Yesterday saw the completion of my second ever half marathon and I have to say it did not go too badly at all!
It all began at 5:30am when I was dragged from my cosy warm sleep by my mum bursting into the room to let me know that I had successfully slept through my alarm cue mass panic from myself and my boyfriend rolling over and going straight back to sleep. Knowing the actual running part wasnt due to start till 11.30 (I later found out it actually started at 11!) I had a detailed fueling plan worked out to ensure a max energy peak at that time! This actually entailed downing a bowl of porridge at 5:30am and then a buttered bagel whilst wandering from the car to the runners village, seemed to work fine!
(mmmmm 5:30am, theres my detailed fueling plan in the tin foil down there)
Having managed to drag the boy, my mum and my little sister up at the crack of dawn and into the car we finally set off for Bath, pillows were arranged and we all buckled down for an hours nap, only to be awoken just over an hour later to my mum shouting ‘I’ve missed the turn-off’ whilst simultaneously sailing past our exit. A fraught 20 minutes followed where a lot of blame was passed out to those of us that had been sleeping rather than map reading… After a slight detour to South Wales (dont ask) we finally got back on track and arrived in Bath in one piece around 2 hours before gun time.
(All smiles before the race)
My cheering squad were feeling the effects of not having followed my fuelling plan so our first stop in Bath was a Cafe Nero for espressos and croissants. Then it was off to the runners village (with a quick detour to shamelessly stare at Greg James and Dermot O’leary recording some pieces at the finish line), no longer being a half marathon newbie I was a bit more prepared for this race and brought along two GU’s which I aimed to take at miles 6 and 10, as well a a mental plan to drink something at every single water station. I really wanted to go sub 1:50 and see that my training was having the right effect but I also didnt want to kill myself with 11 weeks of marathon training still to go.. I fine line to balance…
I had time for a quick warm up
(Such a pro)
and then it was off to the starting corrals! This was all very organised and I got into the crowd about 100m behind the starting line with no trouble at all. I even got to hang out with my cheering squad who found me by the rail for the final 10 minutes.
(That guy majorly photo bombed me)
Jumpers off with 2 minutes to start and it was go time!
Bath Half is a two lap course, starting in town and heading out along the river (but not next to the river) over a bridge and back (and repeat). Apart from two, not too steep hills, both ending with a nice long downhill the course was reasonably flat. Not the most inspiring but the crowds were great there were loads of little kids wanting high fives and buckets of jelly beans being handed out.
For the first six miles I felt really good, and cruise control settled in at just below 8:20 pace (I couldn’t actually believe I was capable of running this quickly, Karen Weirs training programme is paying serious dividends).
Once we passed 6 miles, I decided to push a bit harder and see how that felt. I was determined I didn’t want to burn out so I kept it reasonably under control, had one GU at mile 6 which gave me a definite lift for the next few miles, the only issue was there seemed to be a bit of a lack of water stations! I dont know if anyone else thought this too but I was running around with gross GU taste in my throat for at least 2 miles before I finally got some water!
Around 10 miles I was starting to feel pretty tired and decided it was time to get my second GU in (strategically aligned with a lucozade station I remembered from the first lap). These last three miles seemed to be on a gradual incline which really sucked all the energy from your legs but I kept pushing and even though I felt sluggish somehow I was still managing to keep the pace up. The final mile I was seriously counting down to the finish and when we rounded the final corner I could not have been happier.
I crossed the line in 1:47:58 taking 6 minutes off my previous PB! and by some divine miracle achieved perfect negative splits!
Those are genuinely three miles in the sevens at the end there!
A celebratory bagel was had and all the jumpers were worn as it was FREEZING at the end
and I slept all the way home.
A huge thankyou to my mum, sister and boy for coming to support me this weekend, and a massive congratulations to Kirsty, Andy and Ollie who all completed their first half marathons yesterday and did fantastically well!
Looks like everything is still on track for the marathon and I have seriously got my eye on a sub 1:40 half now, why not ey!