Colchester Half Marathon Race Report By Kelly Jogger Jones
Colchester Half Marathon Race Report
(aka The Blood Sweat and Tears Report)
(ALERT WARNING FEMININE HYGIENE CONTENT)
You know at school when your teacher tells you every story must have a beginning, a middle and an end… so I’m starting with the end because I’m not at school anymore… and those teachers never liked anything I wrote anyway… When I ran round that last corner towards the finish line sandwiched between Diane and Kay as we headed down that hill into the stadium and spotted the Orange support in the distance Diane said “come on ladies we are crossing that line together” we picked up our pace using the hill to our advantage and it felt like we were running as one, I could hear the crowds support but also hear my own feet striking the floor and then those beeps sounded as Kay, Diane’s and my feet struck the mat and I reached out to my fabulous comrades who were my silent support the whole way round (okay we are talking about Diane and Kay so you know that they were never actually silent for too long), I thought to myself remember this moment fix it in your brain, the feeling so that you can tell people just how it felt in that moment, the tears burning from my eyes, my bodies reflex to stopping, to finishing, to completing. The weakness but at the same time the strength, the pride in my accomplishments, the sweaty hugs that you fall into now this time holding one another up more than just metaphorically, the sweet joy of unwrapping that Mars bar and that first bite, the Banana, a banana has never tasted as good as the ones at the end of a race, the medal and it was one bloody huge medal!! But I wore it with absolute pride my second half marathon done, how did that happen…
After finishing Great Bentley I was sort of left without a plan so I thought well I guess I could just rewind my Keithplan a few weeks and start from that because I need to know what I should do to make sure I can repeat my efforts at Colchester in a few weeks so that’s what we did Kay and I.
In the days leading up to the race myself Diane, Kay, Vicci, and Andie were in regular contact on a little facebook chat we started, making plans and travel arrangements getting ourselves organised now up until this point Andie hadn’t actually met us and soon discovered through reading the pingpong of messages we were all quite mad so she fit right in !! hahhaha
The day prior to race day we were sending each other kit pictures and making sure everything was in order for the early start on Sunday morning. Diane ‘the designated driver’ had her pick up list ready and we were to meet Vicci and her passengers at Tesco everything sorted, what could possibly go wrong…
Race day I wake up at 3:46am I know that because I looked at my phone and groaned I tried for some sleep but it wasn’t happening I got out of bed and got myself a cup of tea turned out Mr Pryor was awake too and had already completed his race of the day in Australia.
So after a bit of facebook wandering, a cup of tea and a banana I messaged ‘the girls’ turns out they didn’t need their alarm clocks after all, oops! First discussion of the day was the who has managed to get their pre-race toilet needs taken care of, I hadn’t and it was a major stressor I can’t run a half marathon without having a poop! second discussion was when do we eat, (because that topic follows on so naturally from poop talk, well I guess what goes in, must come out) and third topic was my period is due today, (yes it’s going to be one of those race reports a bare all a no stone left unturned one) now these topics are topics that require some random ‘meme photos’ so I shall leave to your imagination the photos that were being posted to our private message group but let’s just say no time for race day nerves too busy laughing.
Diane arrived at 6am prompt and I carrying a fragrant Jasmine plant, a bag with enough food and clothes for a long weekend and a hydration pack fell out of my own front door tripping over my bag strap, after a quick recovery. I was in the car and we were off we revisited our ‘topics’ and I shared my unsuccessful toilet attempts as you do (do you though? because maybe I’m sharing too much hahahaha)
It was a very misty morning and Kay told me that when Diane had collected her she had managed to wait a whole 3 minutes before gently prompting Diane about the cars lights and fog lights hahahaha At least now we could be seen we needed to get to the race in one piece.
At Tesco we met up with Andie and the drove across to the petrol station where Vicci joined behind in her car ‘Convoy ready, road trip!’
On route to the race I’m not going to lie the nerves were building and our ‘speciality topics’ were ruminated over again. I decided I was best to eat my Weetabix in the car at which point I discovered my kit bag and everything in it was soaking wet so emptying everything out of my bag over the back seat, the parcel shelf and Andie (I packed for every eventuality) I found the offending item the pack baby wipes !! a hole in the pack!! I shall never again trust a pack of baby wipes; why does she have baby wipes you ask I said every eventuality didn’t I.
On arrival at the stadium we were greeted by a very happy man in a high-vis jacket and it needed to be as visibility was very poor the mist seemed worse here than it had done in Southend now we all needed an outfit rethink… or did we.
On arrival breakfast was eaten and kit discussions… now it turned out Kay and Diane had both packed towels, bath towels. Diane asked Kay why did you bring a towel and Kay said I think I bought a towel because Vicci did she had one in her kit photo, the ladies decided to ask Vicci why it was they had towels with them? she would know why, well Vicci’s face when she was asked why have we brought towels (postrace swim? Heavy rain? What were the towels for)? Well it turned out that wasn’t a towel at all, no that was Vicci’s fleece blanket that she had folded on her bed well we fell about laughing. Stood in the car park laughing the sun started to make an appearance and the mist started to clear.
