Hello everyone, I’m back. I’ve had a bit of a hiatus. The usual reasons really. Lots of work, busy evenings and I just didn’t feel the urge to write about it. These things happen and will happen again. I don’t even know if I’ll be back for long but having just about recovered from my last race I thought I would do a recap.
That day didn’t start particularly well. We had roast potatoes the night before which ended up playing havoc with my insides. I think it was the skins. They just wouldn’t digest. I haven’t had too much problem with them before but I had chowed down a quite magnificent amount. They’re just so damn tasty. This meant there were quite a few trips to empty my j pouch before the race. That combined with not much sleep and in the thick of a cold meant I was not really in the best frame of mind to push myself.
That aside, I (foolishly) decided that I would aim for 8 minute miles. That would hopefully get me close to my target of 1 hour 45 minutes. A few minutes faster than the Hampton Court half one month ago. To be honest, everything started really well as the following splits show:
Mile 1 – 8:38
Mile 2 – 7:58
Mile 3 – 7:57
Mile 4 – 7:59
Mile 5 – 8:00
Mile 6 – 7:54
A great first half. Lot’s of overtaking. Hitting my targets with ease. I was starting to feel it by this point and thought I’d ease up for a couple of miles. Just to try and conserve my energy for the final third:
Mile 7 – 8:07
Mile 8 – 8:07
Turns out that despite 2 very evenly paced miles I hadn’t eased off enough and that’s when I hit the wall. Somewhere between the mile 8 and mile 9 marker I lost all energy in my legs. My muscles were shot to pieces. I have never felt this before and it was devastating. I tried to fool myself into thinking I could continue and that it was all in the mind but it was quickly apparent that there was no chance I would be able to continue at the pace required to break my PB. Now it was just a case of trying not to walk. Trying not to give up. The next miles were agony. Seeing everyone run pass me. Seeing the 1:50 marker pass me on mile 11 or 12 was horrible. Luckily I had started after them so knew it wasn’t completely over. When you are in this situation the miles go past in slow motion. They take ages. Every time I glanced at my watch it was perhaps another 100 meters further. The distance was still long and my legs were seizing up. My next miles were:
Mile 9 – 8:28
Mile 10 – 8:27
Mile 11 – 8:44
Mile 12 – 9:18
Mile 13 – 9:07
As you can see all my plans came crumbling down around me. What started out fantastic had finished in a pretty horrible way. My time was 1:49:57 which in all honesty is still a great time and I am not disappointed with that. I am more disappointed in the things I could have potentially done to change it. I think better sleep, better nutrition and not doing a 7.5 mile run on the Friday morning before a race would have potentially helped.
Upon checking my stats in depth I can see that my average heart rate was 173, 10bpm higher than my first half marathon. This seems crazy to me, I was 1 month fitter how can this have happened? I can only presume that having a cold really affected my performance. All my runs previously had pointed to improving heart rates rather than anything else.
That aside I am very glad to have done this race. It was interesting to experience 2 half marathons in the same month. I don’t think it was a great idea as by the time you factor in a recovery week and a taper week you only have 2 weeks of good training in between. The feeling of relief once I finished was immense. I was so pleased to see my girlfriend finish about 5 minutes later having done next to no running in the last month. We both found it difficult but the sense of completion was fulfilling. We picked up our bags and drinks and went home for steak. We got a t shirt and a head band and some of goodies. That was accompanied with some very chaffed thighs, the inability to walk and a full sense of gratification.