The only photo I took from the whole day! My war wound from mile 9.
September 21st saw me do my third half marathon, and my only one for 2014. I entered Reigate half thanks to a severe case of FOMO, after feeling like everyone I knew was running it. Not my wisest move, the week after London Duathlon, a couple of weeks after a holiday of eating and drinking nonstop, and the day after attending a wedding, but hey – I don’t like to do things by halves!
I trained pretty consistently for the half, sticking to nearly all my planned long runs, and getting in some decent mid week runs and some speed training. Despite having raced the weekend before, I felt good and the least nervous compared to the other two halves I competed in.
The race started in the local park, where the event organisers had put on what I would call an incredible ‘spread’ of stands showcasing running suppliers, local fitness activities and plenty of food. For the first half in Reigate I couldn’t believe how many people had turned up, it was a great crowd!
The race started on time and after a slight bottle neck getting out of the park we were greeted with our first hill. The roads for the majority of the route were closed to traffic which was very good, as there were lots of a narrow lanes I can imagine cars speed round very quickly.
The route was busy with lots of competitors, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support out on the streets, much more than I’ve seen at a lot of other races I’ve been to. I never felt alone on the course, and it was lovely running through lanes that parted beautiful countryside, friendly housing estates, and more fields.
Considering the race started at 9am it felt hot out there, and I was seriously glad I opted for a tank top and wore my wrist sweat band, it definitely came in handy! Fuel wise I was glad I practied with gels before hand, and ended up having porridge about 2hrs before, half a Gu 45 mins before the race, and then a gel at miles 4 and 8, which seemed to work well. I didn’t ever really feel like I ran out of steam, which is a significant improvement on how I felt during Royal Parks!!
Apart from the hill at the very beginning, the rest of the course was undulating, with a slightly tougher hill around the 6-7 mile mark, and then a really mean hill at 11 miles! The majority of the route, as I mentioned was on the roads, although there was a couple of miles were it went onto a gravelly surface, around the 8/9 mile mark I think.
It was just before the 9 mile mark on the gravel that I fell over. I tried to stop myself from falling, but the stumble made it a little worse I think, and I literally fell flat on my face! I’m very grateful to the two people who stopped and picked me up, and chatted to me until I got to a marshall. Once I stopped at the marshall all I could think was how I’d ripped my favourite lululemon leggings, I was absolutely devastated (and yes, even had a little cry!)! More than the actual fall! Having rinsed out my mouth and washed the gravel off my hands and face, I was determined to carry on. I felt so close to the end, I’d trained too hard to stop then, and I knew even if I walked it I wanted to finish. I finished the last 4 miles with a mixture of running and walking, my knee throbbing but my stubbornness too strong to stop completely!!
I crossed the finish line in 2hrs35, not record breaking by any means, but 4 minutes faster than Royal Parks. I know I would have got in the 2hr20’s if I hadn’t fallen, but these things happen, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it – a PB is still a PB!
Mile 1 – 10:35
Mile 2 – 10:14
Mile 3 – 10:32
Mile 4 – 10:42
Mile 5 – 11:08
Mile 6 – 11:30
Mile 7 – 12:26 (the hill)
Mile 8 – 11:02
Mile 9 – 11:48 (I fell)
Mile 10 – 13:13
Mile 11 – 14:30 (another hill)
Mile 12 – 13:03
Mile 13 – 12:33
0.1 mile – 1:38
Ave pace – 11:47 min/mile
I must also just take a moment to say how sorry I was to hear of the young man who sadly passed away, less than 400 meters from the finish line. Such a sad end to a fantastic race, and I really hope it doesn’t put anyone off from entering next year, I know I’ll be at the start line again.