Another race, another hilly half marathon. I really must learn to pick races that cater to my strengths and not my weaknesses. I just can not run up hills. I do try but unless the hill is short and not too steep, my mind and body kick into Ultra mode and I start walking.
I woke to torrential rain as the weather man forecasted, but he also said it would stop before the race start. An hour on the bus to Ealing and he was right, the rain stopped and everything cleared up nicely.
I’ve heard a lot of nice things about Ealing Half before today, a lot of my friends have run it and they’ve all had good thing to say about it. Apart from a very tight and confused starting corral, I have to agree with all of them. Baggage drop off was painless and there were plenty of toilets. It would have been nice to have some water before the start but I had my backpack with me so I was sorted.
I met up with Kieron and Nicola and Crackers of course before the race and we took the obligatory pre race photos. Nicola decided to be Clive for the day, women, there’s just no understanding them sometimes. 🙂
Having previously decided to run a 2:30 race I found myself in the starting pens next to the 2:10 pacer and I thought “Why not?” With little warning we were rapidly moving forward and then we were off. I have a habit of going off too fast and this was to be no exception.
Four sub 6 minute kilometres, feeling strong and for a moment I convinced myself that this would be the day that I held on and kept going. Then the first hill kicked in and it was all over. I did rally briefly but I realised that to survive I would have to walk the hills. In hindsight the 12 miles yesterday and the fast 10 miles on Friday were a mistake, tapering has never been a priority of mine and I’m crap at it anyway.
I was overtaken by the 2:15 pacer at 11 miles and that was it, game on again, I did see the 2:20 pacer but there was no way I was letting that one past. Official result is 2:22:06 so I guess it did pass me.
Not only a PB at the half but also PBs at 15k, 10 miles and 20k so all in all a better day than I expected. If only I could run up hills I could be quite good at this running thing.
The organisation was spot on today, the marshals were enthusiastic, the volunteers were fantastic wherever they were. The people of Ealing came out in force to support every runner, the bands on route were great I lost count how many jelly babies I ate as well as oranges and haribo and there were just so many smiling faces.
Well Done Ealing, I will return and conquer your hills.