Today was the East London Half Marathon. I was feeling fairly confident beforehand, knowing I was already capable of running the distance, having run 13.2 miles about four weeks ago but had only just recovered from a second chest infection in as many months so some doubts were there. My last training run on the Monday went well although I only ran 10 miles at under the 09:09 min/mile threshold which would get me a sub 2hr Half Marathon time.
The alarm was set early. Plan was to get the 486 bus to North Greenwich and then jump on the tube. All went to plan until I got to North Greenwich. Due to overrunning engineering works, the first tube Eastbound to Stratford wasnt until 8am. Bag check in closed at 8.20am so had no alternative but to get a cab. Thankfully got there just in time.
The organisation was a shambles. Queued up for 45 mins to dump my bag then queued up for another 30 mins for a quick comfort break in one of the portaloos which there was nowhere near enough of which left about 2 mins to stretch and warm up before we were off.
I started quicker than I'd really wanted but felt comfortable but then within the first 2 miles, I felt both quads cramp up and I literally ran the rest of the race in a lot of discomfort. I knew I'd be able to make it round but the one thing I couldnt do was stop. If I'd stopped, I would not have got going again.
Pace-wise, I never intended to go out as quick as I'd gone out. According to the Garmin data loaded into Strava, I ran the first loop of 7 miles in 1:01:16, which was 08:45 min/mile pace which was a lot faster than the 09:09 pace needed for sub 2hrs which was my target. On I plodded. There was a distinct lack of distance markers around the course (well I didnt actually see any if there was). By the second lap, the temperature had risen sharply. East London was bathed in a mini-heatwave. The Garmin data recorded a temperature of 57f which of course isnt too warm by any stretch of the imagination but bearing in mind we'd been more used to training in temperatures a lot lower, it caught a lot of people out and runners were dropping out like flies in the last 3-4 miles, quite a few needing oxygen from the medics which was worrying.
Anyhow, crossed the line in 01:56:39 as per the Garmin but the official chip time was 01:56:29 which equated to 08:52 min/mile pace which I was absolutely delighted with. With the right preparation on race day next time, I know I'll be able to go quicker.
Something I do need to work on is my post-race strategy. By the time I'd got home, I was really hungry. My body doesnt allow me to run within an hour of eating otherwise I experience severe stomach trauma. Once I'd eaten some pasta, I was experiencing stomach trauma again for 2-3 hours that afternoon but felt a whole lot better afterwards. I guess more experience of these events and what to do afterwards will help greatly.