Sorry for the lack of updates. This has been for a number of reasons:
1) We’ve just moved house and I now have a commute
2) We’re less than three weeks away from having a baby
3) Work has been manic
This does mean that I had a two week “taper” period and that the last run I did before today’s half marathon was the 11.5 miler a couple of weeks ago.
So, it was with some nerves, Sensei Paul, and a pain-free drive down to the New Forest that we braced for the half marathon. It was a beautiful autumn morning – cool, crisp, bright sunshine and blue skies. The crowds were out in force. We had had a light breakfast and I’d had a bonus rice krispie bar before the race, but was otherwise running as I had trained – mostly on empty. I took my place with the ‘120+’ minute finish time staggered staring place as Paul dodged up to find the 80 minuter starting point (!), fired up RunKeeper and Mumford & Sons… and sooner than I thought possible, we were off.
The race was ‘chip-timed’ but only at the start and finish, so RunKeeper and my trusty £8 digital watch were providing the split information and helping me manage my pace. I’d said to Sensei that I wanted to maintain a pace between 6m and 6m15 per km for the race duration – which would see me hit my 2h20minute target. Of course, in the headiness of the actual race conditions, I fired on much quicker – managing a 5.36 pace through to 5k, 5.46 through to 10k, 5.56 through to 15k and 5.58 through to 16k – the 10 mile mark. All of these translated to personal bests for me! Which was fantastic, but also slightly misjudged… and of course the final 5k felt reasonably gruelling.
The race split into three broad phases for me:
The first 10k – exhilirating,fast, passing lots of people and maintaining reasonable pace.
The next 6k – starting to get passed by the runners that had paced themselves better and struggling a bit with endurance
The last 5k – gruelling endurance, fuelled by determination and a handful of jelly babies at mile 10, and filled with the satisfaction of overtaking the people who had mis-paced themselves and were now walking
Of particulate note was the last 500m – marked as the last 0.1 of a mile – should have been 160m! But managed a sprint finish at the end, which was particularly satisfying.
Time was 2h09.39 – you can find me on this site, race number 1555 at the New Forest Half Marathon. Full RunKeeper stats available here, but include splits below too.
Sub 2h10!! A full 10 minutes better than hoped for at my most optimistic! About 2/3rds down the pecking order (about 1,800 ran), so a lot of room for improvement, but pretty pleased with myself.
Paul, of course, came third with a new personal best of 1h17.06 – and so was waiting for me at the finish – and got a very nice trophy.
I was pleased to finish without stopping, amazed with my time, and to be honest spent the whole day thinking I missed 2h10 by 33 seconds because I misread the charts. Sub 2h10 – woohoo! Next stop, sub 2h – which will be a target for next year, depending on how the baby and my running routine play together.
Thanks to all who have supported me, from my lovely wife, my reliable physio, my friends, extremely generous family, my colleagues at Brands2Life and all the people who sponsored, supported, encouraged, cajoled and otherwise helped me through this. Especial thanks to Mr and Mrs Sensei Paul for the challenge, encouragement, mentoring and a fantastic race weekend. It feels a fantastic achievement for me and I definitely have the race bug now (although we’ll see how I feel about that when the aches set in proper tomorrow).
Next time – more stretching, more training, setting up a playlist for the run in advance (much as I love Mumford, the album repeating three times was a bit much), and perhaps a bit more gentle pace at the start…
If you were waiting to see if I’d manage it to sponsor me, I have now – so chuck the cash in over here! Thanks again all.
p.s. I’m knackered now so reserve the right to edit this when I’m a bit more copus mentis…