How not to run a half marathon

So so so…who’s wondering whether I did coach Rory Coleman‘s predicted time of 1:39:59 at the Great Eastern Run half marathon yday?

Me celebrating the lovely day before GER, last year's was peeing it down with rain!
Me celebrating the lovely day before GER, last year’s was peeing it down with rain!

Well I won’t keep you guessing, I ran 1:44:10 and although that was a pb by nearly 4 mins, I was disappointed because I physically couldn’t run as fast as Rory thinks I can right now. I was sticking well to 7:40 min mile pace, then at 8 miles the lung-stopping pain that I’m currently seeing ace physio Ali Rose for started to kick in good and proper. If I don’t slow down at that point I am literally forced to by gasping like a fish out of water, so I had to slow to something between 8 – 8:30 min miling for the last 5 miles.

11 miles in, lovely boyfriend Steve cheers me on and I kind of manage a grimace/smile for him! In pain!
11 miles in, lovely boyfriend Steve cheers me on and I kind of manage a grimace/smile for him! In pain!

It was gutting as everyone from the club then ran past me. First Liz, then Viv, I tried to hang on to clockwork Nick for a bit, then had to slow down to breathe, then Katy, having a GREAT day, whizzed past me with her relaxed jog-style to get an amazing pb of 1:40:32! That will be me next year. Loads of the Striders got personal bests, it was absolutely fantastic, and the perfect day for running, blue skies, sunny but not to warm, and not a breath of wind. Lovely.

I was close to tears afterwards (once I got my breath back!) because I knew Rory thought I was capable of going faster. I had maintained all along that I didn’t think I could run that fast, but I was trying to be positive about it as he said. It wasn’t through lack of trying, I’m just not fast enough yet. I barely even saw the spectators and all I could manage was a quick wave and grimace at anyone who shouted my name!

However, some great words from Ed in our club did cheer me up (oh, and a Magnum Caramel!) he revealed that he hadn’t wanted to say before the race but he also didn’t think I was capable of a 1:39 just now at the speeds he’d seen me running at club. Which is totally true and I’m glad he said that because that’s what I thought too. He said to be proud of myself for a brilliant pb and come back for more next year.

Loads of others from Stamford Striders got great pbs, including Hilary here my good buddy, here we are before the race
Loads of others from Stamford Striders got great pbs, including Hilary here my good buddy, here we are before the race

It made me sad that thinking that Rory very possibly doesn’t believe I gave it everything and should have run faster. And I’m also sad that his prediction makes me not as happy with the amazing fact that I knocked almost 4 mins off my time.

But I’m also a big girl now, with much more than road half marathon times on my mind, so this week I’m focussing on sending this issue of Trail Running off to press (it’s going to be awesome, night running special! On sale 6 Nov check it out), meeting Rory for a marathon run on the Avebury trails next Wed, and looking forward what I know will be a much more enjoyable race for my strengths, the 3-marathon days of The Druid Challenge early November.

Next year I’ll train up for 1:39:59!

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