It's been six months since I ran a half marathon on the roads. After a summer spent doing longer distances on the trails I was in two minds whether to enter this one, but running shorter distances at a faster pace helps with endurance and strength on the long runs, plus lots of our friends were doing it. M was pacing Becky to a (hopefully) London marathon championship place- to qualify for this, ladies have to run a half in 1:30, men in 1:15. She's been working solidly at it all year after missing the qualifier at London last year by one minute.
It poured with rain and thundered and lighteninged during the night, effectively ending a run of late Summer warmth, and it was still raining when we arrived at the race. The sports hall HQ was muggy with lots of people milling about, but we found our RRR and OS Runners buddies and did a token warm up in the wind and rain.
Friend Vicki was RD (race director) and gave a race briefing that we couldn't hear over the noise of the rain and all the people, then we were off. I'd decided to treat the race as a training run, start off steady and see what I could do once I'd warmed up. Given that it takes me 6-10 miles to warm up I wasn't going to have long to work at a faster pace, but nevermind, it was all good training for the long stuff.
I spent the first half keeping to a steady pace, and then slowly started to make my way up the field in the second half. The route goes through the New Forest down to Exbury and then around the coastline where we had some lovely views of the Isle of Wight. It's undulating rather than hilly (about 100 metres elevation gain), and the last bit is on a rather boring main road.
One of the advantages of running longer distances is it gives you lots of confidence on the shorter runs, because you know you're more than capable of doing them, so, as we reached the ten mile point I knew I had lots of energy left and decided to pick up the pace and try and get a new PB for the distance. All I had to do was not slip below 8:20 mins per mile and I'd be there. There were a couple of cheeky hills in the last three miles so I had to pick up the pace a bit on the flatter sections to keep the spread of speed even, but it worked OK. All the hill training continues to pay off!
Coming off the main road into the sports centre field where the finish was located I could hear a roar as my RRR buddies all shouted my name, which made me run faster! I crossed the line with a new PB, really pleased at the way the run had gone. M came over to congratulate me and tell me that Becky had got her championship place for London, coming in five minutes faster than the cut-off time. Amazing stuff. We also learnt later that she, Liz and I had got the third place ladies team prize, so all in all, a good morning's work.
Next up is Clarendon marathon, which I'm running with one of the Hampshire Hares who is doing her first marathon there. Exciting stuff!
Hope all are well?