So yesterday was race day! I was very nervous about the race as my result would reflect on how well my marathon will go mentally (in under 8 weeks now!) I know that if I found the half a struggle that I would be anxious about running a full marathon.
So for that reason I’m going to break it down into sections of how I felt…
Looking perky at the start!
mile 1-2/3: I decided to stick with the 2 hours 10 pacers for the whole race, this only lasted the first three miles (ish) but that helped me get stretched out and into a good pace, at this point I felt good and that I would be able to keep up the pace. Almost immediately we hit some hills (thanks countryside!) but mostly the first three were down hill.
3-5: I’ve broken away from the pacers by this point (didn’t mean to!) but I knew the 300m incline waiting for us at mile 7 so I knew my chances of them catching up was very high. These miles were lovely, I increased my pace a little as it was ALL downhill! When the route took us over a stream I knew that was the lowest point and the big hill was to come. I still felt strong by this point and optimistic that I might actually pull off a decent time!
5-7: oh hell, kill me. Why did I choose a hilly half marathon when I could have done Hampton Court half like last year, which is completely flat! I soon remembered why when a fellow Petts Wood Runner came past and helped me get to the top, this was a club grand prix event, so it helped knowing my competitors were out on the course!
7-10: I’m still struggling mentally, I know a personal best is in sight but I just don’t know if I can do it, if I really can. It’s still very hilly and probably will be until the end. Then I get a message through the bluetooth on my watch from my friend who is waiting at the end ‘run, run run!’ The knowledge of a nice warm coffee and cake at the end spurred me on at this point.
10-13.1: A lady told me she has done this race many times and the last three miles are the worst… Thanks! My confidence is knocked but running past Mr Incredible and the last mile being all downhill meant that I made it home.
I ran the race in 2 hours 8 minutes and 35 seconds. A new official personal best! I am so happy with this, on a course with 793ft elevation gain as well – just think on a flat course I could probably push under 2 hours!
At Hampton Court half on the same day a year ago I ran it in 2 hours and 26 minutes. That’s an improvement of 18 minutes over a year! If I can do that again for next year I’ll have a very respectable time!
i came third in my grand prix group – pushing my standings up to third place in my time category, with second place finishing less than a minute in front of me!