Today started as a good day. I had my kit all out and prepared, I got my breakfast in nice and early, I even had a bit of a lie in (if you call 07:30 on a Sunday a lie in)! I also had a little helper with me, which may have caused me to be a bit distracted this morning... Two things went wrong; firstly I turned my Garmin on inside the Xscape building; it couldn't find satellites and when it asked if I was indoors, I pressed yes because, well, I was.... Then at the start line, my bags were kindly taken from me and doh! so was my sports drink! #fail & #fail again! It did occur to me as I waited at the start to restart my watch to check it had found satellites, but I was so worried about not having my sports drink that I, well, I just didn't! I had already read through the race instructions so I knew there was plenty of water on the course, I also had a energy gel in my pocket so I calmed myself down by rationally telling myself that that was enough to get me through; the first water station was at 3 miles & I regularly run 5km races without any nutrition or water. So, I set my watch off at the start outside Xscape and as we rounded the corner towards Child's Way, I check my time, don't know why but I did. I'd done 2:46 mins and it wasn't recording my distance OH NO!! Quick thinking (I still don't know how to operate the watch properly) I switched it off and on again, but to no avail. PANIC! Do I go without or keep trying? Well I keep trying of course! Restarted it again and it was gearing up ready to go, I'd passed the 1 mile point by this time so decided not to start it until the 2 mile marker, if you're a runner you'll understand why!
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful my time being 2 miles out kept messing with my head; maths and running is not a good combo! Coming up to 6 miles I could feel myself starting to lag, as I passed the 6 mile marker I decided it was time to try the energy gel. I really wasn't looking forward to it as the one I tried last week was disgusting. Surprisingly it was quite good, for an energy gel that is, and I finished every last gooey drop! At 7 miles I knew I couldn't get below 2hrs so I was just determined to get as close to it as I could. I was told by friends who test ran the course that there was a killer hill on the last mile, so I knew I had to save some energy for that, but where was it? I didn't see any killer hill! I mean the race itself was promoted as flat, but MK by nature isn't really flat if your running, walking or cycling the redways around town. They go under all the main roads so by nature there's a little up and down every so often; I would call the course mixed rather than flat. The only 'hill' I noticed towards the end was when we took a bridge over a road rather than under it; granted it was steep but it wasn't long and it wasn't hugely challenging. After two races straight uphill it was a blessing.
Today was a new PB, at 2:08:38, I came in exactly 2 mins quicker than last weeks half, but I wasn't happy with my time. I do think that had I had my sport drink with me that would have kept my energy levels up and kept me going longer and faster. As it was I got to the end of the race and didn't collapse in a heap and I do think I could have gone further if need be. Races that end like that, well you just were not working hard enough!
Next week Silverstone Half Marathon!