Sunday, February 28

The Roding Valley Half Marathon 2010 Click for more info

Although my running partner and I had planned on making this local run our basis for the year's training, I happened to miss the last two for one reason or another. In fact, the last time I participated was way back in 2007; I managed to complete the course in just over 2 hours, which I felt was quite disappointing since my PB for the race, obtained in 2004 while training for a full blown marathon, is a poignantly impressive 1:33. Although I had accepted that I would never reasonably get such a time again (unless I was training for a marathon - something which I don't quite think will happen) I did think I had a better time in me. This year my main objective was to demonstrate that, as I set myself a target of a sub-1:50 time (or a 8:40 min/mile pace)

To be honest I kinda failed before I started. The wedding food yesterday probably didn't help, as was the relatively late night I had. All of the carbs I stuffed myself with at 10pm probably went straight to my gut, and to top it off I didn't have much water throughout the day either. Oh dear. But hey, at least it couldn't get any worse - I was even still confident about my time.

I was proven wrong this morning as all the runners woke up to some horrendous conditions; rain and wind were both forecast but I didn't really believe that it would happen until I saw it. I think it was then that I reassessed my time: I would now be happy with anything under two hours.

I found the race hard. Perhaps it was the weather (and the extra weight added by our drenched clothing), but almost from the get go I felt like I was jogging in mud while dragging a cart or something. Although this wasn't too much of a problem for the first half or so of the course, it began to take its toll later on; I haven't looked that the numbers properly but it felt like I had quite a few of the 13 miles were had in over ten minutes. As expected, my left knee gave out at around the ten mile mark, just like it had been promising to during training, although mercifully after a few yards I seem to have forgotten all about it - as I type now, I am concerned about it though. Generally you can tell how well a race is going by your state of mind and emotional wellbeing while running and I recall stuff becoming a bit cloudy toward the end, something I've not really experienced since the Flora in 2004.

However despite my bad feelings during the race I did manage to come in under my two hour target, although not by much. According to my timekeeping I completed 13.38 miles in 1:58:26, a pace of 8:51 min/miles. Considering the conditions I see this as a vast improvement over 2007, and will even go to say that I reckon I would have beaten 1:50 under better circumstances.

So a personal win then? Well not quite. You see I decided a few months ago that the RVHM 2010 would actually be my last long road race. My knee is actually beginning to become a quite serious concern, and for me the loss of everyday mobility isn't really worth the other benefits (including the enjoyment) road running brings. Maybe it's the lack of time I can dedicate to the activity (I only really run once a week); personally I think I'm just getting old and the whole thing is beginning to (or already has) catch up with me.

This doesn't mean I'll end running altogether - I'll still be taking part in various 5k runs and the like, but I will stop my regular running and hopefully replace it with another activity. The two candidates for this are cycling and swimming, but considering my proficiency in the former I think I'll be hitting a pool pretty soon.

EDIT: My time as recorded by the organisers was 1:58.37, ranked 492.


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  2. Dude, thats a bummer for no more long distance running.
    Cycling and Swimming are still cool though.

    I was thinking you were doing London this year. I'm there again this April.

  3. Anonymous08:49

    Congratulations :) 8:51 minutes per mile is pretty impressive.

  4. Still, excellent stuff Shako :-)