You know those runs where everything's perfect? When nothing can stop you and you feel like you could run forever and ever without breaking your form, a massive grin plastered from ear to ear?
That, boys and girls, is called a state of flow, and that is why I love running.
I live for those runs - and this year's Brighton Half Marathon was one of them.
Just a perfect day
As I locked up my bike by the big wheel and looked out at the beautiful blue skies and sunshine glistening on the sea I knew this was gonna be a good race. I've been looking forward to it for ages and was always gunning for a PB, even if I wasn't meant to be 'racing' it but treating it as a long training run for the full marathon in April.
|Just a perfect, perfect day|
Loads of fellow RunBrightoners, bfitters and Twitter friends were doing it too, so it felt like a real team effort, we were all in it together. We'd spent the week before bracing ourselves for a hurricane but were treated to a blissfully perfect winter's day. Like it was ordered by the Running Gods, specially for one day - it literally couldn't have been better.
One year on: a different story
There were so many differences in myself this time round compared to last year. I ran the half marathon in 2013 with no fuelling strategy or pace plan; no real warm up and basically no idea. I went out way too fast and dragged my reluctant under-trained and poorly-fuelled body to the finish line in lots of pain and didn't enjoy the race much at all, mostly endured it.
This time I was *so* excited and had been for weeks. I knew my hard work in marathon training over the past few months would serve me well, and with the *perfect* weather, tried and tested fuelling strategy and great support both in the crowd and on Twitter, nothing could go wrong. Apart from anything else, I was just excited to finally get a medal for one of these epic Long Sunday Runs that I'd been doing lately!
|It's all in the colour co-ordination...|
Strong to the finish
I wanted to see if I could maintain a 10min/mile pace as a potential marathon pace for April, so when I looked down at my watch and saw I was running around 9:30-9:45 for most of the miles (the last two being under nine!) I was well chuffed. I felt comfortable and strong (bar a bit of a hamstring ache at miles 9-10) right through to the finish and lapped up the atmosphere like a kid at Disney Land. I smiled pretty much the whole way through and can honestly say it was my most favourite run and best race of all time EVER.
|Mile 1 far too excited! Mile 11 - head down and focus|
My wonderful other half followed me round on his bike taking photos and cheering me on, and it was great to 'bump into' lots of other RunBrightoners and bfitters along the route - a big Sunday social with all my new running friends!
|Behold, the excitable, grinning midget!|
Where last year at mile 10 I fell apart and hauled myself in agony to the finish line, this time I got a massive boost of energy and picked it up to threshold pace and flew to the finish - the last three miles in glorious, epic negative splits!
|Garmin won't let me embed it - click here if you're a stats-whore like me|
I crossed the line in 2:09, which was a massive 12 minutes faster than last year - I thought it was 11 but having checked my previous time it's an even better PB than I thought. >happy face<
It's absolutely the BEST feeling in the world to have a good run. Even better when that run is 13.1 miles and you get a medal afterwards. The endorphins from this one are gonna stick around a while I reckon - thank you Brighton, you were beautiful.
Bring on those extra 13 miles in April!
Some more photos from the day on my Facebook page.
Did you run Brighton Half Marathon? Tell me all about it, I can't be the only one who absolutely LOVED it! :)