fitness half marathon running

Hackney Half and feeling sad

Monday, 11 May 2015

Hackney Half nr. 2 done and run.  This year I hated it a little less than last year, but let’s start from the beginning :) –>

Beforehand I worried about my calves and shins as they have been really tight and painful when I run fast. I worried a bit about my shoes as I have 2 really worn pairs and 2 very new ones and I decided to run in an old pair but was worried about getting hot spots under the balls of my feet. It’s happened on 3 or 4 of my latest training runs.

I was also worried a bit about my stomach since I ate chocolate on Friday night and my digestion is such a primadonna that usually sugar consumption in the week leading up to a long run like that means trouble.

And to add to my list of worries – last year I ran the same race and it was brutally hot and I hated it. This year they started earlier (I think?) but after weeks and weeks of drizzle and grey skies, the freaking sun was blazing by 9am. Murphy’s Law and all that jazz :|

As for the race – for the first 5kms my shins were sore as I had feared. Thankfully after that my calves loosened up and the shin pain went. Up until 12km my pace was amazing, my Garmin showed an overall average pace of 4:55 min/km.  I knew that anything less than 4:58 at the end would be a PB and got all excited thinking that I might be able to keep up this pace and get a great PB but after 12kms my legs slowed down. Bummer. Total bummer.  I actually was annoyed with my body for letting me down. My head doesn’t usually fail me during a race. I often do think in F words at times as I count the distance left until the end of a race but it’s always in a non-self-hating way…

The last 3 miles through the Olympic park are the worst part of Hackney half. They are supposed to be inspiring – Olympic park and all – but they are actually awful – there is no shade, the ground is light yellow gravel in some parts and combine that with no shade and you feel like you’re running on the beach getting cooked to death.  And to add to that awfulness – there are also several little inclines that at the end of a half marathon, when the quads are burning, feel like freaking mountains.

I managed to speed up at the end but only at the very end – last km or even less. I crossed the finish line at 1:44:31 and since I had only been looking at my average pace and not the time, I didn’t realise that I should have run only 6 seconds faster to get a PB. The way I felt though I’m not sure I had those 6 seconds in my legs…

So in the end it wasn’t my stomach that failed me, or my shins or my feet (the old shoes did well) but it was just my quads that got tired and my brain failed to cut them some slack.  I don’t actually properly train for half marathons these days – I only run 9-12km as my longest run of the week with just one another even shorter one thrown in during the week.  Not exactly half marathon training. I should not have been so annoyed with my legs…

I’m not actually even bummed about my time – 1:44 is a good time for a half but I am bummed that I didn’t love it. I am a little bummed that I can’t just run a race for the heck of it, that I don’t have a running crowd to run these things with just for the heck of it and just for the fun of running. I always do races as total solo missions – in, out, done, dusted. It never bothered me before but I think it’s bothering me a bit right now…  because there is SO much more to running and racing than chasing a PB each time.

I cropped the heads off because I don't know if people I don't know want their race photos published. But also a little bit because I looked really sad.

I cropped the heads off because I don’t know if people I don’t know want their race photos published. But also a little bit because I looked really sad.


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  • PoweredbyPB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 20:05

    I really didn’t enjoy Hackney this year either, I ran to the start and after hanging around for too long in-between I completely seized up and spent the next 13.1 miles in a miserable state of convincing myself not to stop, it was also too hot- again. I think running for fun, is so much more enjoyable than the PB chase, hence why I am a lover of the trail!

    • MrsB Thursday, 14 May 2015 at 17:32

      I have never tried running truly off road. What’s a good ‘beginners’ trail race I could look into?

  • Anna @AnnaTheApple Tuesday, 12 May 2015 at 12:08

    It was warm wasn’t it? And the Olympic Park was tough. But you did amazingly considering you hadn’t trained as well as you wanted!
    Sometimes I like doing races and not “racing” them. There are loads of local cheap races I enter and just run for the sheer joy of running with other people and getting a medal at the end :-)

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:20

      I totally get the running of races with a group of people just at a fun pace BUT since I always run by myself – I always figure I might as well see what I can do :|

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:21

      Can’t swim very well :|

  • kitty Tuesday, 12 May 2015 at 08:43

    For the whole run and before and after it, I was scanning everybody’s bibs for their names in hope of meeting you – I just had that feeling that you could use some cheering up (I remembered you hated it last year). Unfortunately, you’re so much faster than me that I must never have gotten close enough to seeing you:)

    Don’t give up on Hackney yet, please! They’d improved a lot since the last year (starting from having the race more than a month earlier) and I hope they’ll improve more. I do most of my runs in and around Olympic Park and I could totally advise them on how to make the course a lot nicer. It’s true that running your last km between a multistorey car park and a construction site won’t exactly make you appreciate the Olympic legacy :P

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:22

      That is so awesome that you were looking for me! As for the names on the race numbers – mine confuses the heck out of people so no one never ever shouts my name. The Jane’s and Nick’s around me get cheers but not me. Must change my name, I think :)

      PS. Did you send them feedback about the route??

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:23

      What’s the next race you’re running? :)

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:24

      Hate Stratford. And I was almost taken out by a guy who fell on the gravel – including a sharp corner straight onto gravel is always a great idea when planning a race! ;)

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:25

      After the race I remembered that you were marshalling but during it I didn’t look up much to notice anything around me :|

    • MrsB Wednesday, 13 May 2015 at 12:25

      What’s the next race in your calendar??