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.