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Supermum Cally raises the pace at Brentwood

by Supemum Cally
Wednesday 25th March 2015
Tags  Supermum Cally   |   LV Brentwood Half Marathon   |   Brentwood Half Marathon   |   Run Mummy Run   |   PureLime   |   PUMA IGNITE   |   Flip Belt

Race report:  Run247's Supermum Cally reports from the LV Brentwood Half Marathon - March 22, 2015

LV Brentwood Half Marathon - March 22, 2015

Photos: Cally's dad (713) and the start of the 2015 LV Brentwood Half Marathon © www.sussexsportphotography.com

I have been training for my most local race, the Brentwood Half Marathon since last May. Back then, I could barely run a mile and that mile took over 11 minutes. Week after week I slowly increased my distances (and pace) and somehow managed to maintain three to four runs a week throughout the whole year. So it had been a very long build up to the race I had set as my training goal.

I last ran the race in 2008, around the time I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter. The results from 2008 are no longer on the race website, but with a bit of searching, I was pleased to find that they are still in the Run247 results archive! My finish time that year was 1:56:38, I was using it as a training run for the London Marathon and I don’t remember having a set finish time in mind, as my focus was on the marathon. This time though, I have no races booked beyond this one, so it was definitely the main event.

I was anxious about the ban on headphones in the weeks leading up to the race, as all of my training is done with either music or friends to accompany me. I considered running with my Aftershokz, but they, whilst their use is permitted by the Brighton Marathon, had not been mentioned in the rules for Brentwood, so I decided I’d better not try as I would risk disqualification. I think I really only decided that the day before the race as I started to get the things I needed together, so I’m not sure I was as prepared as I was back in 2008, but then I didn’t have two children to worry about then!

Race day was dry, overcast and cool, pretty much the best conditions most runners could hope for. The ‘what to wear’ dilemma was still there as I was hoping to run just in my ‘Run Mummy Run’ vest, but I knew with the wind chill that I might be cold, so I opted for my PureLime compression bra and base layer underneath my vest and my trusty ‘Frozen’ leggings (helpful in getting crowd support). I also stuck with my new PUMA IGNITE trainers; having run exclusively in them for the past few weeks, I was sure that they would be comfortable enough to run in. I added some compression sleeves under my leggings and put my nutrition in my Flip Belt. I also used a recent addition to my running wardrobe ‘Runderwear’ (more on that in another article).

The start was busy, with plenty of spectators, 3,500 half marathoners and 1,000 fun runners. The local theatre was offering use of their toilets and providing refreshments for those who needed it and as usual, Sawyers Church offered the ‘traditional’ BBQ, as much cake as you can eat, musical entertainment and tonnes of craft activities for the children to keep them occupied whilst those they had come to support were out on the rural course. In keeping with the tradition of the race, the runners were marched up the road to the start by the Brentwood Imperial Youth Band, who did a great job of getting the adrenaline flowing.

It felt like the starting gun went off a couple of minutes early, my Garmin certainly hadn’t located its entire required signal, but regardless, off we went! I should add that I started (but did not finish) with my father and one of my training buddies. I knew that both were likely to finish ahead of me, so I tried not to worry about keeping up with them and keep to the pace I had set for myself. I planned to try and keep to less than 9 minute miles as I knew that would bring me in under the 2 hour mark, which was my goal. The start is downhill for the first couple of miles, so I hoped to get my pace established then and keep it going for the next 11.1. Not a bad tactic, but almost all of my training runs have been done at 9-10 minute miles and I don’t think I appreciated the effect the difference in pace would have on my body over a prolonged period.

It was quite busy as well for the first couple of miles, I was running on the pavement a little to move around some runners. Luckily I made it down to the roundabout where the race meets the A12 just before they stopped the runners to allow some traffic to pass. After two miles spent getting my pace up, it was a relief not to be stopped, but I only just made it. I took this as a good sign and my first couple of miles were 8:14 and 8:09 respectively. I kept quite a careful eye on my pace to ensure that I didn’t drop my pace without realising as I knew that I might not be able to recover it.

