Friday, 11 October 2013

From the archives: Stevenage half marathon 2011

I've finally signed up to run Stevenage half marathon in November, after procrastinating about it for a few weeks. I have 3 weeks to prepare myself mentally, to lose a bit of weight, and to get myself used to running further than 10K.

I ran this race back in 2011, it was only my second half marathon, and I was really happy because I ran sub 1:50. The course is quite nice, considering it's in Stevenage: mainly along paths and through underpasses, but part of the course is through Fairlands Valley Park, around the lake.

My aim this time round is to obtain a SB (need to beat 1:51:26 to do that), hopefully beat my 2011 time (1:49:55) for a course record, and with a bit of luck beat the PB I set in 2012 when I ran the Greenway Challenge with a friend (1:46:31).

Here's my 2011 blog about the race!

So, November 6th, 2011. The 25th Stevenage Half Marathon. I signed up to run this event at the last minute (last minute for me!). I usually like to have several months to prepare for races but I only signed up for this a few weeks ago. I was "race-ready" though, because after finishing Fleetwood I wanted to maintain the distance I'd trained up to, so I'd been running 8 and 10 miles as recreation. I know, I'm mad.

A few other members of Stotfold Runners were running the event, Ed and Scott, and it was lovely to have them and their families around for support during the race and at the end. (My family are a bit "race-fatigued", this is my 5th race this year, so they stayed at home.) So huge thanks to them, and to Scott's family for driving me there and back and looking after me :)

So, my previous PB for a half marathon was 1:52:40 and my "secret aim-for time" for this race was 1:50:00. I really wanted to beat my PB but I wasn't sure I could because the Stevenage course was more undulating than Fleetwood. This course was run on underpasses and cycleways around Stevenage, and through Fairlands Valley Park, so lots of hills and slopes! But, with up bits come down bits as I always tell myself.

We ran two laps of the course, the second lap being slightly longer through the Park. I started slowly because I'm always being advised (nagged) by Pete L from running club to start slowly and build up speed. First two miles were comfortable, then I remembered I wanted to get a good time! So I started to up my pace.

I took my energy gel at 5 miles (just after I ran past Burger King) and just before the second water station. I had a few slower miles after this, possibly because I was on lap 2 and it was a bit more uphill and a bit of a psychological downer. But I sped up through the Park (although I was overtaken twice), and got a lovely boost when I saw Ed's wife cheering me on!

When I passed Burger King again I had a "moment" when I remembered being fat in January and I decided to really try and crack sub 1:50. So my last few miles were corkers. I'm not sure where my energy came from, or why I didn't fall over. And I should say that I really hate finishing on a running track, those last few metres are killers. But when I heard "Come on Sarah!" shouted by Scott's wife Julie I found enough energy to sprint. I even heard another runner mutter "great finish" as I passed him :)

We got no cake at the end :( I hate bananas. I ate the banana I was given, but I hate bananas. Got a lovely silver shoe trophy though :)

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