When I entered this race in January I was looking at 4 month gap between marathons in Cyprus and Dundee so I decided a few half marathons in-between might be a good idea. But two weeks ago my marathon plans changed and I entered Düsseldorf which is 4 weeks after this race…then another 4 weeks later…then another 5 weeks after that. So this race changed from a bit of a fun run to one that would show me if I had any chance of recovering sufficiently to tackle the ones after Düsseldorf.
Until last November half marathons had been my staple distance, and I was comfortable with it. But at the end of everyone I could not imagine carrying on and repeating the same distance. Now after 3 marathons in 4 months how would I feel at the end of this race? None of my previous half marathons had been particularly quick, and my target time for the 12 months to my birthday in mid-April was one I hadn’t achieved. So I decided to see how close I could get to it.
It took me much longer to get to Paddock Wood than my sat nav suggested, maybe the traffic over the last mile was to be expected, but not the diversion because of a closed road. By the time I had parked further away than planned, finished getting race gear on and made my way to the start I had 20 minutes to spare. That would have been plenty if the toilet queue had not been so long. I ended up joining the back of the pack 3 minutes after the race had started, so the first couple of k were spent weaving my way around more than half of the field.
I thought that one thing my running of the last year had taught me was sensible pacing; however I didn’t get it right this time. As usual I didn’t check details until I got home, but I knew well before the end of the race I had set off too fast. If I had maintained the pace of the first half of the race for the second 10.6k I would have beaten my target time by 5 minutes. Suffice to say that didn’t happen so I can use the same target next year!
My body and brain had expectations, they knew how far I was planning to run and wouldn’t have been willing to let me go further so it was a good job I hadn’t just finished the first loop of a full marathon I certainly wouldn’t have been up the the challenge of going around again!
As this was the 25th running of the race they produced a special medal, which did make the run well worthwhile.