Monday, 12 March 2012

Bath Half 2012

I didn't sign up to the Bath Half; a flat (ish), mass participation road running event isn't the kind of thing that usually gets me excited. Sarah Brown however, decided last week that she wasn't going to partake, so her place was going begging. I told myself it would be a "training run" and that I wouldn't really race it. I kept telling myself that right up until the moment we crossed the start line.

For those first few miles I was running with Jennie; she doesn’t know it but she’s my running arch nemesis. We were having great fun ducking and weaving in and out of all the other runners, squeezing through little gaps and hopping over cones. A combination of adrenaline, fresh legs and trays of jelly babies less than a couple of miles in had us off to a very speedy start. When we hit the three mile marker we both looked at our watches. “We’re going pretty fast”, Jen said excitedly. “Yep, way too fast”, I responded. Then we just grinned and carried on.

At some point in the next mile we lost each other in the crowd and I dared not look around in case she was just behind me and took it as a sign of weakness. The pace remained quick, I was throwing in little sprints to overtake people and everything. A few swigs of luzocade from the aid station at 4.5 miles topped up the energy levels and I felt like I could run like this forever.

At the halfway point I still felt strong. Part of me knew I was going a bit too fast but I just wanted to see how long I could go for whilst still feeling brilliant. As it turns out, it wasn’t for much longer.

At the 8 mile marker and could feel fatigue setting in. I took a swipe at a tray of jelly babies but misjudged it terribly and came away with only one. I was on a downward spiral. I scoffed it down and waited a few seconds.. nothing. I knew if there wasn't instant joy had from a jelly baby, it was all going to go wrong.
I suffered for the next couple of miles. Slowing down would have been an easy option – especially as this was supposed to be a training run – but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. My legs were hurting and my heart felt like it was going into meltdown. I kept feeling like I was slowing down enormously but every time I glanced at the watch, my pace was around about the same. It was just gradually getting more painful.

At ten miles I tried to picture being at the start of a 5k. That’s all that was left to run. I knew I’d hit the lucozade again in half a mile. I tried to take smaller, faster steps to see if that made a difference but it just hurt. So I tried to take longer, slower strides and that hurt too. In the end I just alternated between the two.

The great thing about the last stretch is that the crowd had dispersed a lot and you’re not constantly tripping over the feet of other runners. Of course, by this time you are absolutely knackered and don’t care about overtaking people anymore. At least I didn’t until just after 11 miles, the sugar had obviously kicked in again and I had a dose of finish fever. I was having a bit of back and forth with a small, angry Chinese lady who was swearing at anybody that dared to get in her way. The sheer entertainment of her rage got me through the next mile.

The last straight seemed to go on forever though, it felt like the longest mile of my life. I kept thinking that it must end soon and trying to run in faster and it just dragged and dragged. I heard a massive yell of support from the sidelines and saw Chris Newton cheering me on. That was the little boost I needed and I ran down the finishing straight as fast as I could.

I finished in 1:47.34, a time that I never previously considering to be even vaguely possible. I'm already signing up to another one..

1 comment:

  1. Well done Egg, sounds just like a good race should sound - great sense of satisfaction knowing you have pushed yourself really hard. Great time ... sub 1.45 next????

    Nicky xx