Saturday, February 14

An Impromptu Half-Marathon

This morning my running partner neighbour surprised me by challenging us to run an impromptu half-marathon.

Now there's nothing wrong with the distance itself; I've done it many times before, mostly during marathon training, but sometimes as an individual race and came away with some pretty decent times.

Just to give you some measure though, my last race time was just over 2 hours, with my fastest being around 1 hour 33 minutes (although again, since that was during training that's not an indicative time really). The longest I've run out of competition/training was nine miles a couple of weeks ago, during which I managed just under 8 and a half minute miles; the aim was to match that today (and so get a total time of under 1h50m.

Conditions were not ideal. For a start it was a surprise mentally, but I also hadn't really stretched appropriately, had zero carbs and water loaded and had some bad quality sleep last night. But since I had missed last year's Roding Valley Half Marathon (due to being in Israel) and will be missing this year's too, I thought I should give it a go.

It was pretty tough going. The first half (quarter marathon?) was positive, with us hitting 8 (and a bit) minute miles and going strong. The Roding Valley track is undulating (something that makes it quite popular) and the ups were painful with the downs not really giving as much back as they should have been. The second half was much worse, my knee beginning to buckle bringing my pace down to around the nine minute mark. By the end of it I could feel my tank literally empty with hunger and dizziness arriving in equal measure. I reckon my knee will be out of whack for a week at least.

We finished our adapted circuit in 1:47.30, something which certainly surprised me; I wasn't anticipating a pace that close to the 8 minute mark. It turned out that we had miscalculated the route - we had actually run 12.1 miles which brought my pace back up to a more understandable 8m53s. Still it was under 9 minutes which was better than my last competitive half-marathon, although I suspect an extra mile would have battered that pace.

I'm glad I went out today. Considering the conditions I think we did alright and I no longer feel that I'll be missing out on the annual Roding Valley event twice in a row. Under race conditions and with more adequate preparation I'm almost certain I could hold a pace of 8m30s, and quite possibly do even better than that.