Monday, 14 February 2011

Wokingham Half Marathon 2011 - RACE REPORT

It's a beautifully sunny Monday morning as I look out of the office window right now and the question I have to ask myself is 'why couldn't we have had this yesterday'. Nope instead on a cold, blustery, drizzly, and quite frankly horrible day, I put on some shorts (and sensibly) a long sleeve top and aimed to complete my first Half Marathon since that disturbing Lisbon one in March 2010.

I'd avoided running the week before as I had those first snotty and sores signs of a cold and concentrated on getting myself well but I was looking forward to this race. It was going to be a push as I had only been running properly again since the beginning of the year but an achievable one.

We were running a little late and by the time the gun went off, we were still getting ready but luckily it took a good 5 mins for the field to go through to the start so we joined where we should do, near the back, and jogged on. Eatingtrees apologised pretty early on (not that he needed to) and said he was going to be anti-social and plug his tunes straight in so I got to listen to the sound of my own breathing for a bit. 1st mile was run in 8.43 and at that point I got into a little rhythm and was off on my own. Miles 2, 3, 4 and 5 all felt OK so I did a quick bit of mental calculation and found that I had mildly increase the pace to about 8:35-8:40's but I was starting to feel it.


There are many completely right angled corners on this course and as such the wind suddenly takes you by surprise. I particularly remember the 4m sign was on a left 90 degree bend and as I went round it, the wind hit me side on as it came down across the fields. I started looking around for people who were bigger than me to shelter behind but most runners are considerably thinner than me. 

Around this point was also where I found one of my personal running annoyances. 2 people running together, both listening loudly to music as I could hear the bass yet trying to have a normal conversation. BY SHOUTING. For about a mile, their voices were all I could hear. It was probably wrong but all I wanted to do was push them both into a hedge. Then point and laugh. I didn't.

At around 5.5-6 miles, a friend I used to work with came along side me and we ran for a couple of miles together and had a catch-up about work, fatherhood and the lack of disposable income and then we wished each other luck and he pushed on. That little interlude helped me forget the fear so I was extremely grateful and although slowing, was OK to plod on.

Miles 8 and 9 came and went quite quickly and as I was now heading back on the route we came out on, I knew where the 10 mile mark was and got there up the hill. Now I was coming to unknown territory as my max training run had been 10.4 miles as if on cue, suddenly my legs felt like lead.

The 11 mile marker took an age to turn up but then as I approached the second hill over the A329(M) I saw my mate from earlier having a walking break up the hill. Now I knew that if I could catch him, he could keep me going and get me to the end. I reckon it took the best part of a mile to make up about 20 yards on him once he got running again but another quick chat about how much pain we were in and I continued on.

I ran over the line, hit the stop watch and then started searching for Mrs HMC who had my hoodie. The rain was heavier now and within a few minutes, I was freezing but knew I had to stay near the finish in order to find both the Mrs HMC and eatingtrees. I ended up wandering round like a lost child, backwards and forwards but after a while, we were all together again and headed back to the cars and home.

My time... Well depends on my watch or my chip time. They've always been within a second or 2 but for this race, I have a watch time of 1:57:02 and a chip time of 1:56:37. Which one do I take?!?!?

Oh and as for running without music, it is fine of a town/city race but with one that is all on country roads, things like 'ooh, another field' or 'ooh some horses' isn't quite enough mental motivation to keep me going. Roll on CPC in the Hague where they'll be plenty going on to keep me occupied.


  1. Well done! My time was about 30s faster than my watch too - I think they must have taken the chip time from the second set of mats (i.e. the finish) as we ran from the start. I can't believe how different the weather is this morning!

  2. Under two hours! Yay! It was bloody windy yesterday too, you did very well to stay upright by the sounds of it, let alone move forward.

    Yes, you should have pushed those idiots in the hedge.