Clearly I was taking this race seriously. As I put a sock on my right foot and saw the "L" on it I immediately took it off again and swapped feet. I had to give myself every chance.
I had an idea at the start of the year, to get 6 PBs at the 6 classic distances, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, 50 miles and 100 miles. I feel that all my PBs are a bit soft (and old).
I need to give the kids something to beat.
Here is the current table.
Yeah, some of those PB's were set when Leicester City were in the third tier of English Football. Who can even imagine Leicester being shit?
An unexpected by-product of having kids is that I seem to be getting faster and fitter. The running I do now is basically "You've got an hour to run that nice 8 mile loop you love before the kids wake up, GO GO GO!!!" rather than my life before which was more like "I've got the afternoon to spare, I might just chump around in a field for 5 hours".
The year started off with a whimper, illness then baby illness meant not much happened in Jan/Feb. But then having trained fairly consistently over the past couple of months and an unhealthy obsession with Strava wankery I seem to have made big improvements. My plan was to go from the lowest to the highest, getting myself 5k fit and then going on from there. However one day randomly I did a 13 mile run in not far off what my half PB is (#humblebrag) and thought that maybe a half PB was within reach.
I did enjoy getting back into the race atmosphere, though there were a few things I'd forgotten, such as how long should you wait outside a toilet cubicle before knocking on the door and yelling "is everything OK in there?"
Speed-shitting is a skill you can take from trail running into parenting. You have 17 seconds before the kids find out where you are and start pressing up against the bathroom door.
I dropped my bag in the bag drop thing and immediately felt a little anxious. Normally at this point before a race I still have my phone, money, food, medical cabinet, change of clothes, primary and secondary light sources and a cuddly badger still with me. Now I was just in a T shirt and shorts and asked to make my way to the start area. It was great catching up with Paul Rowlinson too, I miss bumping into people at races. He was gunning for 3 hours in the marathon and was looking pretty good for it on Strava.
There were 4 start pens, I was in the fastest. I joked like a dick with the lady there that I may have put too fast a predicted time down She did then chase after me and say I could relegate myself if I was worried about it. Deserved that.
Oh I almost forgot - The Milton Keynes Half Marathon is a half marathon in Milton Keynes. It's called that because it's half the length of a full marathon which they also have in Milton Keynes and that's called the Milton Keynes Marathon.
I managed to start pretty neat the front though and it was very spacious from the off. The first 5 miles or so are on the wide dual carriageways of MK. I imagined it would be on the footpaths at the side of the road and going up and down in the underpasses. It wasn't though, even though the first 3 miles were uphill. The plan was to hold on to 6.30 minute miles for as long as possible. I managed this for 6 miles the other day in a training run and figured I could go twice as far if I didn't need the toilet.
I was thrown by the uphills, I felt like I was working too hard to keep the pace at 6.30 but after mile three when it all went downhill I bagged a bit more time.
Are you still reading this? My word it's going to be boring. Seriously all I do is run at pretty much the same pace and then get a medal.
Still reading? Your loss.
After about 5 miles of the big roads it cuts into a housing area and then at about 10k it splits from the Marathon course and I head right into a park. It was really nice.By then the runners were spread out nicely,
At 8 miles I saw Gemma and the babies, the first time I have seen them in a race 😃 That was nice and was impressed that I made it there bang on time, 10.52.
Soon after though I started to wobble. It wasn't much. I knew 1.25 was now out of bounds but I was doing the calculations in my head (my watch isn't that fancy) as to what I need to do to at least get a pb. I was trying to count the 6.30s on my watch but after an hour it stops reporting in seconds so I had not idea whether a mile took me 6 minutes or 7.
Although I was slowing, so was everyone else and I was still overtaking people. People who looked like actual runners too, in vest and shorts. I was as close to the sharp end as I ever have been in a big race, 20th out of 3000 (#humblebrag). My guess is all the good people ran London the week before.
All the time I was glad it was my legs that were the bottleneck, usually it's the lungs or heart. They are in pretty good shape right now and legs are easy to train. A few more months of Strava Wankery should do it.
The last mile is a long drag back up into the Stadium. I clocked all the places I was going to eat when I finished, McDonald's, KFC, Nandos. I got taken just before the finish, the only time I got overtaken since about mile 4.
So, a 3 minute pb. I was pretty pleased with that, the closest I have got to a "dream race result" for a long time.
And what's great is that the quest for 6 pbs is still on. I had planned on getting the 5k, 10k, and HM by now, I only have the half but 5k and 10k will fall out soon. In fact 5k nearly went two days before, I missed it by 10 seconds in a parkrun. Here I got 40 mins flat for the first 10k and know there is a minute or two to take off that somewhere.
So now I am optimistically planning a marathon in the summer with the view of smashing 3 hours. Should have done that a long time ago. I don't want to do an ultra again until I am a 2.xx marathon runner.
Then if I get the time I'll do something about the 50 and 100 miles.
1 down, 5 to go.
By the way, this was the best organised half marathon I'd ever done. The route is perfect, the first 5 miles being on very wide closed roads which allow everyone to settle and then the rest on nice cyclepaths. Definitely recommended.