Manchester Half Marathon

I didn’t have a proper rest after my marathon in September a month back, going from one race to another, from recovery to tapering and back. There was no proper time to train for this event, I was tired from continuous pushing my body so expectations were low.

Race details
Date: 14 October 2018
Location: Manchester, UK
Temperature: 14C degrees (raining)
MCR HALF 2018
Distance: 21.0975 km
Time: 1:57:37
Half Marathons completed: #4

Race
It started raining minutes after we have parked the car. There was about a 10 minute walk to the bag drop. It was cold. We were a bit early so there was a little bit of time to do some easy running around to warm up. Waiting in running vests in this sort of weather, waiting for your wave to start, wouldn’t be very nice. We were prepared and armed with the newest high fashion must have: bin bags. Protected from rain and wind we had to split up and head for our start line zones.

My unofficial PB was from last marathon was 2:12:00, and I would be happy breaking it even few minutes, but my real dream, I revealed to a few, was to go under 2h. I knew it wasn’t realistic so I didn’t set my hopes on it. I didn’t have the training, energy and was still injured. Even though I had a draft plan in my head. I knew to get it I would have to keep a pace of 5:40min/km throughout the whole course. I was aiming to go first kilometre easy, around 6:00min/km, and then go down a bit under 5:40. I was not very experienced with keeping continuously the same pace so I was frequently checking my watch to make sure I am not too slow (or too fast). There was a little crisis between 13-15 km. On 13km I took one jelly baby from a cheering person and was waiting for 16th km, where I promised to myself I will have a treat of 1 caffeine bullet candy I was storing in my bra for the final kick on last 5km. I didn’t want to take any energy gels – they were provided on every water station for those who wished to use them.
Looking at my splits after the race I was pretty surprised I managed to keep them quite consistent.

The power was back. I didn’t want to start speeding up too soon to have enough energy to sprint the finish. I’m still struggling to be able to determine how much fuel I have left in the tank. Plan was to speed up around 19th km, so I did. It felt amazing.

Key points to remember were to keep my pace consistent and spot on through the course and to find someone in front of me to help me pace myself. The thing was with my consistent pace, surprisingly I kept on taking over people the whole way. It was a good feeling. When I speeded up after hitting 19km mark (it wasn’t a huge difference in pace but I could feel it in my legs and see it in amount of people I was taking over), I started breathing more heavily. Looking at my official race photos though, I kept having the same face expression of a resting bitch face. Some people are showing tremendous amounts of pain, and in general are very expressive. Me? No. Same face over and over. This and the feeling that I still had some energy left at the end of the race makes me feel I still can push much harder and be much faster. I am learning so much about myself and my running with every race!

The route was mostly flat with few, maybe 3 or 4 little baby hills. Nothing too bad or significant but you could feel it in your legs and speed drop. It was raining through the whole time. When I saw the finish line I speed up even more. I had this euphoric feeling in my chest, because I was breathing so fast and because I checked my watch and I knew I will make it under 2 hours with few minutes to spare!

It was incredible! I was so happy and couldn’t believe I cut whole 15 minutes off from my PB! 1:57:37 – there was enough wiggle time to go for a toilet break!

Gear

No name headband/buff I bought in Nepal for pennies
Sweaty Betty No Gravity running leggings
NB Running Shoes
Caterpy Laces (so you don’t have to worry about stopping and fixing your laces while running)
Race belt
Sweaty Betty Ultra Run bra (the best running bra ever)
No name racing vest (with my name on it)
Garmin Forerunner 235

Summary

It was a good fight, and now I know I can go even harder on myself during my next challenge. Your training is a very important foundation but your head and willingness is what will take you through the finish line. I was buzzing positive energy for quite some time, singing “We are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Chris on the way back from Manchester. We both did great, got PBs we dreamt about and were coming back to London happy and proud of each other. It was a good race!

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