2009 Reading Half Marathon

Half marathon was today and it went very well.

Me, my fiance, my son and my daughter set out at 8:30am for Madejski Stadium and the 10:05 start of the Reading Half Marathon.Me and my fiance before the start

We arrived to a great atmosphere and joined the thousands of other runners and spectators there for the event.  However, I was a bit nervous (always am in situations like that) and I was getting annoyed by other runners.  They were all so rude.  Standing in the way, walking in front of us, banging people with their backpacks… I was getting run-rage…

After collecting some free Lucozade and waiting 20 mins for the toilet we set off towards the start area which was a 10 min walk from where the stadium was in Green Park.

The finish in the stadiumI walked to my start area (green) and tried to find the 2 hour pace runner.  My plan was to stick to him like glue the whole way round and then when we neared the finish I would run ahead and finish in less than 2 hours.  Simple plan really.

Unfortunately things didn’t go that way.  I was hindered by slower runners!  I know.  Me.  Hinder by slower runners!  What the hell is up with that?  There were loads of runners that completely ignored the colour coded starting pen areas and started in areas where they shouldn’t have been.  I tried to keep the pace runner ahead of me so I could keep near to him, however he kept getting further ahead because loads of overzealous runners were zipping in and out and increasing the gap between me and the pace runner.  I know some of them were overzealous because I passed many of them after about the 6 mile mark.Me coming in to the stadium (can you see me?)

I was also hindered by some little woman who kept elbowing me and then running in front of me.  Damn her.

Eventually I thought “screw this, I’m going to run ahead of the pace runner and stay in front of him”.  This was actually a good idea because when we got to all the downhill sections I left the pace runner in the distance and never saw him again.  That was around mile 5 on Kendrick Road.  Most people seemed to slow right down on the hills where I increased my stride and let gravity take me down.  It was much faster and is relaxing enough to allow you to catch your breath.

The hardest part again was the last 3.1 miles where you can see the stadium in the distance but it doesn’t seem to be getting any closer.  It is such a mental struggle down that road for me.  My mind is hinting that I should perhaps walk for a second and I have to stop it and repeat over and over to myself in my head “this is nothing, this is nothing, this is nothing” and I just kept on pushing.

Once I got to mile 12 I knew I would achieve my sub 2 hour goal.

My time, according to my watch, was 01:58:26 but I’ll have to wait for the official chip time to be published.  That means I ran the race at an average pace of 05:37 min/km (09:02 min/mile) which is fantastic compared to last year’s time of 02:06:15 at a pace of 05:59 min/km (09:38 min/mile).

I shaved more than 30 seconds off my average mile!  I am really happy with that.

For those of you who read this on facebook, I’ve already uploaded what photos I have.  For those of you who read this on my blog properly the photos can be found here:-

http://thevirtualrunner.org/site/photo-gallery

,

5 Responses to “2009 Reading Half Marathon”

  1. Beth 29/03/2009 at 20:18 #

    Congratulations! You figured out you needed to change your stategy and it worked perfectly. Nice PR!

  2. The Virtual Runner 29/03/2009 at 22:30 #

    Beth :

    Congratulations! You figured out you needed to change your stategy and it worked perfectly. Nice PR!

    Thanks Beth. I’m really happy my training paid off. I’m also glad I didn’t stick with the pace runner! lol

  3. The Red Bucket 30/03/2009 at 09:21 #

    Congratulations and great blog post. I was there too, but the two hour time still eludes me.

  4. Tom 30/03/2009 at 16:27 #

    Nice work… I don’t have a lot of hills to train on where I run but I’m amazed how many people get blown away by the hills- both up an down… it’s so simple to increase your stride and like you said let gravity do most of the work on the way down- you can shave seconds off your time and you get a nice rest too! Awesome job! feels good to be under 2 hours!

  5. The Virtual Runner 30/03/2009 at 19:34 #

    Tom :

    Nice work… I don’t have a lot of hills to train on where I run but I’m amazed how many people get blown away by the hills- both up an down… it’s so simple to increase your stride and like you said let gravity do most of the work on the way down- you can shave seconds off your time and you get a nice rest too! Awesome job! feels good to be under 2 hours!

    Thanks Tom. I’m certainly not an expert runner but the whole downhill stride thing just seemed like the right thing to do, and it felt great too.