MK Run Half Marathon

Over the last few weeks I've done some good tempo runs so knew that my half marathon PB of 1.14.37 set last October was almost certainly going to be broken.  I was thinking about 1.11.00 to 1.11.30 was possible but 3 days out from the race I caught a cold.  The cold was not a major one but it was enough to make me feel pretty lethargic, chesty and generally off form.  Whilst it was not bad enough for me to consider pulling out of the race, all bets were off in terms of my time.

The first few hundred metres were slightly downhill and quite early on there were four of us who formed an early group.  The pace felt testing but at the same time was not so fast that it was causing me too many concerns.  Every now and then there would be a small surge in the pace but it soon settled down.  One thing I noticed was that on the small downhills (mostly to underpasses) I would drop to the back of the group but then coming back out uphill I would close the gap with ease.  After about 2km we went through a heavily flooded underpass, so much so that the biker guiding us slipped and fell into a foot of water.  The rest of us just got very soggy feet!

At the start.

After about 5.5 miles it was much of the same; occasionally I would be in the lead but due to how I was feeling I never pushed the pace and was happy for others to do the work.  I usually just sat on the shoulder of whoever was leading.  Eventually one of other runners decided enough was enough and made what seemed to be a decisive move.  I was starting to puff a bit and perhaps if I was feeling a bit better I would have gone with him, but in the end I just ran at my own pace.

As we continued I was now in a clear second, moving slowly ahead of the other two runners but the gap to the leader was growing as well.  The gap increased to about 12 seconds by mile 9, whilst those behind me were by now quite a bit further back.  In terms of pace I was averaging about 71 min HM, but I was beginning to struggle quite a bit.  That said, I noticed that I was starting to slowly reel in the leader, as we came out of each underpass I would catch a few metres back up, not much but it soon started to add up to the point that just after 11 miles I was right behind him.  Game on?

Our pace was starting to slow down considerably, partly down to tiredness but also the wind was very strongly against us and in the final last couple of km was a 40 metre climb.  I went into the lead for the first time in the headwind but didn't really pull out a gap and a couple of hundred metres later I was back in second.  The leader started to pull out ahead of me again and I thought that as long as I was in contention with the main climb just before the finish I would have a chance.  As it was I just didn't have the legs today, clearly the cold meant that my tank was empty and I strolled over the line in 1.12.41 for second place; 14 seconds behind the winner.

Coming into the finish.

I'm not too sure how I feel about the time, it was a new PB by 2 minutes but it is the kind of pace that I was achieving in my tempo runs whilst training.  In counterbalance I cant be too self critical when I have a cold, got drenched feet after a couple of km and then a significant headwind in the last few km and a 40 metre climb to boot.  Clearly more to come but a step in the right direction.

Mile Splits

My mile splits suggest I hit a wall during mile 11 - 13 but I don't think it really reflects the reality.  I was starting to feel pretty awful but still catching the leader.  The poor splits were more a reflection of the significant headwind (possibly 20mph) and a 40 metre hill (plus other smaller twists and turns).

I won a prize - a chinese make of sports watch which I later found out retails for £7.99 which is a bit bizarre.  Great to offer a prize (honestly not being ungrateful) but at the same time it was probably best to offer either something better or nothing at all!

I entered the MK Run in preparation of a marathon that I've got in a month.  The idea was that it would give me an idea of the sort of pace I'm looking at for that race, but as it turns out I'm not sure I'm any further forward on that front.  I've got a couple of weeks to get over the cold, do some training and then its a case of start the taper.  It would be nice to think a 2.30 marathon is possible, but today's time suggests it isn't on.  The question is how much faster would I have been if I was fully fit?  I'll find out 4 weeks today!


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