My ‘first’ half marathon experience was back in 2000 (had to find my GNR medal to work out when it was) when I was 23, unfit, fat and didn’t think you had to train for such events! Having taken me a ridiculous time to complete – around 3 hours i’ve decided to erase it from my race results section of my brain and treat this weekend as my first half!
So having looked for something to do after my pelvis locked up and shoulder impingement injuries of late summer were sorted, I saw a member from my Triathlon club (Shires Triers) post this race and thought it would be a good idea to give myself a base half marathon time to work with heading into next season. Nice and local and the bonus of a cheap entry so seemed perfect.
My primary race goal was simply to get a PB, if I failed that one I would have gone and have hidden in a very dark corner…… my secondary race goal was to go sub 1:50. On Saturday I felt quite ill – sneezing and feeling full of cold, wasn’t sure if it was a cold or dust allergies from doing DiY all day so by 7pm sat night I was thinking this might end up being a training run only and not a race at all, however, went to bed super early with a lemsip and olbas oil and thankfully woke up on race morning feeling fine.
My race partner for the day was a friend from the Tri club, Robin, for the second time this year, we were both flying the ‘shires triers’ flag at a running event! We got there nice and early so had ages to put the world to rights and critique the weird and wonderful stretches and poses some people seem to do for warm ups – I even spotted one guy with his foam roller out on the floor of the registration area!
My race morning prep simply involved my usual bowl of porridge 3 hours before race and a bottle of Advanced TRI Fuel, slowly sipped during the lead up to the race. As I experienced stomach issues last year I have a new strategy for this coming race season which involves using nothing wheat based as I have a slight intolerance to wheat and discovered that nearly all sports energy sources use wheat based ingredients. For solid energy products this year I am using a combination of Clif products as they use rice and tapioca based sugar syrup rather than wheat derived. They are also much less sweet than the gels and bars I used last year. For pre-race and during the bike leg of ironman I also needed to find an easily absorbed liquid energy source that was gentle on my stomach and different from I what I have used previously. This is where Advanced TRI Fuel comes into the equation. My friend Tom has been raving about this fuel since we trained together for ironman bolton in the summer but I had already been using certain products over the spring training sessions I didn’t want to swap mid season and try something new, with hindsight I wish I had…….Advanced Tri Fuel delivers a slow release of energy and contains no sugar; instead the HDA starch complex is slowly digested to release a steady stream of energy into the blood giving no stomach distress.
Anyway, back to the race – we both set off nice and easy but I drifted back from Robin almost straight away as knew I had to pace slow and crank up over the event so get a good strong negative split and work out my pacing without crashing and burning early on.
First hour was really comfortable, perhaps a little too comfortable, it felt no different to being out for a normal weekday run, then after 60mins I cranked the pace up, and after 1:30 went all out full steam! I passed the halfway point where they have a big clock and it said 56mins at that point so I knew I had to do a good negative split or I would be over 1:50 and disappointed with myself. The last 45 mins I was really pushing and that felt great as I do so much low heart rate training its great to get an excuse to go full power! Finished in 1:45:13 – yes, gutted it was 14secs shy of a sub 1:45 but also happy that I achieved my two race goals of PB’ing and going sub 1:50. Don’t think ill ever be happy with a race result – I always know there is more I could have done or a few second/minutes faster if I have had done this……
I came 460 out of 1232 and was 63rd female. Not bad I guess for me first crack at a half marathon!