An unfruitful toilet visit and the race pack collection. It was really nice to have ‘proper toilets’ available and sinks the facilities were nice and clean and the queues weren’t too bad (on either visit)
Race pack collection was relatively easy once you worked out which person you should be collecting your numbers from, the chips were supplied with sandwich bag ties that we all decided were not secure enough so Andie had bought cable ties and Diane nail clippers we were all set.
We found the rest of the Orange brigade in the corner of the car park and after some photos and selfies using Diane’s selfie stick!! We were lead around the car park by Anne on a warm up run. I’ve never done a warm up run before and felt like I should surely be saving every ounce of my energy available for the race but Anne knows her stuff and so I followed on a couple of laps around the car park really hoping that this might bring on a toilet visit… (no such luck)
Getting to the start line, as a group of orange we moved towards the starting area and I felt a little bit less like throwing up and then a couple of minutes before 9am we were all ready to start the race and my then period started, You couldn’t of timed it worse I thought, I looked at the distance to the toilet and then the huge mass of people between me and them, what’s a girls to do so I had a lovely group of ladies gather round me, we must of looked like some kind of orange prayer group clustered together, me in my orange cocoon! well I sorted myself out and then off we all ran, thank you ladies!
The hill, no (sorry Keith) the incline, out of the stadium was followed quite quickly by a beautiful downhill section the view of all the runners ahead and in the distance and the 2:30 pacer I suggested to the girls we try to catch him so that was our plan by the time we were nearing the bottom of the hill Diane and I were ready to lose our sleeves our gloves and headband the sun was shining and it was warming up nicely. Somehow Diane and I managed to help each other stuff our discarded layers in each other’s bags just in time for as we passed round the roundabout under the bridge pass the two mile marker we saw THE HILL bloody hell we remembered our training looking down and slightly ahead I picked the nice pair of calves of the chap in front of me to look at and followed them up the hill only looking up twice with a couple of our we nearly there glances Diane was silent Kay was silent my breathing was heavy reaching the top and turned to Kay where is Diane she was just behind us she was coming I spied a photographer bit unfair there after the hill I forced a smile and a wave a ‘flyers’ must.
Suddenly we were at mile 4 wow that went quick it seemed to be a constant climb though and the support from the people in the streets was great lots of shout outs and it really does lift you. A couple of times I realised there was a bit of distance between me and the girls and I didn’t like the feel of being alone no one to talk to or moan to.
Heading towards the support at mile 6 seeing the blaze of orange in the distance was such a great gift it lifted the spirits put a spring in my step and then the scenery changed as we headed into the country side we had managed to catch back up to Stacey who Anne had introduced us to at the beginning and Dan trotted by with ease with a fellow runner.
Running down the country road Diane took a great picture of our three shadows running ahead of us side by side.
We ran silently for the most part though this section there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that when the leader was tiring the other would take over it was more instinctual than something agreed and the flow of the run was lovely one of us taking the lead the other two chasing it really helped keep a nice steady pace we seemed to do this with the chat too Diane and Kay somehow knowing when I needed the sound of their voices in my ear, a support of sorts, something to stop you thinking of bits of your body that hurt, my ribs felt so sore it annoyed me so much I tried out a few different styles with my arms but nothing really help and my lower back was hurting too.
It was at this point that Kay took off I thought she would disappear mile 9, I shouted ahead see you at the finish Kay but somehow Diane and I managed to gain on her again side by side taking turns to lead.
The crowds along the final stretch grew and the support was great one of the signs along the final stretch said ‘you can’t stop now everyone’s watching’ it made me laugh I pointed out a chicken a lone little chicken pecking at the grass. I had to make sure everyone could see it and that I wasn’t just seeing things I felt pretty exhausted, not that I normally see chickens when I’m exhausted.
So the final 2 miles Diane lead us home she took the pace and pushed it a bit leading us to the finish making sure we were keeping the pace I think I might have slowed here had it not been for Diane pulling us to the finish with her excellent pacing.
In the distance we could hear the sound of the loud speaker at the stadium the guy was great talking people over the line, encouraging them every last step and we ran together side by side around the final corner back to the beginning. Amazing how two hours and twelve minutes of running can go by so fast but change you so much, the distance bringing you closer to your running friends, creating memories that will last forever.
There were bits of Colchester half marathon that I really didn’t enjoy in fact I hated, but looking back on it now, a couple of weeks passed, all I remember are the laughs, the fun, the hugs, the support, the achievement and the love, the Flyers love…
I will end with a new beginning Colchester half marathon marked for me one year of running and for those who know me or knew me before know I am not that great at sticking to these new fitness plans I come up with but I’m looking forward to future runs, to shared memories, to the hugs, the fun and the love.
Over and out