May is a tough month for me when it comes to races (its my own fault), and coming off of the back of last weeks first sub 40 minute 10k time at Sutton, this morning was the Ranelagh Richmond Half Marathon.
I had entered this race only a couple of weeks ago as I would have gone out for a long run anyway today and felt I should go support my first claim running club. The weather as of late has been pretty shocking so I’d been keeping a close eye on the forecast for this one.
Well, the weather turned out to be perfect for running (i.e., not good for spectating!). As the race went on, the rain started off light and got progressively worse.
Anyway, back to the race. My main aim was to start off slowly and confidently. Any time I lose in the early stages I would make up later, and have pleasure in making up positions and time in the latter stages. To this end it was a pretty good success.
My previous best was 1:33:37 at the Bedford Half Marathon in December 2006. That was a tough race, partly because of the hills and the fact that I ran too fast early and paid the price at the end. This was not going to happen today. I wanted to get 1:29:59 or better. That was the plan.
After the customary bowl of porridge at 6:30am (yes, nice and early wake up on a Sunday) I left home at about 7:15am to get to the start. Its not far away but its best to get there early and make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed in the hour before the start, rather than panicking.
The race….I took the first mile steady and did that in 7:18. I was happy with this, although it could have been a few seconds quicker. The second mile, at 6:41, evened things out - probably a bit too much but not by too much of a margin. A couple of miles at 6:55 pace followed and then at the 4 mile mark we (I was running with fellow club runner Darren) started to step things up a little. Miles 5 and 6 were done in around 6:45 each, which was great. The 7 mile marker I’m convinced came far too soon, as that mile was done in 6:08, and we hadn’t stepped it up *that* much.
Miles 8, 9, 10 and 11 were done averaging 6:55 pace and as we headed to the final two miles I was able to speed up a little more, partly because at this point there were a few more runners around. Two miles at 6:42 pace and then the final bit (the total is 13.1 miles) gave me a finishing time of 1:29:08. Superb.
I’m not sure what happened miles 6-7 with the markers. My watch (which isn’t 100% accurate) did put it at 0.91miles, and all the other miles in the race were around 0.97-1.03 miles. Either way, this evened out the slightly slower times in miles 8-11. I’m not complaining.
I could have gone on for further - I didn’t push myself to near-death or anything like that. I just pushed it steady throughout. Good pacing was my friend today. Oh, and Darren who I ran with for almost all of the race :)
Heart rate wise, the average was 168bpm, and at one point (near the end) it maxed at 179. I averaged at about 83% of my maximum working heart rate, which is about right for me and this kind of distance.
The medal we all got at the end is really cool. We also got fed with bananas and chocolate. I’ve since had a nice warm bath and done some more muscle stretches. The plan for the coming days is to do plenty of miles but nothing too tough, as I need the muscles to recover in time for the 10k I’m doing next Sunday!
Before I sign off, I need to say a huge well done to good mate Danny Norman who finished 9th overall in a time of 1:15:44. His time also helped Stragglers running club win bronze in the Surrey County Half Marathon Championship. Superb work.
Congratulations to Heather M., Kath and John L who produced outstanding times on the day. Well done to you all. Sorry for those of you I’ve missed here.