English Half Marathon
So even though the triathlon season has officially finished for me, I still look for other events to compete in so thought the English Half Marathon would be a great event to race in. It was a good benchmark to see how I've progressed this year with my running and also to track my progress over the winter period.
Prior to the race I have had some difficulties with my lower back. For reasons I can't explain I seem to have a strain in my lower back and have had several physiotherapy sessions which have helped relieve it a little bit (thanks to The Physiotherapy Clinic and Physiostation). However, my back still isn't in great condition and I have avoided running over the past 10 days to help the recovery process. Even when I arrived at the race I tried warming up and felt sharp pains in my back but I'm a fighter so persevered!
The race started well and being near the front of the start line helped get a good start. After just 2km I started to get blister pain on the outside of my left foot which wasn't what I wanted but knew it was probably down to my back pain as I think I was running slightly differently. Soon after the pain went away and I just focused on the race ahead.
From 2km to 8km it was all uphill which was a struggle but was rather glad that the climbing was at the start of the race than near the end. I managed to form a pack with several people going up the hill which allowed us to rotate the front person a bit but I soon realised the pace was slowing down so increased my cadence and moved on bringing one other person with me.
I stayed with the other guy until we reached Appleton but he soon sped ahead and I knew I needed to take it easy as I was starting to tire. However from then onward I knew it was predominately downhill.
I felt good coming down the hill, but admittedly started to get some sharp pains in my back. I wouldn't let this get me down though. As soon as we reached Victoria Park I knew there wasn't far left to go and tried to keep up with two guys who just passed me. Entering Warrington town centre I picked up the pace trying to make a gap with the two guys I had stayed with.
The last couple of kms were tough. Blisters had got the better of me a bit but I never quit! The finish line would soon be approaching me.
In the end I completed the half marathon in a personal best time of 1:23:26 positioning 39th out of 2182!
I'm actually amazed of the progress I've over the past few years. When I started university I couldn't even run a sub 20 minute 5km run but now I can run at a quicker pace over a half marathon distance.
I've also managed to take off slightly less than 6 minutes off my half marathon time in only 9 months! It just shows that dedication and hard work pays off.
Recovering with a nice High5 protein recovery shake and High5 Zero topped off a good morning. I can't wait to train smarter over the winter period and see some more improvements next year.