Getting 2014 off to a start

Today was race day (well sort of).

Today was the Maxifuel half marathon at Dorney Lakes. My first event of the 2014 season. I was well up for it even though I was under strict instructions from Mark. Today was all about pacing. His instructions were clear – run at my ironman marathon pace for at least half the run and only if I felt OK could I increase for lap three and again increase for lap 4 IF I felt OK.

These were more challenging instructions then saying ‘try and get a PB’. My running is always the same, I go off too fast and hang on to the end. This time had to be different.

I was up before the alarm, 3 crumpets and Jam for brekkie, my bag was already packed from the night before (but I obviously repacked it!). And off I set. I got to Dorney Lakes in plenty of time and was ready for the off. A quick gel before the gun and off I went. Although it didn’t really feel like I was really going that fast. I defaulted to my usual speed of 10 kmph and realised and slowed to 9 kmph, still too fast but I felt comfortable and thought I would run at this pace for a K or two while the crowds dissipated.

Lap one was longer at 6.5K in total – and I did it all at around 9 – 9.5 kmph and I felt good, very easy pace, very comfortable. I did lap two (4.8K) at the same pace. All was easy and comfortable. Even the breeze off the lake, the rain shower and the hail stones didn’t alter the pace. Lap three (also 4.8K) was hard to stay at the same pace. I was so comfortable, finding this pace so easy, I wanted to pick it up. I took another gel after 45 mins and had water every lap. It seemed those around me were slowing down and flagging. Lap three was still at the same pace and I started Lap 4 (after another gel). And I upped the pace, I didn’t rely on the Garmin I just run it on feel. I picked up the pace and finished the last lap very strong. The last lap I must have gone past about 20 other runners and I completed it one and a half minutes faster then lap 3.

This was the first run I have ever finished so strong. In hindsight I could have gone harder earlier. But today wasn’t about the time it was about learning more about pacing. Starting easy and building, not ‘blowing my doors off’ at the start and hanging on to the finish. 2hrs and 7 mins was my finish time. 6 mins off my PB, but my second fastest half marathon time. But crucially it was very very easy. It was faster then I was supposed to run, but because for the entire run I felt very very comfortable.

This is great progress (if I do say so myself). Hopefully next Sunday’s 112K sportive will be as comfortable! But this is a good foundation to take to Egypt for two weeks of bootcamp.

Thanks for reading.

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