I booked this race about 2 weeks ago. I only heard about it as my cousins were running it, and I thought it would be nice to join in with them. I left it till last-minute to book as it was the start of half term, and we hadn’t made up our minds if we were going away or not. I booked it and then didn’t really think about it.
At training last week, someone had said to me, you have enough time to race it and still recover for Brighton Half the following weekend. So then I started think about seeing how close I could get to my PB. I have been training, and working fairly hard, maybe I could surprise myself.
Well, I did get a surprise, but not of the nice variety. I obviously think I have been training hard, but yesterday showed me, that maybe that isn’t the case. For the first time yesterday, I thought about whether running was really for me anymore!
Date: Sunday 17th February 2019
Weather: Bright sunshine, not too cold.
Course: It was two laps, as there was a 5K happening at the same time. It is sold as a flat course, but no race in Milton Keynes is ever flat. You start at Willen Lake, and immediately head up hill, then there are bridges over the canal, and bridges over the road. All not that bad, but enough to make you notice and make you work hard. It was mainly on paths, but there was part on what I can only describe as wood chipping(it was very soft under foot). It was pretty running along the canal, through the open spaces at Willen Lake, and along the lake side. There was water just after the 5K finish and the marshalls were very encouraging.
My race: As I have said above, I decided to go for it. I didn’t really make this decision properly until about 100m in to the race. I started nearer the back, as I never have enough confidence that I can start further up the field. What if I latch on to a fast runner, and then have to stop and walk at 1k!
The start was very congested, so starting towards the back, meant that I had to run on the grass at the side to get past people. It was really quite difficult to find a pace, due to the congestion. I knew I was working fairly hard, but then I always find the first 3 miles of a race hard.
I kept trying to relax and concentrate on my running technique. My watch beeped the first mile in 9:31, and I thought, that’s ok. So I carried on pushing, weaving in and out of people. When the second mile flashed up as 8:41, I panicked, but tried to blame the downhill section. I tried to slow myself down, remembering I was doing the 10K, not the 5!
Mile 3 was 9:04, but coming past the finish and setting off for lap 2, I just wanted to give up. When I got to the water station, I took water and stopped to walk and drink. I don’t know if I stopped because the water was in cups, or stopped as I needed to give myself a talking too!
I set off and headed up the hill, but I just kept thinking about giving up. I felt like I was shuffling along. There was another hill, that I walked up, I just mentally wasn’t tough enough to battle up it. I was getting more and more frustrated with myself, and wondering why I do it. Mile 4 was 9:35. I managed to settle a little, and just kept thinking, when my watch beeps again, it will only be a mile left. Lap 5 was a 9:06 mile, and from here I really wanted to push on. I felt like I was working hard, but the last mile was a 9:10. I finished in 57:45, which is a good time, but I hated how hard it was.
I was disappointed, as I thought I had been working hard in training, but maybe it was the wake up that I needed. I have Brighton Half Marathon next weekend, and now I know I need to be realistic and pace well, otherwise I could be walking quite a lot.
Looking at the race photos also depressed me, will I ever look like a runner?!!
Lesson learned: I need to have a good look at my training, and decide what I want from running. If I want to get faster and run better, I need to work harder and smarter! Not just in the running part either. If I fuelled properly and lost weight, I’m sure running would be a little bit easier. If I want to plod along and enjoy it, then what I am doing is fine, but I can’t expect miracles at races!
- Meeting family members at the start and end, and sharing the race with them.
- Local-ish race, so not taking up the entire day.
- Lovely area and surroundings.
- The wake up call that I needed – stops me crashing and burning at Brighton Half!
- It’s not flat.
- Two laps are a killer, when you have not paced the first lap well.
- There is no short cut, if you don’t put in the hard work, running will let you know!
I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I have three half marathons in 4 weeks, so be prepared for more ramblings soon!