There was a lot of build up to today. Getting ready last night I realised my usual race gear was in the wash basket, so I did a last minute wash and managed to get my gear out to dry before bed. Then realised I was planning to wear my Scope running gear to an NSPCC event. Deciding I didn't want to be politically incorrect I changed my outfit last minute and went for something that didn't advertise my charity!
Best thing about today was meeting @Claire0, we've been chatting for ages on Twitter and it was nice to see the woman behind the wetsuit! lol. We met up before the race, put our bags in, and did the usual pre race stuff and warm up. I forgot my Lucozade in my bag so had to run back just before the start time, not sure if was a good or bad thing that I didn't get to start with Claire since she did 1:37!
Coming into the race I really wanted to get a PB, my last PB was set in March at the other MK Half and well MK is my home so I should know the area! Setting off I felt quite good, the first mile was congested as the lane was narrow, but I was able to run on the embankment to get ahead of the slower runners. The course itself was deceiving, it started off on a gentle uphill gradient that wasn't really any bother, so I waited for it to level out... and I waited and I waited. I don't know why, but for some reason I had it in my head that this was meant to be a flat course... We went down redways, bridle paths (very smelly!), canal paths and even past a field of sheep! It was up, up, up, and hardly ever down at all! Not what I was expecting at all it's a wonder I got through!
Once I'd settled in to the race and found my pace I clocked a couple of runners that were running slightly faster than me and decided to try to keep up with them. There was one woman in particular who had long purple pants who was just in front and constantly checking her watch - obviously looking for a PB too! I got ahead of her, she got ahead of me, and we went on like that for the first six miles. After that I really couldn't keep up and thought I was going to loose it. There was one point where I was running so slowly I thought I was walking! I took a gel just after 6 miles and kept pushing through, I had no competition to guide me any more and I knew my speed was fading fast! I was checking my watch and kept telling myself that I needed to pick up the pace if I wanted to make that PB, but it didn't translate to my legs. I was trying to calculate my finish time, but my brain is foggy when I run and even though maths is my strong point sometimes you need to stop to think properly and that was not an option!
Reaching 10 miles was a blessing - the end was in sight, now I knew I could do it! My watch read 1:38 and I knew the last 5km would take me a maximum of 30min, my PB for 5km is 26mins so at a push I could still come in under 2:08! I told myself I'd just got out of bed to do a 5k run and I could hit 26mins on fresh legs. I put a mantra in my head; 5k Fresh Legs, 5k Fresh Legs! Staying focussed the pain in my legs eased and they did feel fresh, well for a bit anyway. I kept pushing through past 11miles, past 12... On the approach to 13 I saw the purple pants lady and thought about staying on her shoulder for a bit so she wouldn't have time to push past me, but the decided I needed to just keep going. I mean, if I could catch up with her she must be tired to have dropped her pace or I was just running that fast that I could still beat her anyway! So I ran past her and I don't know if she picked up my pace, but once she was out of sight I focussed on the finish line and pushed through to complete in 2:07:21!
Amazing, absolutely amazing! Only problem was I didn't have time to enjoy the moment I had to rush off to go to London for my little brother 18th birthday. All in all a great day, even though my legs ache and my nephew broke my medal! Gotta love kids!