It happened. The Most Amazing Race. The race where all the planets align and you run an excellent PB AND you also love the entire distance.
I had almost started to believe that a race of that kind wasn’t possible. That you either ran fast for a PB (while wanting to throw up the whole time) and only enjoyed the PB glory bit afterwards OR you ran slower and enjoyed the running while you’re running.
I had no clear expectations from Sunday’s Ealing Half marathon. I don’t run for more than 12km at a time these days and even though I do intervals of some sort once a week, my pace on my “long” runs hasn’t been that speedy.
I enjoyed Ealing last year so figured that if I couldn’t beat my PB of 1:44:21 by at least a few seconds, I’d just plod around the course and enjoy the sunshine.
To beat 1:44 I had to keep my average pace below 4:57 min/km. The course is a bit up & down so my splits were not consistent but I passed everyone going downhill (are people scared of running downhill fast?) and after 10km started passing most people going uphill as well.
I had one brief black mental moment after the 7km mark. I’d been going at a good fast pace & then all of a sudden thought “Ugh. Still so long to go.” Thankfully the optimist side of my brain took over and said “What’s your problem? Is anything actually hurting? No? Legs – no. Feet – no. Lungs – no. You’re feeling great so keep pushing the pace!”
By the time 10km came I was flying. Thinking I only had 11km to go was great, it seemed so short.
I kept an eye on my Garmin and saw that my average was no longer hovering around 4:56-4:59 but was actually getting lower and lower than 4:56. I like when my legs surprise me during a race :)
The final km long loop around Lammas Park was a bit mental – it’s always hard when you can see the finish line but have to go a long way around a loop to get there.
But I got there. Crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and looked – 1:42.24. I felt a little bit nauseous but not wanting to throw up so was quite surprised at just how good the race felt at that pace.
I had been doubting my running lately, thinking whether I’d hit a plateau and wouldn’t get faster anymore but lo and behold – I am still getting faster!