Sunday, 12 December 2010

My mountainous half marathon

Today was my last race of 2010...the Bedford Harriers Half Marathon and I had an absolutely great time.    I had hopes of smashing my PB and having a sub-2hr run on this race, but very soon in, I realised that the course was incredibly (ok not quite mountainous) hilly, and there was no hope of achieving that...but still went out to try and get as good a time as I could.

It took me about 3 miles to settle into my stride, which is longer than usual, which I'll put down to not having run much in the last couple of weeks due to the snow, but once I got into it, I felt really comfortable as the miles passed...and also discovered that I'm actually better than many (of the people that run at my kind of pace) at hills.  There are a lot of pretty hefty gradients on my training routes and so I'm definitely used to them, but as I always train on my own, I've not really been able to compare my speed up and down them with other people.  Fantastically though, I actually found myself overtaking a fair number of other runners up and down the hills, and although I know it's all about running your own race...I did enjoy that. However, it's the exhilaration of the downhills which made the race so fun - my average pace over the 13 miles was 09:29/mile...during down some of the downhills I was going 2 minutes faster than that!  It was awesome & I absolutely loved it!!!

I'm still working on changing how I run, and only very occasionally did I find myself heel-striking - the majority of the race I was striking mid-foot and I really feel it makes a difference to my pace and how comfortable I am as I run. It's only a matter of time before I buy my first barefood-esque shoes! However, I do think that change in my strike is to blame for the burning pain that I had in my calves during the last half a mile - it was excruciating, and I really don't know how I managed to keep going...but I did, and pretty much as soon as I'd stopped running, it went that's all right ;) I know I should build up slowly to the transition, but this is the first time I've really had problems from the change, so think I'm probably getting on alright.

Well, a great race, which was also incredibly well organised by the Bedford Harriers, and a great way to round of the racing season.  I still managed a PB too...I finished in 2hrs 4mins

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