I bloody well did it.
I ran a half marathon…!
If you read my previous training post, you’d know that the tapering was getting to my head and wigging me out a little bit. To say I was nervous for this race was an understatement.
The night before I barely got any sleep; I woke up an hour before my alarm. My parents and brother were driving me to hackney so it was early starts for all. Race kit on, and pre-race fuel (1/2 a bagel with homemade vanilla coconut almond butter + banana slices) and we were on the road.
It took about 25 minutes for me to actually get over the start line – I purposefully started around the sub 2:30 mark as I wanted to start slow and pace myself. It was so hot so I knew I needed to get my pacing right in order not to burnout too quickly.
The first four miles were a breeze. The only hiccup was getting to mile 3 and learning that there was no water at the water pit..!!! I wasn’t too alarmed, as I felt fine, but I soon realised that I wasn’t going to be getting any liquid until around mile 6. Not okay. Around 3.5 miles I saw an unopened water pouch on the sidewalk so I grabbed it – and thank goodness I did. It was hot hot hot, my lips were dry and I was parched. I sipped slow and often on that pouch and made it last until around mile 8.
I have to say I think I prefer trail running. It was exciting running in my home borough, but IMO there weren’t that many people out so the atmosphere wasn’t too buzzing. I was feeling good, and strong, and had picked up the pace quite a bit. At mile 8 I ate my fuel (jelly babies). This made my mouth incredibly dry and I was so thirsty – so thank you to the kind man who was handing out cups of water around mile 8.5! I’d noticed a few runners been taken ill – which was really worrying to see. The heat can really make you sick when you’re running; in hindsight, I’m glad that I’d done a few torturous training runs in the heat!
I was beginning to tire around mile 9, but overall I was feeling pretty fab. Run Hackney was touted as a flat course, and I would agree – but there were quite a few sneaky inclines that I wasn’t expecting. Again, I was thankful that my training had included hill runs as my calves were used to getting me over them! The crowd had thinned out and so it was a bit quiet during these parts; there weren’t that many runners either. At around mile 11 (where my parents were waiting for me with more jelly babies) I really hit a wall. This was the beginning of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and it was my least favourite part of the course. The course was winding, and included a lot of coming back on yourselves, which is so disheartening when you see the mile markers but they don’t actually correspond to where you are – the trickery! There was no shade at all in the park, and quite a few inclines, so it was no wonder that there were quite a few runners being attended by paramedics. I stopped and walked about between miles 11-12 – I had to pee really badly and my calves were seizing up. I pushed through and picked up the pace – including a sprint finish (and a high-five from my friend at the Celena along the way). I finished the race at 2:16.
– The location. A half-marathon in East/central London is ace. Really great.
– The runners. Everyone was really supportive of each other and the camaraderie was great to be a part of
– The fact that it was my first half marathon 🙂
– The course was OK. Didn’t like the last 3 miles.
I wasn’t so much a fan of:
– Running out of water at the first water stop is a massive failure. If you’ve got 12K + runners, on a hot day. Get.Lots.Of.Water
– The mile markers were weirdly spaced and some were randomly missing. Not ideal for pacing or motivation
– I wish there had been more people out spectating. More advertising/awareness next year will improve that I can only imagine
– The long walks between the closest stations and the race village…a 25 min walk is NOT want you want after a race in heat like today!
I’m really glad I trained hard as I think it paid off in the end…I’m tired now, but I don’t feel completely destroyed. I’m not sure I want to do another half marathon, but I definitely want to do a tough mudder! One of Australia, I think.
Did you Run Hackney?