Today was the day of what I believe was my first road half-marathon. I was taking it fairly seriously having picked a (hopefully) fast course at Gosport and had been following a Runner’s World training plan for the past couple of months. The final few hours of preparation weren’t ideal though: Emma had been up in the night and was then sick in car on the way to the event (as she was for my last half marathon!). My warm-up consisted of standing in the queue for the toilets, buying some gels to replace those I’d left at home, and then standing in the baggage queue before fighting my way to somewhere near the front at the start.
Going in to the race, my best guess was for a time somewhere in the range 80-85 minutes. I decided to hedge my bets and start out a pace for the first few miles that would bring me back in 82 minutes and take it from there. That pace felt pretty comfortable and it wasn’t long before I was dreaming about beating my PB of 79:06 from the Forest of Dean Trails Half-Marathon some 8 years ago.
Although I put in some good miles, I was struggling to push hard enough to maintain that pace and in the last couple of miles I was finding it pretty tough. My attempt to cross the line ahead of what turned out to be the third placed woman (!) had me bringing back up the last of the gels before picking up my medal.
All in all, I can’t not be pleased though. My chip time was 79:34 which was absolutely at the right end of my range of predicted times (indeed, much of my speed work had been done assuming a time much closer to 85). I’m currently showing as 49th which would also be great but there are a few people I know were there missing from the results. The main detraction from the day? It took us nearly an hour to crawl through the traffic just to get back to the far end of the course!