Richmond Half Marathon – Race Day

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.

Richmond Half Marathon Route
Richmond Half Marathon Route

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

Richmond Half Marathon Splits
Richmond Half Marathon Splits

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.

Post Race Joy
Post Race Joy

22 Comments Add yours

  1. aliceruns says:

    Nice to see you back! I was wondering if everything’s going fine with you. Congrats on the race, too, The heart rate can be affected by so many things, including your sleepless night before. weather… Don’t worry. There’s plenty more races ahead of you to work towards!

    1. David Faust says:

      It’s nice to be back. Everything has been going well but work has been crazy. There has just been no time to blog. A poor excuse I know! There is always another race. Just over a month until the next one… How have you been?

      1. aliceruns says:

        I’m glad to hear everything is going well with you. I am training for my first race – it’s going to be a 10k in Amsterdam in May. And I am really enjoying the spring weather!

      2. David Faust says:

        Awesome, and a trip to Amsterdam! That sounds delightful! How is the training going?

      3. aliceruns says:

        Surprisingly good! I mean, I feel half dead sometimes, but I am also doing far better than I expected. I tend to push myself a bit too hard, especially that the race itself I will be running with a friend who is a bit slower than I am, so I don’t really expect it to be difficult for me.

  2. stomperdad says:

    I’ve learned the hard way that rest is as important as running. Still, congrats on a sub 1:50 with a cold and rotten guts!

    1. David Faust says:

      I put off my 7.5 miler due to having a cold. I should have just not done it. But hindsight is a beautiful thing. Onwards and upwards now!

  3. madamecloud says:

    Might have been the oil in the taters that made your stomach go funny. Still fantastic result! congrats!!!

    1. David Faust says:

      Yeah, it could be. Having about 50 of them didn’t help either!

      1. madamecloud says:

        HA 50?!!! Yeah that might do it. They are irresistable though!

  4. usabaker says:

    Wow for doing not so great in your eye you did Fantastic! in my eyes. Your worst time are better then my best times LOL 🙂 great run!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks! I didn’t want to come across as ungrateful, sorry about that! I am pleased with the time but disappointed with the last few miles. I guess these are certainly first world problems!

      1. usabaker says:

        I don’t think you came across ungrateful. I was just in awe of your splits!! And wish I could run as good as your bad day ::) but I’m old lol

      2. David Faust says:

        You’ve still got it, that’s for sure!

  5. Nice one. I understand that ‘happy but disappointed’ thing. I’d targeted a 3:10:00 at a twenty mile event. Got a 3:04:19 and was a bit gutted I couldn’t stick with a place to get sub 3.
    There’s always a bit faster….but that’s what’s nice really.
    Well done.

    1. David Faust says:

      Yeah, there is always next time. It just makes me want to go harder for next time!

  6. evozeta says:

    Gald to read from you again! And congrats on your – what I see as a – great time, too!! Fantastic! Still, I know the feeling if “I could have and should have” afterwards. I never finished a half marathon under 2 hours though I’ve been running for years. But I only found out I had exercise-induced asthma 2 years ago and have to approach the whole thing differently. But then again: I never really cared that much about speed, more about enjoying the time outside doing what I like 😉

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks, it’s good to be back! It was a difficult morning all round. I did my first run since this evening and it was so enjoyable, through London at dusk. It felt really easy too. It’s definitely perked me up!

  7. charissarunning says:

    Congrats on a great race! Sometimes your body just doesn’t cooperate exactly the way you want it to but just know this happens to everyone – you’re not alone! I feel like I had almost the exact thing happen to me last fall. I was shooting for 8 min miles and did it for 6 miles or so, but then couldn’t hold that pace and wound up slowing down for the second half. Keep it up and you’ll definitely get there! 🙂

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks for your kind words! It just means I have to train harder for next time. I reckon I can do it if I really train well. The only issue is my next half includes 600m of climbing… I think 8 minute miles may be out of the question on that one!

      1. charissarunning says:

        That is a tough one! Some courses are not so PR friendly so you just have to adjust and do your best for what’s given to you that day!

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