I had my very best race ever on Sunday and have been smiling from ear to ear ever since. I ran the Perkins Great Eastern Half Marathon in 1hr25mins and finished as 9th woman . I was also part of the 1st Ladies team of 3 in second position for Nene Valley Harriers. I am so happy with that time and position, having set myself the goals of running 1) under 1hr30 and 2) within the top 10 women. Not bad considering the 1st 2 ladies were Kenyan!!!!
The race took place through the streets of my home town Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The course was pretty much flat which was great for setting a pace and sticking with it.
In the run up to the race I set my goals and estimated a pace I thought would be realistic for that distance, based on my other race times and current training speeds. I set the target of between 6min30 and 6min45 per mile which would bring me just under 1hr30 and would allow me to enjoy the race. In all honesty I had no idea if I could run at that speed for that length of time, but I had to have goal.
As I started the race I kept in mind that I shouldn’t push too hard too quick (like I usually do!). I tried to relax and forget about everyone else around me, concentrating only on keeping my pace comfortable and my breathing easy (ish!!!). At the end of the 1st mile my Garmin beeped 6mins24secs and I was really pleased that I felt so good at that pace and had not started too quick. I reminded myself that 6mins30 was my goal but also decided that if I continued feeling good at that pace that I would adjust my goal to become 6min25 per mile.
My plan worked, as the miles went on I consistently saw between 6mins24 and 6mins29 on my watch which gave me confidence as I was feeling strong and my breathing even and easy. I stayed with a group of male runners for a long time, we all moved around to take the lead and it helped me to keep focussed on the run while maintaining a good pace.
Throughout the race people lined the streets and cheered. Despite the rain, spectators shouted ‘Go Nene Valley’ to me as I ran by in my Club vest. Nene Valley Harriers is my running club, based in Peterborough. The cheering boosted my confidence and temporarily gave me something to think about.
At 10 miles I decided to crack open a gel. Gels are not my favourite thing BUT they are very handy for topping up energy levels on longer runs and the gel definitely helped me through the last 3 miles.
When I reached 12 miles I was overtaken by a lady and decided to stay calm and try and beat her (I had kept calm the whole race and now was the time to hold my position and compete). As we turned the final corner I saw the finish line and decided a sprint was in order. I overtook the lady and also managed to outsprint another female runner using full Forrest Gump arms for full effect!!
Once over the line I did what I always do, I looked at the time and then proceeded to burst into tears. I can’t help it, I always seem to cry if I feel I have done well, which I find embarrassing but unavoidable, perhaps I just build it into my training plan. It seems that I hold my emotions in so well during the race and keep so strong that I have to let the emotions out at the end.
My learning points from the race:-
- I can maintain a good pace for many miles whilst feeling good.
- I can run faster than I think.
- Gels may actually help me (what a revelation to a non-gel-liker).
- My breathing changes after drinking water but it will adjust back to normal.
- I like the Half Marathon distance.
This weeks post race training
Monday – Easy 4.5mile lunchtime run to ease the legs
Tuesday – 20mile easy cycle to and from Athletics Track and 8x400m sprints (this was a killer)
Wednesday – Easy 4.5mile run at 7min30 pace and weight training
Thursday – rest rest rest rest yippeee rest
Saturday – Long, easy 12mile run and core strength
Sunday – 30 mile cycle