Well, that was certainly an adventure!

Some of you may remember that back in January, in a flurry of optimism, I offered to help my husband train for the Norwich Half Marathon. Well, this Sunday was the day of reckoning!

This years Norwich Half Marathon was the fourth he had run, and the first since it was moved from November to April. His last in November 2015 was run in sleety weather, with next to no training, in a time of 2 hours 15 minutes. The optimistic goal, with my careful 12 week training plan, was to finally crack 2 hours. I knew it would be a big ask, especially as the winter had been rubbish and he still needed to build up a base of shorter runs. My carefully planned program, if followed to the letter, would surely lead to success.

Those of you that have been following the journey will know that by the end of the first 4 week block “to the letter” was already a thing of the past. Mr Chick hated the strength workouts and “accidentally” had to miss some of them. By the end of phase 2 we were even further behind, and then completely derailed by a terrible cold which meant almost a week and a half with no runs at all. The speed training in phase 3, which was supposed to be 4 weeks, ended up as 2 fartlek training sessions, not really enough to help much with speed to any great degree.

Still, heading towards race day he was definitely far more prepared than in 2015, and at least as prepared as he had been for his previous PB of 2 hours 5 minutes, run in torrential rain in 2014.

Then Sunday dawned as the hottest day of the year at 22 degrees. Not ideal for running a Half Marathon, especially when all your training up to now has been in cool spring weather with a gentle refreshing breeze.

As a non-runner this time I got to hang around and wait at the finish line for some much needed moral support. I saw a LOT of people struggling with the heat as they went past, and when Mr Chick rounded the bend I could tell it had been tough.

He finished this time in 2 hours 9 minutes, which about equals his first Half Marathon in 2013.

He didn’t crack the 2 hours this time, or quite manage a PB but apparently the training did make it a lot less painful than it could have been! I’m proud of him for finishing, and he’s signed up for an upcoming 10 mile race as well to encourage himself to keep up the distance.

As ever, I asked him to write a bit about it in his own words. So here’s how Mr Chick felt about this years Norwich Half Marathon, and the training it took to get there.

“So, the half marathon is complete. I wasn’t able to break either the two hour mark or my personal best but I did improve on last year. The race has moved from November to April and I don’t think this has been good for me. I am quite happy running in the rain, but I struggle in the heat and the race was on the hottest day of the year so far. Usually on a half marathon I would only drink the water I carried and perhaps stop at one of the water stops along the way. This year I stopped at all four. You do have to actually stop running when drinking from a plastic cup otherwise you get wet! Some of the spectators who stood outside of their houses had sprinklers on for the participants to run through – it was great and really helped.

Headphones are not allowed during the race and so I used an electronic metronome to keep a constant pace (it was on silent and just vibrated in my hand). This meant that although I extended my stride to make the most of the downhills I still kept at a constant rhythm. I had to walk up one hill, which I’ve not had to do in cooler years. It is a beast of a hill though rising about 90ft in 1/4 mile. I did the right thing in walking up it, but did feel guilty.

I found the first 8 miles much easier than I have in previous years. The effort really came in around the 10th mile and the last was a nightmare. Gemma got to see me in all my red faced horror for the first time.

I have signed up for a 10 miler in a months time which I think is probably my optimum distance and I am going to try to stick to Gemma’s guidance this time. We’ve agreed I’ll do the running training alone and she will do the additional training with me to stop it being so damn boring for me. Hopefully we’ll be in peak form come the Run Norwich race in Aug.”

So, Mr Chick is gearing up for a 10 mile race. I’m planning ahead to not have a meltdown during this years Run Norwich 10k. This year I am running for charity, raising money for the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation, any amount you feel like donating is hugely appreciated!

And, after the run, of course, the reward….