To keep us motivated through the darker, wetter and definitely colder months we set ourselves a target race for the start of the year, the Inskip Derby Arms Half Marathon. This was to be Wendy’s longest race and the build up was going well until, at the start of December, she tripped over a grid, gashed her knee and badly sprained her wrist. After a couple of visits to A&E it was splinted and although not broken she was signed off work until just after the Christmas break (no pun intended… honest). This didn’t help training one bit so it was understandable that she was a little nervous as we arrived at HMS Inskip and met up with a few people from SRC Chorley, the group we run with, and collected our numbers from the registration tent.
After the obligatory pre-race visit to the portaloos it was soon time to assemble at the start. My plan was to run at an approximate pace of 5:15 per kilometer but I still went off to fast, putting in sub 5 minute kilometers as Neil and I stupidly followed one of my faster friends from SRC. It felt good though as we ran through the countryside, up and down roads I’d never visited before and past some rather exclusive looking properties.
There were the obligatory puddles which were more like lakes and either involved some rather nifty footwork or a drenching, I’m still not sure which is best the best tactic. The half way point arrived without incident and not really enjoying the sensation of eating a snack and drinking while running, I walked through the drinks station while re-fueling.
This was my undoing… I obviously drank too much or too quickly as about 15 minutes after re starting my run I started to develop a pain in my chest which after a while became more than a little uncomfortable. I slowed to a walk, just in case it was serious but thankfully developed into a stitch. It was a bit of a scare and looking at it now I should have just run though it but at the time, a pain in my chest panicked me a little. I don’t think I’ve ever been pleased to get a full-on stitch before though.
After this episode I couldn’t really get going to my pre-stop pace although I did manage to finish the last quarter of the race averaging my pre race predicted pace. It was great to finish my 2nd road half marathon cheered through the finish by some of our speedier SRC friends and a few others who couldn’t run due to injury or who just wanted to be there as support. Running certainly does connect people in a positive way and it’s this sense of community that is one of the reasons why I run.
So I learned a few things, things I realistically already knew but ignored;
- Don’t follow people you know are faster than yourself and stick to your pacing plan no matter how good you feel at the start.
- Don’t drink too much at the drinks stations to avoid stitches.
- Learn to drink and eat on the run, little and often I think.
After picking up my bag of goodies I waited at the finish to cheer in the rest of the SRC Chorley crew. Wendy finished her first half marathon in just over 2:32, her longest run to date and as normal somehow managed a sprint finish, I’ve no idea where she get the energy at the end as I’m mostly dead as I come through the finish line. I managed to knock nearly 7 minutes of my previous half marathon time from Freckleton and came in at 1:48:35 nearly 2 minutes faster than my ’hoped for’ pace.
Next stop, Mad dog 10k in Southport in a couple of weeks, the anniversary of our first ever race. I hope it’s a bit warmer than last year.