It was the Tunbridge Wells 1/2 marathon yesterday and I was using it as an exercise in pacing. I haven't run this 1/2 since 2006 as I didn't like the route and there was way too much traffic on the country lanes but the route has changed for the better and they closed some of the roads during the race so it was much better.
Last time I did it I came home in 2:12:30 so I'd given myself a target of 2:10. It's strange doing 10 minute miling again as for the past 3 years I've plodded along at marathon pace which is either 11 or 12 minute miling so it's a bit of a shock to my system to be doing 9 and 10 minute miling again!
I met up with Johnny J (who's 68 and annoyingly speedy for his age!) and Digit Eyes who I hadn't met before. What was really nice was that a lady passed me en-route and said "hi" adding that she'd met me at the Christmas Pudding Dash a few years ago and has been following my running/knitting antics. Thanks Pauline, it was so nice to hear from you and I hope you did a good time.
I was feeling good when I started and ran the first 1/2 in bang on 60 minutes. It's an undulating route with a sneaky hill at mile 7. It isn't a really steep hill, it's just one of those that goes on a bit further than is comfortable! Anyway, I got to the top feeling OK and spied the water station. Now I usually carry my own water bottle but for some reason I hadn't yesterday. Bad move!
We runners sometimes suffer from demons in our heads and mine is the 'water station demon' who rears his ugly head if I take a walk break to sip the water. It's not as if I ever come to a standstill, but the act of walking for those 30 seconds awoke the little blighter and he was in really good form. This time his voice was that of Gollum in the film version of Lord of the Rings and he kept saying "fat hobitses, you're too old and fat to run this hill" etc etc. The hill still had a little way to go and my mental stamina deserted me and I took a walk break for 2 minutes whilst I regained control and kicked the little blighter into touch!
This little walk break meant that I had to up the pace a bit which is a good exercise in itself as it teaches your body to push forward when tired. I sprinted over the finish line in 2:09:02, over 3 minutes faster than last time and a minute faster than my target time so I was a very happy girl. My next target race is the Lydd 1/2 in 2 weeks so we'll see if I can do any better on a flatter course.