Early this morning, A and I woke up and got ready to race. Today was A’s first race ever, and he probably won’t admit it but he was full of nervous energy. After all the obligatory things (breakfast, coffee, bag-packing) we headed to the tube in our matching tops (not planned, and not exactly matching, but close enough!)
Pre-race was nothing amazing, I lost A for a while after I thought I was very close to the bathrooms and turned out I wasn’t, but it was pretty smooth sailing. The Ealing Half is notoriously well-run. They have a really clear, lovely race-village, things (like bag-check) are easy and quick. I have now experienced the Ealing Half as a volunteer (their first year, 2012) and now as a runner, and the accolades and good reviews are well-deserved.
The time pens are not pens, but a long row with pacing signs (and also pacers) which allow you to slot in where you see fit. I left A to jump into the pen at around the 1.45 pace, and walked to the back with our friend R, to slot in between 2:15 and 2:20. I knew that there was no way I was going to run a PB – the course is not particularly suited to a person who does no hills training (i.e. me!), and I am a bit heavy and not very fit at the moment. Also, I am running another half-marathon next week (Cardiff!) and I want to finish both, rather than ruin myself on either. So, with that all said – off we went. Very slowly as the crowd petered out.
R and I ran together until around the 8km mark, when we went through a park and I lost her. There was a runner just behind me that was wearing the same colour shirt and was about the same height as her and I thought it was R – until I turned around to say something to her and instead said ‘Oh! You’re not R!’.
I pretty much stuck to my plan, but I did walk a few times towards the end which I am very disappointed in. I just never really found a rhythm, and it was tough going all morning. Plus, I was hoping it would be a little bit cooler (although it wasn’t unseasonably hot, so I guess I cannot really complain too much). The highlight was seeing the Neon Toddler at around 18km. Tin Man had bought her out, and as soon as she saw me she was super excited! I gave her a big sweaty kiss and she pushed me away!
So, my race wasn’t great. A’s race was much better – he was aiming for 1:45 and ran around 1:41 (hint: he’s significantly faster than me!). So, things I learned today:
- I need to do some very serious hard training: hills, intervals, speed. Just running the same pace is obviously not working for me.
- I need to get much fitter. Just full stop. Stop nancying about, Neon!
- I need to loose weight. I’m not dissatisfied with my weight (any more than normal) but I think it would make things much easier.
- Ealing Half is a fantastic race, and I’m really pleased to have experienced it as a runner, and I definitely will be back.
But – there you go. I did it!