Last Sunday I joined over 1,800 runners at the Brentwood Half Marathon. This popular event, organised by the Rotary Club of Brentwood à Becket, is now in its 29th year and has raised well over £870,000 for Local, National and International Charities, plus much more through runners' own sponsorship for their own causes.
I originally aimed for a sub 1:45 today - a 15 minute PB, as the training tempo runs over 8-10 miles were showing that I could comfortably hold a 7:45-8:00 minute mile pace. However I would be happy with a sub 1:50 if things didn't turn out as expected. Just before I found a position in the middle of the crowd I realised my Polar Footpod was dead. Suddenly I was filled with doubt about how to measure my pace. I took the pod off and zipped it into my shorts pocket and instead I would have to feel how fast I was going. Note for next time "always check battery before race".
The gun went off, and the runners started to fill the streets. As we hit the 3 mile mark where the first water stations are I grabbed a bottle of water and I looked down at my clock time and it read 23 minutes. Right on schedule with a 7:40 minute mile pace. The sun then decided to come out and I knew that things were about to get tougher but I would hold this pace for as long as I could.
I hit mile 6 in 47:45, right on track but started to feel the sun bearing down on my all black running gear and with the hills ahead I knew that I was going to suffer if I tried to hold this pace. The support from the local communities at this race is always amazing, cheering on all the runners that pass through. I hit the 8 mile mark in 1:05:21 showing that my pace had dropped to around 8:10 minute miles.
The next 3 miles seemed to drag and I knew that I was tiring as the hills had taken their toll on the legs and as I hit the 11 mile mark in 1:31:27 I knew that I wasn't going to hit the 1:45 but I still could make sub 1:50. However at the 11 mile water station a marshall told me to take off my earphones stating it was against the rules. I was not happy about this but grudgingly agreed (to be discussed in a future post).
I powered up the last remaining hills towards the finish line with every fibre buring in the quads I kicked to the finish with a gun time of 1:51:20. I checked the official results later on and was very pleased to see that I had clocked 1:49:34.
All the family was at the finish line to meet me and and it was a great feeling to have bagged a new PB. It will be short lived I hope as there is another opportunity in 3 weeks time if I choose run the Paddock Wood Half marathon. Then I will be totally focused on the Ultras coming up over the Summer. Sometimes it's good fun just to go fast!