As is now my routine, my race day started with my special drink – a blend of creatine, Himalayan sea salt, filtered water and natural fruit juice. Then it was off to the start in Southampton city centre to join almost six thousand other runners.
During my journey I had time to reflect on the day ahead. My end goal is to run seven marathons in seven days with Dylan and Haig, but today, I desperately wanted to beat my last half marathon time, set at Silverstone.
My prep prior to the start consisted of light stretching and mobility work ensuring I felt nice and supple before the gun fires, however I couldn’t help but notice the rather over filled bin which had water, coffee and bananas poring out of it!
The Start went smooth with Matt Le Tissier sounding the horn, all 4500 runners filter over the line and made there way towards the first task, The Itchen Bridge, I was expecting that be the crux of the course but I was very mistaken, the hills come one after another, I didn’t realise how hilly Southampton was until now, I mean it wasn’t the Alps but it defiantly made think especially being barefoot!
Waiting for a race to start can be hard but thankfully, there was a vast array of stands and stalls, featuring charities and local businesses, to keep us occupied prior to the start. After browsing the stands, I did a little light stretching and mobility work so keep me feeling nice and supple. As I did so, I could not help but notice a nearby bin that was overflowing with water, coffee and bananas!
The start went smoothly, with Matt Le Tissier sounding the horn. All 4500 runners filtered over the line and made their way towards the first task, The Itchen Bridge. I was expecting that be the hardest part of the course but I was very mistaken. I hadn’t realised just how hilly Southampton was, and the hills just seemed to keep on coming, one after another. I mean it wasn’t the Alps but it defiantly made think, especially being barefoot!
The race continued to twist and turn through the city and it wasn’t until I got to the common when my feet started to throb. Let me give you one bit of advice. Never adjust your shoes or in my case Xero flip flops the night before a race without testing it thoroughly.
For most of the race my left shoe was flopping a lot, so much I was trying to keep it on by gripping it with my feet. The outcome a huge blood blister on the heel of my left foot. Why – because I was more interested in keeping up with, or overtaking, the person in front. That’s not going to happen again.
Like my first ever race, and every run since, my lack of typical running shoes turned a few heads. Without going into too much detail,, I think the fact that I was running barefoot style motivated others to push through the pain barrier and keep going.
I particularly enjoyed finishing this race in a personal best of 1 hour 42 minutes and 17 seconds, breaking my 10k, 10 mile, 15k and 20km records, on the way.
Thanks to the organisers for a well organised event. The support along the route was second to none. It felt like everyone in Southampton had come out of the woodwork to drag us along the 13.1 miles.
Roll on the next month when I attempt to run my first marathon, it may be a lonely occasion but one I am looking forward to achieving.