"Is anyone running their first half-marathon today?"
<Acton puts a sheepish hand up.>
Guffaws of friendly but somewhat derisive laughter: "What did you pick this one for? This is a tough race, it really is all up and down hills. Any experienced half-marathoners, you can add fifteen minutes at least on to your normal road time."
Nothing like an auspicious start, is there?
Despite that, I have to say I had an enormous amount of fun yesterday. Due to people not listening to the marshalls properly at the start, a load of 2.20m+ runners set off in what was supposed to be the sub-2hr wave, which meant that when I set off, at the front of the 2.10m wave, I got to spend the first half of the race overtaking people, which is always good motivation.
I got to the first km marker in 5.40, which seemed like a reasonable pace to try and stick with - not having run a HM race before, I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to run in a "race" pace or if I'd end up doing the 10m+ miles of my usual Sunday morning long, slow run.
As for the course, it was as hilly, lumpy, bumpy (but thankfully not muddy) as they'd said, which to be honest, felt great. I've mentioned this before and I don' t really understand the science behind it but I'm not bad at running up hills - on the first lap (of two) I was passing tons of people on every hill, on the second lap, running with the faster runners, I was still passing people on every hill but they would all then catch me up and overtake me on every flat section, only for me to overtake them again on the next hill - I think I must have some mountain goat DNA or maybe I'm just naturally stubborn.
Anyway, I decided to see how long I could stick with the sub-6m kms, reckoning that anything under 2.10 would be a more than respectable time for a first-timer on a tough course so I was delighted to approach the finishing funnel with well under 2hrs on the clock - I put on a bit of a sprint finish and while I haven't got an official time yet, by my watch I finished in 1:58.17, which I am absolutely over the moon about.
Less than six months ago, I was five stone overweight and thinking of starting Couch to 5k and now I'm doing this. Big thanks to everyone involved with the programme, especially all the lovely people on this forum and please remember - C25k works, if I can do it, anyone can.
Thanks for reading, enjoy your running and feel free to add your Sunday brags below,