had a good race. Hooray for happy running and for lovely, smiley photos! Rachel ☺
    P.S. thank you for your comment on my tartan dress (just in case you didn’t see it)

  5. Mary Carol De Zutter

    Well done for running Bath. I did Reading, my first half marathon. Looking forward to running it again next year, and I might have to make myself some leggings especially for the occasion!

  6. Laura

    Yay – congrats on another half marathon! This has been such a good post to read – I’ve been struggling to get back into running for 9 months now (since my first marathon, actually…). I feel all inspired now!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yay! Running can be fun! If you can rediscover it then you’re there…but it’s always a bit tough at the beginning …good luck & keep focused on getting to a point where you enjoy it – that’s my advice

  7. Kim

    Well done on a magnificent achievement Winnie! It is great to see both you and Melissa looking so happy – just before putting yourself through all that effort. And you both look fabulously stylish in your running gear too.
    I am sticking to supporting roles for the moment but I can wear the gear, right? (Just not when supporting…)

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Absolutely! Stylishly supporting.
      Yes, clearly when did running become about the clothes (!) Well I know that it helped get me focused on something other than the weather. 😉 And looking hand-made & quirky hopefully distracted the crowd from my less than stylish running form !!

  8. Miss Demeanour

    Hey lady,

    Well done you! We’ve ran this foul rain soaked land together over the last few months and I for one commend us. I hear you on changing the game. I was hoping for a new PB for the Brighton half marathon but what with my knee and one thing and another it didn’t happen but I was happy to see it as part of my marathon run up and to know that I’m on my way to getting round 26.2 mile gah! xxx

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Go girl! You are my inspiration this winter to be sure. Every time I see what you’ve battled through I grit my teeth (even temporarily) give a fierce roar & then remember why we do these crazy things. Keep on running !

  9. Kathy

    Congrats on finishing another 1/2 marathon! I loved reading this post… I’ve been a beginner runner for about 3 years almost now (furthest distance run about 12k/7.5 miles) and it’s nice to hear your experiences. I am also not a ‘natural runner’ so it’s wonderful to hear some interesting thoughts on your process, that also happen to coincide with some of my experiences. Keep truckin’!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Kathy, running & me create so many internal dialogues! I’m sure that it’s the same for a lot of others which is why I sometimes share them! Well done you! Keep going, keep enjoying it is what I would say. That became the turning point for me – recognising when I enjoyed it (& really importantly when I didn’t).

  10. Geo

    It’s a shame you couldn’t strut out yout awesome top 🙁
    I just ran my first HM distance this Sunday, mabve I’ll join you next year in Bath.


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