This is an update to my original post about this race, which you can read here.
The first time I did this race, one year ago, it was a pivotal event for me: it gave me the confidence to sign up for my first half marathon, the Reading Half. Since then, I have taken part in a lot of other events, including two marathons (one of which I abandoned) and an ultra-marathon.
So I very much wanted to see how I would fare second time around. Would there be any improvement, or, worse still, would my time have slipped? After all, I have spent most of the last year working on my endurance and training for longer distances, not speed.
I got round the (relatively flat) course in 57 minutes last year (I can’t remember the seconds) and that set a new PB for me at the time. This year, I did it in just under 54 minutes. A lot of this was due to my excellent pacer, my ever-encouraging Running Buddy. All I had to do to improve my time was not let him get ahead of me.
When I say “ever-encouraging”, what I mean is he bullied me up the final hill.
I said “I could walk from here and still get a good time”.
His response cannot really be published but it let me know exactly what his thoughts were about that particular sentiment. Thank you, RB!
Once again, the lack of headphones bothered me less than I thought it would. This is a very pure race experience. When you take away the distraction of music, all you’re really left with is an awareness of your own laboured breathing (often a strangely re-assuring sound).
Something else that was significant about this race was the participation of my fiance in the 5k.
I just asked her whether she would take part in this post and the first thing she said was “it was hard”, with a rather grumpy tone. (She doesn’t really like exercise very much, but she is trying.)
My interview with her follows:
Half: Considering that this was your first serious race, discounting the two novelty events you’ve done (Run for Chocolate and Glow in the Park), how did you find it?
Future Mrs Half: It was a much more serious event. Everyone was running! At the other events, I could power walk round the course and not be left behind, but at this one, it felt a lot more intense. The other races were more fun!
To be honest, I didn’t really do any training. Although I have been going to the gym, I did nothing to train for this event specifically.
My legs hurt for two days afterwards!
Half: Did you find that having high blood pressure inhibited you in any way?
Future Mrs Half: Only in that I was worried about overdoing it. I probably can do more than I realise but I was conscious of it, and possibly put unnecessary limitations on myself.
Half: How did you find the management of the event?
Future Mrs Half: For a low cost event, it was pretty good. The marshals were really positive and encouraging. When they could see I was struggling, they cheered me on.
There was a funny moment on the route, remembering that it’s a science park, when your sister wanted me to start running and I had been showing some resistance to picking up the pace. But then I saw a tank of liquid nitrogen and it made me want to get the hell out of there!
Half: I’m sure it was contained and safe, and it shows that you did have more in you than you thought!
Besides, it was probably the high powered laser you should have been worried about if anything!
Half: Did you like your medal?
Future Mrs Half: I think I know what this question is getting at! On the Glow in the Park race, they fobbed us off with a certificate – really?! A CERTIFICATE – A TWENTY FIVE POUND ENTRY FEE AND ONLY A CERTIFICATE TO SHOW AT THE END OF IT!
Yes, I liked my medal. I also thought it was funny that I got the same medal as you when you had to run twice the distance to get it.
Half: Yes, that was just great wasn’t it?