Heat and hills: The Shrewsbury half marathon 2017

Heat and hills: The Shrewsbury half marathon 2017

It’s taken me a few days to finally sit down and catch up on my blog, but here we are…

I had been eagerly anticipating the https://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/shrewsbury-half-marathon/ since running the inaugural Oswestry Half Marathon, six weeks prior to Sunday!  So excited that I only went and booked a hotel for the wrong night! What a dope! Needless to say, that meant a 5am get up and a couple of hours drive. I got the usual pre-race anxiety insomnia the night before and this time was no different. Well if I’m honest, it was worse as it was 2am when I finally drifted off. Sunday was always going to be an emotional day and for those of you who have read earlier blog posts or followed social media, I struggle massively in the lead up to days such as Father’s day, Christmas etc since losing dad. The grief triggers anxiety and the mental monsters attack in full force. I can’t control that, but I knew running on this day would help.


One seriously tough medal to earn!

Lessons learnt from Oswestry

Since running Oswestry, I learnt a lot, including not to force yourself to race when you are injured. The recovery from the last half took much longer than I had previously experienced and I had to massively reassess my training. I was unable to walk for 3 days after the last one and after discussions with the physio, I had to take a week out. As much as I hated it, it actually did me the world of good. I realised that I couldn’t live off just sugar and overtrain. So, I introduced more protein into my diet, cut down on the sugar and stopped running 7 days a week. In the 2 weeks leading up to Sunday, I double dosed on CurraNZ blackcurrants, trialled http://www.nutristrength.com/ Nutristength protein smoothies (using their delicious cherry protein), snacked on their chocolate and coconut protein bars (yes I’m now addicted) and took up pilates! Did the changes work? I’m pleased to say yes they did, it was just the 30 degree heat (and a fair few hills) that hindered the process of a new PB.

The route

As always, UK Runchat executed a superb race. There is always such a calm and serene atmosphere at their events and the organisation is flawless. Joe, Becs and the team at http://breatheunity.com/ run a military operation in order to make events the best they possibly can for us runners and a special thank you because I don’t think people quite understand what goes on behind the scenes to make these races happen.

Now for anyone looking to run this course in the future, I will be honest and say that it’s the hilliest race I’ve ever run and combined with heat, the conditions aren’t easy. The scenery of the route is stunning though and Shrewsbury is such a beautiful town. The support along the route was great and the local people really saved the day coming out with their hosepipes!

Without a doubt, these were the toughest conditions I’ve ever run in and just after mile 10, I hit a major wall. My whole body went into shock and I thought I was going to collapse. Had it not been for the support of fellow racers who stopped to push me on, this possibly would have been my first DNF! Big shout out to John and his team from Lawley running club who slowed right down to help me run when I could barely walk! You guys were awesome! I never normally bother with gels as they make me sick and even water was making me sick on Sunday, but I swear the only reason I got through the last 2 miles was with thanks to a lovely lady who handed me a Lucozade gel at mile 11. It carried me through to the end. I have to say, I’ve never cried so much during a race and I even swore that I would hang up my running shoes for good! 1.49 completed time and 22nd in my age category. The longest its taken me to ever run a half, but I had to walk a lot.

Would I run this race again? Ask me in a few months when I’ve done some serious hill training! If you are looking for a PB and a flat course, this probably wouldn’t be for you, but if you want a beautiful route, a well organised race and another great medal, run it!

Well done to everyone who ran and thanks to everyone who helped me. My love for the running community only ever grows and thanks to the magic CurraNZ, I had hardly any DOMS and have ran every day since Sunday!

Next stop… Alderley Edge 10K on Sunday 2nd July. Hope to see some of you there!

In extreme heat, it’s about finishing lines, not finishing times!


Caithy x


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