Sunday, September 30, 2012

Robin Hood Half Marathon 2012

I was very excited to run my hometown race for the first time. I grew up in Nottingham but didn't become a runner until some 10 years after I left the city. So I was coming home to run the streets that I once walked as a boy and young man.

I still have some good friends in Nottingham and arranged to meet up with Justin, Julia and Rich. Julia was also running in the race too.

The plan was that I would come into this race full of confidence after a summer of running in Vancouver. However, I suffered an injury plagued summer and only managed to get in 3 weeks of training before the race. 

I headed down to Nottingham with Zoe who was also running in the race.  We made a pit stop at Sheffield on the way down to see Notts County play at Sheffield United which ended in a 1-1 draw. A well earned point for the mighty magpies!

It was a bright and fresh Autumnal morning when 8,000 runners readied themselves at the start line, including a large number of Robin Hoods. I chose not to wear green tights but did sport a very fetching pair of white CEP compression socks, purchased some weeks earlier in my efforts to prevent further lower legs injuries.

I positioned myself behind the 1hr 30min pacer.  This was an optimistic tactical decision when considering my little training but I felt like I wanted to 'give it a go'.  Then we were off and I ran the first two miles at 6min 45sec/mile pace, this felt quite fast so I decided to slow a little my pace a little to 7min/mile pace. However, at mile four I knew that I wouldn't be able to maintain this pace either.  My legs just didn't have it in them.  So I slowed again and just dug in.

I would like to say that I decided to just enjoy the race from that point on and take in the hometown scenery and support.  However, I found myself in a mental battle to just carry on running. The brain can play horrid games on the runner and mine was telling me that if I wasn't going to run a good time, what's the point? Just walk for while, take it easy! A feeling that many runners will have experienced for sure. 

Was I going to listen to this voice and succumb to the temptation?  It was my mind and body against my brain. A battle that I was determined to win.  Man alive it was tough!

I crossed the finish line in 1hr 40mins and was very relieved. I didn't walk a step of the 13.1 miles but can say that it was one of the toughest mental battles that I have endured in a race.  My decision to 'give it a go' rather than just run steady from the start, given my lack of training, proved to be a big mistake. Another lesson learnt!

Both Zoe and Julia had great races.  Zoe ran 1hr 38mins, her first sub 1hr 40min half marathon for some time. Julia ran a PB time of 1hr 53mins, her first sub 2hr half marathon.  Well done indeed to the girls.

Now on to the Snowdonia Marathon in 4 weeks........

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