I’m writing this race report a little late, since I finished the race on Sunday morning, and it is now Tuesday evening. I’m developing a new blog rule though – as long as my legs are still hurting, it is not too late to write a race report. Once my legs feel ok, then it is too late and I can’t write a race report with any credibility.
This race report still has credibility. I’m still hobbling down stairs like an old-aged pensioner.
I started off with an over-developed sense of optimism, as can be evidenced by this Facebook status here:
I saw the shirts at the Xempo table and really thought that if I were going to go through the effort of running a Half Marathon, I may as well give it everything. I may as well try for a PB, because if I didn’t – what else was the point of running? The problem being though, that I hadn’t trained a great deal recently. I had essentially substituted my usual running/cycling plan with a diet of fried food and couch surfing. So by mile 3, I had come to the only viable conclusion that I could have – I had to give it away. I knew I was never going to give the PB a shake, because I was having difficulty keeping up with my ‘B’ pacer, the 1:50 Xempo pace group. My plan (in my head) was to stick easy with the 1:50 group, then jump with 2km to go. I didn’t make it through 3km in the 1:50 group. So I went with a plan ‘B’. Sub 2 hours. 2 hours is kinda the ‘default goal’ time that I have in my mind for half-marathon races. So off I went. Six miles in, the hip flexor that had given me so much grief during the Thames Meander Marathon started to give me some pain, so again I had to drop pace a little bit. It was more uncomfortable than painful, so I was able to run through it. It was at this stage though that I started to remember how hilly the Ealing course is relative to other parts of London. The Ealing course is, and this is not sour grapes, but it is simply every ‘hill’ in Ealing at least twice. The organisers have found the steepest ascents in Ealing (it’s not the Himalayas, but hey, they are still ascents) and put them in the course. At six miles I knew this to be the case. At nine miles I started to flag, and was in need of a gel. I had paced myself well, and was doing everything I needed to do in order to shuffle home in under 2 hours, but I just needed some sugar to get me over the line. Unfortunately I had chosen not to pack an emergency gel that morning (despite my Facebook status claiming it was ‘lost’) as I had erroneously thought the organisers would provide. This cost me down the line, as with about 1600m to go I had to drop to a walk because I simply felt I couldn’t go on. In the end I ran a 2:02, which at first I was slightly disappointed about. Then I considered that I hadn’t trained, had gained 3kg, and then went out and ran close to my old half-marathon goal time. Not bad all told.
It was also another good opportunity to practice running my own race. It is so incredibly tempting to chase other runners during races like the Ealing Half, and it takes more discipline than you would imagine to reel yourself in. Or maybe its just me. But it was another good opportunity to stick to a plan, which all told I did. So it was a good race, a good trot, and a lovely atmosphere on the streets of Ealing. I did get buffeted a bit by your typical inconsiderate runners who are in such a hurry that they run through you rather than around you – but that is par for course really.
On the same day I ran half a marathon in 2:02, Wilson Kipsang broke the world record in 2:03:23. For the marathon. Not that I’m comparing myself to Wilson Kipsang – but to me that is amazing. Just extraordinary.