Stanwick Lake Half and more…

Last weekend, I had my long run to complete. As I’ve said a few times before, running on my own, with limited route knowledge, is not helping my motivation! So when I saw a local race advertised, I signed up immediately. It had a 5k, 10k and half marathon option, I obviously chose the half.

I had been concentrating so much in surviving until the Easter holidays, I hadn’t really thought too much more about the race. I knew that I wanted to cover around 18 miles on that day, so frantically searched routes, race start time, route map etc on the Friday night!! It was also whilst prepping my race kit, that I realised I didn’t have a race number! More research needed!!

 The race started at 10.30, but the website suggested everyone got there at 9.45 to collect numbers and timing chip. So off I set at 8.45 to get in 5 miles on the way to the start. It was windy and cold, but I followed a now familiar route down to Stanwick Lake.

Collecting the number was simple, and I headed into the cafe area to put my number on and keep warm. Attaching my number was not so easy, one of our #TeamMND had organised new event clips with the MNDA logo on them, so I was using those. At this point I was 1) glad that I had plenty of time  until the start and 2) wished that the numbers had been sent out in the post!  

 

 I spoke to a few other runners at the start. This is where I realised this was like no other race I had run. There were only about 60 people running this event. I could well be last!! Then I heard a few people say it was their first half marathon. One man joked, that he hoped that he would be finished before it got dark. The starter then yelled, the whistle went and we were off! The man who was hoping for a finish before dark was gone. I checked my watch, 10.09 minute miling and most people were out of sight! It was a 2 lap course, with a section of out and back. Some people hate out and backs, I love them. It means I get to see all the ‘speedys’.  

I DID try to keep my pace consistently slow and steady. But I have to admit I am RUBBISH at pacing. I thought that I should stay around the 10.45 minute miling and if I felt good, add some marathon pace miles! It all went very wrong. The only time I hit 10.40 mm was when I was getting slower as I was struggling, and it pretty much went down hill from there. Not actually down hill – if it had, I probably would have found the end easier. I actually wanted to walk the last 2 miles, I did attempt to walk, but luckily another runner told me to keep going – Thank you to that lady. 

 My one attempt at marathon pace was highly amusing and probably why I struggled at the end. I decided to not to look at my watch, and run at what I thought was MP. I was finding it tough, but didn’t look at my watch until it buzzed. 9.59 mm. THAT IS NOT MY MARATHON PACE. Probably only just my 10K pace!!! How can I still be getting it so wrong! Does anyone else still struggle with pacing? I can’t run on feel – I always feel good at the start, so go too fast, which means I feel awful at the end!!!! 

 I finished off completing 18.28 miles in 3:14:18. I was glad to have bagged the miles, but I was VERY glad it was over. 

 Would I enter Stanwick Lakes half again: Not sure/probably… 

 
Pros

  • Location to home.
  • Cheap to enter.
  • Quiet, simple and stress free start.
  • Relatively no queue  for toilets.
  • Indoor area to wait at start of race, which was lucky as it was windy and wet.

Cons

  • No crowd support.
  • Laps.
  • Timed chip, had to be fastened around leg – gave me a burn mark where it rubbed!
  • Small entry numbers – I like to watch other runners.
  • Wait between number allocation and start of race.

By the way, I didn’t see the ‘want to finish before dark’ man again. He obviously wasn’t so good on pacing too, as he was much faster than he had indicated. 

 Tomorrow I am attempting my final long run of 20 miles, with my cousin Katie (She blogs over at running with Ghost) I am hoping to complete it feeling relatively good, and with some sensible pacing. How do you learn to pace? Please share your wise words to help me! Comment below with your wise words .

Happy running!

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