LV Brentwood Half Marathon - March 22, 2015

Photos: Cally (431) and her dad (713) on the course of the 2015 LV Brentwood Half Marathon © www.sussexsportphotography.com

People were very friendly and on the long stretches with few spectators several other runners spoke to me and I even found someone running with their music playing from their phone in their arm sleeve, so I stuck with him as long as possible to take advantage of the musical distraction.

In the village of Blackmore there were plenty of spectators giving out sweets, music and one of many water stations. The water stations were well managed, it was easy to grab an open bottle and Nuclear Races had provided large bins that you could ‘lob’ your finished bottle into, although of course many were still thrown into the verge, lots of volunteers were there to help scoop them up into recycling bags.

I had planned my nutrition so that I took half my packet of Shot Blocks between miles 5 and 6 and the other half between miles 8 and 9. In training this worked perfectly to see me finish 13.1 miles without feeling light headed, however even though I know the physiology of running faster, i.e. you burn less fat for fuel, so need to take on more energy, I hadn’t predicted this and could probably have done with another half packet to get me to the finish. I was in my comfort zone from a cardiovascular perspective, my legs felt tired, but capable, but certainly when I got to around mile 10, I started to feel that my head was not as together as I would have expected, probably due to lack of sugar/electrolytes.

With only three miles to go though, I knew that I was capable of a sub 1hr56 finish time, so I was determined not to let my pace drop as what was the point of keeping my pace this far only to lose minutes in the last few miles?

It was quite frustrating in the last couple of miles with marshals continually trying to get us to run on the pavement, despite the fact that no traffic was passing us and as most runners know, when you have little left in the tank, moving course, even slightly, is painful mentally and physically. However, with the roads not completely closed to traffic I appreciate that this was a safety concern.

The hill in the last mile did really hit me, but only because I was trying to maintain my pace, whereas usually I back off a little on the hills. It helped that I knew that there would be people I knew watching at this point, so I didn’t want to let them down by not giving it my all at this stage. I was also starting to overtake some runners who had kept one step ahead of me the rest of the race. I think this was down to some fairly even pacing. Having said that, once I got to the top of the hill and made the turn towards the finish I commanded my legs to go as fast as they possibly could as now I didn’t need to save anything for later.

It was difficult not to let emotion overtake as I saw my husband and children cheering me on, which definitely affected my breathing, but I just about held it together. I crossed the finish line in 1:51:19, a PB I had not predicted, but was very happy to get. It was a strange feeling to be walking, but my quads were still trying to run, that’s what 13.1 miles of continual running does to your muscles I guess! My father finished in a fantastic 1:46:52, which was not even a PB for him and my running buddy in 1:48:10 and she runs naked (i.e. without use of a timing device), so just ran in her comfort zone and achieved a PB without realising it until much later.

LV Brentwood Half Marathon - March 22, 2015

Photos: Consistent training and even pacing pays of for Cally © www.sussexsportphotography.com

The medals were handed out still in their plastic wrapping, which was a shame as I was not really capable of opening mine until some time later. We were also given drawstring goody bags, which had some nice ‘gifts’ in them, including a water bottle, sweat band and pen branded by the race sponsors, ‘Liverpool Victoria’ and a Nature Valley crunch bar. New for this year was a meet and greet area in the car park of the local school, which was a really welcome addition as the finish area gets so congested. It included sweets being given out by the race sponsors and a BBQ. This was not previously advertised though, so I fear was under-utilised as a result and my family certainly didn’t find it… maybe next year.

The muscle soreness I am experiencing just one day later was not anticipated as I thought I had trained enough. Looking back on it, I trained enough in terms of distance and frequency, but not enough at that pace. So my next dilemma is what race should I attempt next? And of course, can I beat my time?

I ran in memory of Stephen Berg, father of my running buddy and good friend Jennie, who was planning to run this race before his unexpected passing. RIP


About The Author

Supermum Cally

Run247 has got its very own Supermum joining the editorial team. Cally Shanley has just got back into running after a six year break, during which time she has had two girls (Amber, five and three quarter years old and Melody, one and three quarter years old) and started a new job

We are looking to get Supermum Cally to try out some of the latest products, review some of the races and generally tell us all about her journey back into the world of running.

You can follow Cally on Twitter @runsupermum


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