I never ended up posting training recaps for weeks 15 and 16. They both were fine, but I was so busy getting ready to move to Cardiff (that will be another post entirely) that it just had to be skipped.
In all honesty, I was really quite stressed about the half, as it meant I was losing a long weekend at home packing, sorting and cleaning. I seriously considered not going, but I’d already made all the arrangements. I flew down on Friday, so I had plenty of time to rest and get acclimated, if resting means getting 27k steps the day before a half.
I was up early on Sunday morning, and made my way as early as possible to Starbucks first thing. I had a flat white and muffin (a pre-run meal I know is ok for my stomach) and headed to Hyde Park via the Tube. I’d been a bit worried about finding my way (I went to Hyde Park on Saturday to get an idea of where I needed to be) but there were plenty of runners to chat to and follow to the park.
I stood in the queues for the portaloos twice (why are these queues always so long?) and made my way to the maroon corral. There was a lot of standing around, and we didn’t cross the start until 38 minutes after the first wave. By then I really needed a wee, but it was too late, and I focused on trying to keep a steady pace. I managed to do so for the first 8 miles or so.
The first half of the race you are treated to the lovely sights of London, including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben in the distance. This was great and I felt strong, although my quads were a bit achy. I took some pictures (most of them are on Instagram). It’s really hard to run and grab a photo!
When I finally hit the halfway point, I was thrilled and I took a picture!
The last half was a bit slower, and I definitely was feeling it in my legs, especially my knees. If anything, this race has really made it very apparent I need to get the remainder of the weight off, do prehab work, and reincorporate strength training if I want to be a better and faster runner.
I also found the last half a bit boring. You run through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but that’s an awful lot of trees to look at (and not many of them in full autumn splendour yet!). Somewhere, around mile 11 or so, something brushed past me (it was quite crowded on the course at that point, so I ignored it, but then realised I’d been passed by someone wearing a dinosaur costume.
I pushed on, and as soon as I saw that there was only 400 metres left, I gave it everything I had left.
I finished in 2:44:11, which is like an hour slower than every other race recap I’ve read. While it’s a 21 minute PR over last year’s half, and a full half hour faster than my first, this time is pretty shit for someone who has been running for over 10 years. I hadn’t yet shared my time with social media, because I feel a lot of shame over my time. I know I could have done better if I hadn’t spent the past year spinning my wheels over losing the remainder of the weight I have to lose, so it’s no one’s fault but my own. Hopefully, next year, I will have a better time to share. I’d be happy with between 2:15 and 2:30, as age certainly is going to begin to be a factor. 😂
I forgot to have someone take a picture for me at the finish (I was alone for this trip) so this selfie will have to suffice.
I stood in the queue for the goodies, which, IMHO, sucked. There was nothing I liked or wanted so, I made my way to the merchandise tent as I wanted a hoodie. From there, I got the Tube back to the hotel (after a bit of stressing over the Tube being temporarily shut).
I would definitely run this race again (mostly flat, no hill to start like in Glasgow) and the weather was perfect, as you can see from my sunburnt and salty face! Hopefully, my next half will have another massive PR!
Please don’t forget that I’m still raising money for Switchboard! You can donate here!