Silverstone Half Marathon

Well, I think I am now sufficiently recovered from yesterday’s exertions to attempt to write some coherent sentences!

I set off for Silverstone a little earlier than expected and panicking about whether I’d forgotten anything. Stopping at a service station just down the road from Silverstone I spotted lots of running types so figured I wasn’t that early! Arriving at Silverstone it was already busy, a shock from the last time I ran it (in 2004, its debut year) when there were only a couple of thousand people. This time there were more like 10,000. I came across the Save The Rhino group in the paddock car park, easily spotted by the giant rhino head on top of the car! It was great to meet some of the rhino-runners in real life and in fact I ended up running the half-marathon with one of them, the lovely Neil. I was comparing my Blue Peter-esque rhino hat to the official costumes but there is no way I’d be able to run in one of those costumes. I was a bit embarassed at donning the hat etc but soon got over it!

Pre-Silverstone nerves and a ridiculous hat

Pre-Silverstone nerves and a ridiculous hat

Lining up on the starting grid, the only way we could tell that the race had actually started was watching the runner’s reflections moving in the windows of the conference centre overlooking the start. It was a sunny day, warm and verging on a bit too hot, but we got off to a good start, despite being overtaken by a running group dressed as a giant dog! There was a slight breeze which was nice although some of the stronger gusts caught the ears and horns on my hat and made it blow sideways! The first lap was nice and straightforward with a much-needed water stop at 3 miles (I think nerves had dealt with any water I’d drunk previously!), then the course headed inwards and around the ‘wiggly’ bits of the track which looked a lot smaller on the map. The next section had the course going round the outside of the track, bits of which were really boring, but the bits with spectators were great! Everyone was cheering ‘go rhino’ which made me wonder if there was an official rhino behind me or whether people had realised that I was actually running as a rhino – luckily it was me they were cheering on! After grabbing some jelly beans from my supporters we approached a small bridge at which point I’m afraid to say I picked up the pace and sprinted up! Poor Neil looked a bit shocked but I soon returned to normal pace.

I had decided to ‘reward’ myself with a little walk at about halfway, but once at halfway decided I could go further before stopping, so kept aiming for the next mile and the next one until I found myself at the 11 mile marker saying ‘I’ll definitely walk here’ and then continuing to run straight past! Seems my legs had other ideas. I kept feeling the need to walk in the last couple of miles – I wasn’t exactly tired particularly but it was painful, the painkiller I’d taken in the morning was starting to wear off and my feet felt bruised by the constant pounding. Much to Neil’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘right…’ which in my head was ‘right, I’ll run to such-and-such and then I can walk’ but the whole sentence was too much effort by that point! Coming up to the 12 mile mark I figured there was no point stopping in the last mile so summoned up an enormous effort of will and tried to ignore the pain in my legs and feet. Soon enough the finish line was in sight, and having mentioned to Neil that a sprint finish is compulsory I started stretching out my strides and picking up some speed in the last couple of hundred yards. My legs felt great for doing something other than plodding and it felt like I was going really fast (probably not). The relief on stepping over the finish line and stopping was great, and of course the endorphins had kicked in so I couldn’t stop smiling! My official time was 2:30:40 which was about what I had hoped for but to achieve it – and without walking once! – was brilliant!

Once the timing chips had been removed from our trainers, we collected our goody bags which contained an official finishers t-shirt and – of course – a medal we headed back to the rhino meeting area where there were sports massages on offer and lots of other rhino runners. It’s weird to see people in real life that you’ve only met online before.

Post-Silverstone pic where I look knackered and sweaty!

Post-Silverstone pic where I look knackered and sweaty!

I rewarded myself with some Milkybar Mini Eggs once I got back to the car – a long walk away from the track – I have never been so glad to see my car ever!

EDIT: Some pics now added thanks to Neil, may add some official ones once the CD arrives 🙂

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9 Responses to “Silverstone Half Marathon”

  1. thepixelsuite Says:

    Congratulations on a brilliant race, Becki! Sound like you had a fantastic time and did even better than you expected to. Keep it up.

  2. Lee Says:

    Well done – I will keep following your efforts and good luck in the ‘Big One’

  3. Phil Says:

    Didn’t realise I hadn’t said well done on this – well done Becki!

    Not stopping to walk shows the trainings working so all bodes well for FLM!

  4. beckisavestherhinos Says:

    Thanks all – Phil, it’s definitely working! Who’d have thought I could manage that when I had to stop halfway through my first run of 1.5 miles 🙂

    Hope the FLM goes as well as that! Eek!

  5. Neil Says:

    And to repeat what I said elsewhere, and of course on the day, well done you!

    An impressive sprint finish it was too – left me for dead, even if I do think it was cunningly schemed throughout, lulling me into a false sense of security by repeatedly pretending you needed to walk and changing your mind …

    Anyway you didn’t have to be that devious, I’m a sucker for anyone with a cute extra pair of ears!

  6. Longest run yet! « Becki Saves the Rhinos Says:

    […] Becki Saves the Rhinos Saving the rhino by running the London Marathon on 26th April 2009 « Silverstone Half Marathon […]

  7. Rhino costume…ish « Becki Saves the Rhinos Says:

    […] I ran in a grey top at Silverstone, I think having someone running next to me in a Save The Rhino t-shirt probably helped people […]

  8. 4 weeks to go and an even longer longest run « Becki Saves the Rhinos Says:

    […] I was bored out of my mind! Where last week I was floating on a cloud of Zen-like calm and post-Silverstone happiness, this week was just plain dull, and I felt every step of […]

  9. Two weeks to go… « Becki Saves the Rhinos Says:

    […] Still, it showed that all the training and throwing up and crying has been worth it. I know I’m never going to be a fast runner – getting under a ten-minute-mile requires a huge effort – but I would just like to be able to get round the marathon as comfortably as possible, and manage a good sprint finish a la Silverstone. […]

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