Only one week to go until the 2015 Royal Parks Half Marathon! For me, this is the first half marathon I ran and my third year running it.
I often have friends running it, which adds to the fun. Last year, we ran into several people we knew, and ended up having brunch with them all before hitting the pub, and then inviting some of them to come back to ours. My ideal race – 3% running, 97% eating and drinking afterwards.
The route has changed slightly this year, due to the construction of the East-West cycle route along Embankment. I ran past this construction on Thursday evening, and the cycle route already looks great.
But I can see how this is not the place for thousands of runners right now.
Here’s the 2015 route:
Whereas before our short “out and back” bit was across Westminster bridge, now it’s down Whitehall.
Whereas before our long “out and back” bit was along Embankment to Temple, now we’re running along The Strand and around Aldwych.
Both of these should take us much further into touristy areas, which I think will be good. Hopefully it won’t interrupt people’s sightseeing too much – after all, it will be done and dusted by midday – but it will provide a great cheerleading squad for all the runners, and something a bit different for people to see.
When it comes to goals, I don’t have much by way of expectation. I am definitely racing, but don’t envisage beating my PR of 1:42, which I achieved when I was about a stone lighter. In fairness, I didn’t run any more then – in fact, I think I run more now than ever before. I didn’t do any additional cross training, or strength training. I don’t actually know why I was able to run faster then. I achieved this same PB in the Richmond Half Marathon 2014 (on my birthday – a great present!) and the Edinburgh Half Marathon 2014, and since have only done the Wimbledon Half Marathon (1:56) which was off-road and very hilly. In fact, it was so different as to not warrant comparison.
Even at the time when I achieved my half marathon PB, my training runs did not reflect a faster speed than my current ones. So who knows how it will work on race day? I am fundamentally a bad runner, because I don’t approach it with any sort of game plan. My main goal is to finish, which means I tend to be a touch conservative in the early miles. I find running with a crowd SO much easier than running alone and it helps me maintain a steady pace which I would really struggle to achieve alone.
This makes my finish time a bit unpredictable. Good runners take things into their own control. They aim for a time, they structure their run, and they achieve their goals. As soon as I put this sort of pressure on myself, I panic and struggle to keep my breathing steady. Suddenly it’s all too hard, and I start fretting I won’t actually even finish.
So many of my limitations are mental. In fact, almost all of them. I have no injuries. I have ample time to train. Still – for me, running is a hobby and one I intend to enjoy as long as I can, and then endure for weight-loss for as long as possible. I don’t wish to ruin it for myself immediately by making it a chore.
I still enjoy racing as a way to keep my distance up, and feel like part of a running community. I would love to beat 1:40 – but I’m frankly not prepared to put in all the effort. I think the correct diagnosis would be “lazy”. I can run 13.1 miles, but I am lazy.
So here’s to a fun day, a decent run, and lots of wine after the race. Good luck to everyone who is racing with a goal time, to those embarking on their first half marathon and to other people who, like me, just enjoy the run and the atmosphere.
Run Every Day – Day 3
We had friends to stay on Friday night, and civilised dinner naturally ended with us watching Haywire at 3am. We polished off a *few* bottles of wine whilst we were at it. As such, Saturday was spent on the sofa eating bacon sandwiches until about 5pm, and watching Patrick Swayze in Road House (a Smith favourite!). Even though this would normally be a rest day, since I did 17 miles between Thursday and Friday, both Matthew and I fancied stretching our legs. Anyway, I am not about to fail this challenge on day three!
I left Matthew to decide the route, with my only criteria being we had to do at least a mile. We ran 1.15 miles, confirming that I need to be in charge of motivation in future 🙂 This was actually fine by me. I will run further on Sunday morning when I will hopefully feel a little fresher.
We then finished our Saturday by watching Terminator (don’t we have great taste in films?), and switching out our summer clothes for winter ones which have been in vacuum packs. I know; a banging Saturday night! Still, there was a glass (ahem) of wine, and a takeaway.
I actually love evenings like this. Don’t tell anyone; it would seriously damage my street cred.