Well I didn’t think I’d be writing this today. Yesterday and I suppose the weeks leading up to this race I hadn’t given running a PB any thought, in fact I didn’t expect it at all. I did hope to be under 1:40 as my PB was 1:30:32 when I ran the same race last year. My main reason for thinking this was my lack of run training. I’ve been focusing on triathlon the past few months and that only involved running a 5km. I’d kinda forgotten about this half marathon until finishing the sprint triathlon back at the start of the month.
So this morning came, I said to myself, just enjoy this and run at a steady pace that you can maintain. This was all well and good for the first 3 miles which are mainly all downhill. Running along the prom, just after mile 5 I got the beginnings of a stitch, in the usual place, just at the bottom of my right rib. So again, I thought better not push myself and just enjoy this steady pace.
I don’t wear a GPS watch but I do use runkeeper on my phone but this lives in my pocket so usually I have no idea what time I’m running and just go how I feel. This was doing me OK today. It was about 6 miles that I thought, ‘well I’ve been taking it easy, so lets try to do a negative split’. A negative split for those not conversant with this is where you run the second half of your run faster than the first half. So this gave me some extra power and motivation to keep going.
So about mile 9 you pass the finish on this course and you run away from the finish to a turn around point and then run back the way you came. I realised that I wasn’t seeing any elite runners or any other runners coming back the way which I deduced must be because I was quite far up the pack. I asked a lady at mile 10 as she was glancing at her beeping watch what time it was. She said 1:06! I quickly deduced (and I’m not good with min/mile as I work in kms) that it was 24 mins left so a 7 min mile steady would give me 1:30 but if I could do faster then I would be able to get a PB. This is when I put the foot down (or so it seemed). I pulled away from that nice lady and started passing loads of people that up until now I was happy just seeing the back of and following at their steady pace.
I raced up and got to the turn around point, all the time thinking about this 1:30 PB and how I could actually beat it! I kept going but the pain was increasing, stitch in my right rib, spiking pain in my left shoulder. I started to slow, I could feel it but kept on pushing but there was no more energy. That lady who gave me the time passed me and was about 30m in front so I was using her as a pace maker, and trying to catch up.
The long stretch along the race course came and all the time I was pushing harder and harder, ready to give up. No indication of time but I knew I was going at a good pace. The finish had been moved from the previous year to be in the park but this meant it was a sharp right angled left turn into it and not until then did I see the time. I turned the corner and there was the finish, 100yards in front! I was the only one on the final stretch and I started to sprint. Arms at right angles, hands flat, pumping out for each stride- for a moment I felt like Ussain Bolt on the 100m. I heard the tannoy man say my name and I crossed over the line. 1:26:58 was the official time!
I can’t believe i got a PB, knocking 3min 30secs off my previous and all this without proper run training!