Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

St Neots Riverside Half Marathon - 1:35:41 (7:17 min/mile pace) - new personal best by 3 minutes

Ivan paced me to a personal best half marathon time on the St Neots Riverside Half Marathon Results 2007.

I awoke, not keen to exert myself out in the cold but after cycling to Ivan's house, his enthusiasm was soon catching.

We were soon parked up by the local army cadets, had a last quick toilet break and were off to the start with a couple of minutes to spare.

The race was chip timed, meaning we had a chip on our shoes which would time when we went over the starting line. This makes for a much more leisurely start. Normally nobody wants to waste time waiting to cross the start line whilst the clock is ticking so there is often jostling. No so today but the adrenalin kicks in and everyone wants to get going, so the race was still quite thick for a mile or so.

It was a cold day with some strong wind across the fields at times - it certainly encouraged some drafting. The course was really nice with a couple of hills to play on, though the road was slippery underfoot at times.

We deliberately set out slow, a little behind the 7:28 min/mile pace I had chosen as a target. Then we picked it up a little to get some time in the bag so we could accommodate the slow miles over the hills.

The first couple of miles were quite hard as cold and creeking muscles try to get working. I reckon mine start to settle down after about 6 miles and I feel fine for a few miles after that if I'm pushing the pace (I feel fine ALL DAY after that at a relaxed pace!). I was pleased to have got rid of a stitch I'd picked up early in the race too. Ivan told me to breath out slowly with my chin on my chest and I was astounded by how quickly the stitch faded - I wonder why that works!

Our performance felt quite measured. If a reason arose to pick it up a bit, I could always do it without over-stretching it. Sometimes, for example, when it's windy it is worth catching up to a big group of runners ahead and using them as a wind break. At other times, like, during a hill climb, everyone suffers a bit so it's a good time to turn it on a bit. So, this was perhaps the most measured race I've ever done. I think it was partly cardio-vascular fitness that allowed Ivan and I to run like this. Even after 11 miles we were breathing easily and still making a good time.

As the race progressed we both started having a few muscle problems. By 12 miles the pain behind my right thigh was pretty intense and I was wondering whether I would make the last mile still running. I tried to make a big effort to run lightly, as Ivan seems to always do. I was pretty surprised that the pain faded.

After the mile 12 sign appeared I realised that I had a bit left and so closed up to some of the folks ahead. As we passed the 20km sign (12.5 miles) I started picking it up even more. Seeing the 400M sign I really pulled, with Ivan alongside me, and we made up quite a handful of places. With 200M to go I heard Keith cheering me on, and although I thought I might have gone too soon but I locked on to the guy ahead and started working up to a full sprint. I didn't think at the time but this was a bit unsporting since I got just ahead of Ivan in doing so, and he had clearly had an easy run of it pacing me around. The whole race he had seemed extremely relaxed, ad if he was walking whilst the rest of us were pushing. Well, in my mind I was outclassed and our finishing times are the same, I just couldn't help the sprinting antics! I think I might be part sheep dog.

So, my official time was 1:35:41 which was done by the chip so is probably accurate. The GPS I was wearing made it 1:35:30 with an average pace of 7.17min/mile and an average heartrate of 159BPM.

Splits- mile 1 / 7:24; 2/7:09; 3/7:28;4/7:35;5/7:22;6/7:14; 7/7:07; 8/7:15; 9/7:30; 10/7:26; 11/7:17; 12/7:20; 13/6:49.

Good fun to see Anthony, Stanni and Keith their too. Keith put in a blistering time of 1:27 something. Hard to imagine running that fast!

Sharon and Ange sent me a link to a photo of me crossing the finish line (not very flattering!).

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At 9:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice write up!

Thanks for your company. It was the least stressful & most enjoyable running event I've done by a long way.

Beforehand we talked about wanting to pace the run so that we were still strong & not going to pieces towards the end. We also talked about doing a negative split. I was really pleased that we'd been able to do both. We also set off with a target of 1:38, 7:27/mile, so we did pretty well there too!

Congratulations once again, you must be really pleased.



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