Saturday, 23 March 2013

Race Notes: Reading Half Marathon

Finishers medal from Reading Half Marathon

After the cold snap last week, I was regularly checking the weather forecast going into Sunday's race. I was pleased to see the forecast picking up for race day. The snow that started falling as dad drove me to the train station definitely wasn't in the plan!

Thankfully it wasn't snowing in Reading, but it was cold and wet before the start. Luckily the rain stopped as I dropped off my bag and started to make my way to the start. As I approached the start I saw Paul from the club so hopped through the barriers to join him on the start line. While we were on the line Dave and Simon joined us as well. I wasn't expecting to see anyone else I knew in the crowd of 12,000, but we'd all come together at the start!

We just seconds to go before the starting gun I decided to take off one shoe and adjust my sock. Something that would haunt me in the first couple of miles as I thought my laces were coming undone. Luckily it was just me fearing the worst and my laces stayed tied during the race.

 Warming up after the race

As per my plan I went out pretty quick, close to my pace from the Ashford and District 10k. I was expecting the course to be pretty flat, but there were a few hills in the first couple of miles - and throughout the course - which made it difficult to get into a rhythm.

I don't remember much from the race, I just kept pushing and driving the whole way along. I spent most of my time sitting 5 - 10 meters behind a group in front of me. Not quite able to catch them up, but not being dropped either.

Running close to maximum effort the whole time, I found it surprisingly hard to drink from the water bottles that I picked up. You can risk not drinking too much during a half, but during the marathon you need to regular take on fluids. It's got me a little bit concerned on how I'll get on when I tackle my next marathon in October.

Having problems drinking I didn't really fancy taking the energy gel I was carrying. However, with one eye on the marathon I decided that I needed to try eating a gel running at speed. It was tougher then normal to get down and again something I need to practise consuming at speed.

I was pleased how I managed to keep up my average speed during the race. The last 4km were a struggle with my pace starting to drop off, and the group in front managed to stretch away slightly. With about 500m to go a lady came cruising past me and pulled away with ease. She looked so fresh I couldn't work out why she wasn't already in front of me! I managed to keep everyone else behind me as I came into the stadium for the finish.

I finished in 1hr 18m 6sec and was 125th out of 12,800 finishers. I'm amazed at my position, but I would have loved my time to dip into the 1hr 17mins.

My split times are below:
5K       18m 40sec
10K     36m 30sec (17min 50sec)
15k      55m 28sec (18min 58sec)

The official results are here.

The data from my watch is here.

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