As some of you may be aware I ran the Reading Half Marathon yesterday. This was my first half marathon for a while and it was a great chance to see how fast I have become due to putting in the miles in December, January and February. I had been looking forward to this race for the last 3 or 4 months really, mainly due to the quick-ish course, Madejski Stadium finish and HUGE medal!!
Something I struggled with last week was tapering. I have recently been getting in more miles and have ben really enjoying it, using my long runs to explore London. I found it hard to not run on certain days and last weeks “taper” ended up including a 23 miler on the Saturday and a 20 miler & 7 miler on Monday, this was to “celebrate” reaching 500 followers on Twitter and run those 50 miles as part of a challenge I set myself, which you may have read about in my last blog. This was maybe not the best idea a week before Reading but I enjoyed it so that’s all that matters.
I had heard bits and pieces about the Reading Half course, mainly that it was pretty quick and this was one of the main reasons I decided to do it. I would now agree on the most part that it is a quick course, but a couple of the hills/pulls are pretty hard work especially the one between 7 and 8 miles. Overall though the course was speedy, some reasonable inclines but then some really nice flat and downhill sections. I really enjoyed the race yesterday, I started in the red starting pen but worked my way up through the field and for me this is a good confidence booster. Previously doing the Bristol Half in 2013 I started in one of if not the first pen and I ended up moving back through the field. This for me was really demoralising and therefore I tend to prefer to start a bit further back and try and work my way up. I wouldn’t put this down to comparing myself to other people, as I would say I always race myself, but just to see others going past at consummate ease is slightly frustrating when you may be trying hard and not getting anywhere fast.
Before the start of the race Tony the Fridge was on hand to gee everyone up! This took shape in the form of a standard “Oggy, Oggy, Oggy, Oi, Oi, Oi!” (is that how you spell Oggy!?) Classic. I recently tweeted a few inspirational people and it just so happens that Tony the Fridge was one of these people. I am amazed at how far this guy can travel with a fridge on his back, I don’t think I could do the distances he’s done carrying a Kettle let alone a Fridge! Thanks so much for inspiring me Tony and you definitely contributed to me getting a PB in this race.
This race for me was pretty key in telling me where i’m at with my Manchester Marathon training and it also shows that putting in those miles during December, January and February have paid off and all been worth while in terms of fitness. I believe my PB for a half before was around the 1:22, 1:24 mark before so this was a good step in the right direction. My last Half marathon time was actually 1:31 at the Great West (Exeter) Run, so to take approximately 11 minutes off that time in about 6 or so months has been good. That 1:31 was the day after playing 90 minutes of football but still. This race has been a good confidence booster for me and I know i’m going in the right direction I just need to up the miles and speed now ahead of Manchester on April 6th.
The results above show that I finished 254th, this was out of a field of 14,261 which i’m pretty chuffed with. I also finished 8th provisionally in my age category of under 23s which is a good start to this years racing. Whenever I’ve done a race I always think what’s next. I waited a fair few months for this race and now it’s been and gone it’s rather strange but I can’t wait for Manchester now. I always like to think of the finish line of each race as the start line to my next lot of training and race.
As I mentioned earlier the medal was one of the biggest motivating factors in doing this race (i’m wearing it now!) Also that finish in the Stadium was incredible and i’m starting to imagine the finish in Manchester outside of Old Trafford now. This race was a good race for me to as I know a lot of people that did it and absolutely smashed it. Well done to Stephen Adjaidoo! I run with Stephen at Nike and he was aiming to go sub 1:45. He ended up doing a 1:40:06 which is epic, good luck with Paris Marathon training and the race, sure it will be amazing!
Well done to all you guys that took part in either the Reading, Silverstone, Bath, Turnbridge Wells, Bideford and other Halfs yesterday, i’ve enjoyed tweeting and facebooking alot of you congratulating you on awesome times and great races!
Somebody that smashed another Half yesterday was Greg Woodhouse aka Robin aka my sisters boyfriend. He did the Bath Half as his first Half and completed it in 2 hours and 5 minutes, well done Greg and your accomplice Batman! The next challenge for Greg is a sub 2 or maybe sub 1:45 Half and I have agreed to pace this if he wants. Part of this deal may mean I end up in a swimming pool for a bit, could be interesting! (armbands at the ready!!)
This blog has been a bit serious for my liking so to end I thought I would share what actually made my day yesterday. It wasn’t the Reading Half medal, time, finish, or PB…
It was this lad having fun and running into a GIANT inflatable Mizuno Wave Inspire 10! I think Everyone should go through life like this, find something you enjoy and do it again and again! If it’s running then do that, if it is running… into a large inflatable trainer then do that.. for a while!
Thanks for all the tweets, comments, likes etc etc on Facebook and Twitter the last few days, really appreciate the words of encouragement and support!
P.s. No-one or large inflatable Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 was hurt in the making of this blog!