Ran the Wokingham Half Marathon today which was a target race to see where my pace might be for the VLM in April....
The coach of our small run club sent me out on a 8 mile time trial a couple of weeks ago and I managed to keep to 6:08 pace for most of the run so I was aiming for something around 1:20-1:23. The plan was to go by feel and try to keep pushing when things got tough, I was hoping I would feel strong until at least half way and then see if I could hang on to the pace over the last few miles.
I hadn't run it before but I'd heard it was a fairly flat course, there are a couple of motorway bridges that you cross 4 times (out and back) though. Once I got going I did find it a bit more undulating than expected but the motorway bridges were ok in the end, apart from the last one at about 10-11 miles... My aim was to go out at around 6 min miles and see how I feel, if I blew up then so be it, I was trying to see how I could maintain something in the region of 85%+ effort/MHR.
I tried to start fairly near the front, Liz Yelling was there on the front row as were a few top class runners. I tucked in about 15-20yds back and asked a chap what time he was expecting, when he said "oh, about 1:14ish" I decided to move back a bit further
most of the first mile or so was slightly downhill and since the course doubles back on itself and comes back the same way I thought "this will be fun at the end!". Still, I tucked in behind a few quick guys and got into my stride. Up and over said motorway bridges without too much trouble and I'd settled into a fairly strong 80-85% effort. Mile 3, 4 and 5 went without too much trouble and the field spread out a bit. For some reason mile 6 took a bit of effort to get through, dont know why as it was pretty flat....perhaps its just that my concentration dropped a little. Digging deep now as I go through the 9 and 10 mile markers, never before had I run this fast for so long.... I did the Great South in 64:30 in the autumn so this pace was tough now!!! The course has now looped back on itself and the motorway bridges are on their way. Someone was being tended to by the emergency services by the side of the road, really hope they were ok..... mile 11....now things are hurting! trying to keep the legs ticking over, trying to keep the stride strong and push up the hill over the motorway....that one hurt! stride out downhill now though and make up a bit of time. mile 11 was 6:24 but I was hoping I'd banked a few seconds earlier on.... Mile 12 came around and suddenly I felt a second wind coming on (about bloody time!), I could soon see the park where the finish is so I try to push as hard as possible and drive for the finish line........ I turn the corner at the 13 mile marker and pretty much put all ive got into the finishing section, turn to the clock and see 1:19:30 something and with a grin on my face I cross the line.
Stopped my watch at 1:19:28 which was also my official chip time.
Amazed and chuffed
Big thanks to the run club coach who has brought my Half Marathon time from 1:29:06 to 1:19:28 in less than 12 months
Heres the stats: http://connect.garmin.com/splits/150764707