I very rarely run half marathon distance races but as part of Sharon’s running ‘comeback’ she wanted to do the Bedford Half - a race she did really well in a few years ago. I was up for doing the race as well and as part of my Ironman training I thought I should add a little twist to the event by cycling there first - weather permitting.
So, after a slight lack of tapering (meaning a 17:33 ‘one second away from my PB’ at Bushy parkrun on Saturday) I got my bike ready for a very early start. A 5am wake up call on a Sunday is never a good thing but sometimes you just need to get on with things.
I left home just after 5:40am for the 55 mile or so ride to the start of the Bedford Harriers Half Marathon. Although it was cold on the plus-side there was a slight tailwind which I wasn’t complaining about. With sunrise not until just before 8am it was going to be a dark ride for a couple of hours.
The roads around west London were lovely and quiet - even the North Circular up to Hanger-Lane. You rarely get to say that! The route I chose avoided most big roads and I headed up through Harrow and up to Elstree. After crossing the M1 motorway there was a stretch of about 3 miles or so with no street lighting at all so it was pretty damn dark and I had to rely on my (reasonable but not great) bike lights for visibility.
I next headed up to St. Albans, Harpenden, Luton, Clophill and then across to the start in Wooton. I arrived shortly before 9am having ridden for 3 hours 1 minute of cycling at an NP of 237 (TSS 218). Sharon had the car conveniently parked nearby so I packed the bike away and got changed into my running gear. A couple of energy gels before the start and away we went at 10am.
The run was pretty uneventful. I enjoyed it and it was nice to be in such a large race.
I hoped to run close to 1 hour 30 and I think I did myself pretty proud! Going through half way in around 45:10 I crossed the finish line in 1:29:57. Close enough I’d say. I can’t say it was particularly easy. Well, the first half was pretty steady but towards the end I had to concentrate pretty hard to stay on pace and not get dropped by any groups. I didn’t want to kill myself out on the course today so did hold back a little as this is just one piece of a much bigger picture.
My finishing position (at least in the provisional results) was 173rd out of 1,523 finishers.