Marathon training #2 – 13.1 miles

I said that the half-marathon was going to give me a good idea of progress, and it has.

The good news at least is that I can at least get round the first 13 miles of the course. The bad news is that I don’t think I could have taken another step. Things aren’t desperate yet, but I do have some hard work to do now to get in shape for the big one.

Hastings half-marathon
It all started fairly badly with the most chaotic and stressful starts I’ve ever had. We got to Hastings with what I thought was a reasonable 45 minutes to spare, however, what with traffic almost at a standstill and then nowhere to park I nearly didn’t make it. I was also busting for the loo and there were no toilets, ahhhh.

Always check out the route of a race. I didn’t and found that this race was amazingly hilly. Significant amounts of the first 5 miles are up-hill with one stretch of 2 miles continuously! This was fairly tough and I was very glad of my hill training at home. After the first 5 miles the route undulated or was flat or downhill which was good as my legs were about done.

I kept going through the unseasonably warm March weather (it really was a beautiful day), but I increasingly found as time went on that I was passing less and less people and many more were passing me.

During the race I gave a strategy that I’d read about a go. In this race I walked through all the water stops, tried to drink the cup and additionally threw a cup over my head. I still found drinking much water a struggle, but the pause was always welcome.

I was very grateful to see the ten mile marker as I ran through Hastings old town as I was fairly beat by now and I knew that it was just a run along the front to the finish. Those last miles, however, I found very tough and it was mostly will power that kept me going. Things got particularly desperate when I didn’t see the 11 mile marker and it seemed like forever before the 12 came into view.

I eventually made the finish line, though I couldn’t manage a final sprint. Very tired. Spent. Happy.

Summary
The Hastings half-marathon is a tough and hilly race and I only just made the finish. I did just about get in under two hours though, which is a plus. Not sure I’d do this race again, too much hassle to get to the start.

Now the real hard work begins…

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