I survived the Leeds Half Marathon

Leeds half marathon medal


Ok I’ll stop then.

But that doesn’t change the level of excitement that this post still carries!

Last Sunday I completed the Leeds Half Marathon! The reason I am so pleased about it is that:

a) I am not a runner and have previously only ran 12 km but I ran 13 miles
b) I LOVED it
c) I did it in 2:15.21

Hannah at leeds half marathon

people lined up for leeds half marathon

leeds half marathon starting line

This time last week I was a quivering mess worrying about it, I had psyched myself up so much that I genuinely believed it would take me 3 hours to complete.

Anyway, that didn’t happen. Here are some things I loved/hated about the half:

The sun

It was around 25 degrees on Sunday – in case you didn’t realise – that is HOT! Everyone was muttering that it was the same temperature as Ibiza. It was lovely running in the sun, especially as we went through the more scenic areas of the course.

However, it also made it a lot harder. I was dehydrated, exhausted and sunburnt by the end of it. Once again, a couple of residents saved the day by spraying us with water from their hose pipes!

The hills

This is going to sound like a strange one, but the hills throughout the course made the run a lot more interesting. Yeah the first 5km was mainly uphill, so it was a struggle, but the next few miles were downhill and they felt amazing in comparison. My resistance training really paid off!

Pain free

I mentioned in my last post that I was so scared about my shin splints and my blisters, luckily these didn’t effect me too much during the run. During the very first mile my shins were playing up, but as the race went on (and my Ibuprofen kicked in) it stopped being as noticeable. Somehow I managed to run on the biggest blisters ever, which incidentally popped while I was running, without being in agony. Thank god for the flip flops I put on once I finished!

I’m pleased to report there was also no sign of chafing and I didn’t use any Vaseline!

My playlist

I was so grateful for my sister and her 2010 music choices while running. Turns out Beyonce, Girls Aloud, Sum 41 and Akon create the perfect soundtrack and pace for running a half marathon. It was so much easier running with an arm band too instead of holding my ipod, why haven’t I done this before?

leeds half marathon people running

Race nutrition

I had a bowl of protein porridge before the race, loads of water and a cup of tea. I was really nervous and didn’t want to eat loads but I managed to eat that quite early so I wasn’t full when I started running.

At mile 4 I had an energy gel which I was really looking forward to it because I was so thirsty and it was berry flavoured. I imaged it would cool my throat, but it was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted! It had warmed up in the sun and tasted like strong liqueur rather than berries, I could barely get it down my throat without retching. However it must have done the trick because the 30g of carbs gave me enough energy to finish without feeling hungry at all.

Best mile = 6

This mile was my favourite by far. I had been running for just under an hour, had gotten over the hills and I started to feel like I could run forever. Beyonce was playing on my iPod and it was a lovely sight watching so many people enjoying the day as we came down the hills.

Worst mile = 12

Without a doubt this was the most difficult mile. First of all, it was up another hill, which I know I just said I enjoyed but not for the last mile. It felt like it dragged on for about 30 minutes even though it was 10 and i think i stopped more in this mile than any other (I stopped about every 3 miles).

Basically all I wanted to do was stop running. Even when I got to near the finish line where there were loads of crowds I couldn’t motivate my legs to move anymore and started walking. Luckily I realised how stupid that was as I only had about 0.25 km left to run and forced myself to run through the finish line WHICH WAS UP A HILL BY THE WAY.

Having a cocktail straight after the race


Considering how much I preach about dehydration, this was a pretty stupid thing to do. What did I think would happen if I drank a strong rum cocktail straight after in the hot sun?

For the rest of the day (and evening) I felt so dehydrated it was like having a hangover. I had to lie down for the entire day and didn’t even get to eat amazing food. I was also sick twice when I got home later on (this could have been from the sun though).

The medal

Everyone loves a medal don’t they? This one is particularly cute, with a yellow and pink ribbon and the landmarks of Leeds. You could also get your name and time engraved for free at the end. The goodie bag and t-shirt were also great!

So I can finally say I have run a half marathon, and enjoyed it! While I definitely won’t be running a full marathon I would highly recommend running the Leeds half, it was a great day and totally worth the blisters! Check out my previous post for tips on preparing for your half.