Last year, I ran Windsor and Royal Parks half marathons and enjoyed them both, but for different reasons. This year, they clashed, and rather than play favourites I leapt on fairweather runner’s suggestion of Ealing Half Marathon number one.
Granted, the route isn’t flat, but there aren’t any hills as such, more long drags up and free-flowing downs. The route was also nice and wide with a welcome lack of pinch points, meaning that you could run at your preferred pace without hindrance.
I started too fast, though by design rather than accident. This was the first half marathon I’ve run where my intention has been anything other than ‘get round’, and so I had absolutely no feel for what a sensible pace would be. As luck would have it, fairweather and Lorraine (last spotted at Thunder Run) were both running and both aiming for two hours. I knew I wouldn’t manage that, but thought I would run with them for as long as I could, and then ease off and see what happened. The outcome?
Miles 1 to 5: feeling good; sub 9 min miles.
Miles 6 to 8: wheels started to wobble; pace dropped markedly; started to go backwards though the field.
Mile 9: wheels feel off; walked a short section to get my heart rate under control and regroup.
Mile 10: reattached wheels; plodded on doggedly.
Mile 10 mile marker: only a parkrun to go!
Miles 11 to 13: pace picked up slightly; less than a parkrun; less than a parkrun; less than a parkrun.
Mile 13.1: surge; cross line; stagger; change; stretch; collapse; chat.
The result? Two hours, five minutes. Which is a pb by eleven minutes. I’ll take that!