On Sunday morning I drove the 60 miles or so up to the village of Wootton, Bedfordshire for the Bedford Harriers Half Marathon. I left home at 7:35 (Sharon was at work that morning on an early shift so we’d been up since 6:20 - which isn’t uncommon for a weekend anyway), and boy I’m glad I left with plenty of time (its was a 10am start) as the M1 was closed because of an accident. After a detour (thanks to my trusty paper map - I’ve not gone for GPS yet in the car) I made it into the car park at 9:25am, dropped off my bag, put my running number on my new running vest and got ready for the start.
Now, that was tough - real tough. I’d given myself a number of targets…
- 1:39:59 = i’d be pleased with that time
- 1:34:59 = i’d be chuffed to bits with that time
- 1:29:59 = i’d not even thought about going under 1:30 until Hollywood and Cookie at the BPTT on Saturday said that’s what I should be aiming for!
Well, it was clear, cold and windy. The first few miles were not too bad with only one short but tough hill. Around the 7 or 8 mile mark I went for my tasty “strawberry and vanilla” (i think) carbo-gel thingy as I was feeling this pretty bad. I’d done the miles in training, but not at this pace before.
Mile 10 was good, as I made it quicker than I did at the Cabbage Patch 10 miler in October (and that was flat). Was I going too fast….?
By mile 11 things started getting really really tough - I just couldn’t run fast. My left calf was hurting (must be the hills) and quite a few people were running past me. I just had to dig in, push hard and know that there was only two miles left - only about 15 minutes. I could do it (although the thought of stopping and walking had crossed my mind a few times). A time around 1:30 was well out of the picture, but sub 1:35 was certainly possible. Oh, and then the last few hundred metres to the finish is UPHILL! Doh. That was really really tough but there was a good crowd building giving support and I couldn’t give up - no chance - especially with the finish in sight.
Well, I crossed the line with an official time of 1:33:37 seconds (my 1:33:30 by my watch) and in 227th place (out of 1317 finishers). My pace was 7:09 (not bad with the hill profile) and my average heart rate was 178bpm).
Splits were: (1)6:38, (2)6:36, (3)6:59, (4)6:56, (5)7:09, (6)7:12, (7)6:54, (8)7:39, (9)7:26, (10)6:48, (11)7:13, (12)7:23, (13)7:50, (13.1)0:42.
Finally, I’m so proud that I can now officially say that I’ve run a half-marathon. Maybe one day soon I’ll be able to say I’ve done the full 26.2 miles…