Woke early on Sunday - it was a gorgeous day; sunny but cool - perfect for running. We got the most packed train into Bath (think Central Line at 6pm on a Friday!). I was slightly concerned by my lack of nerves - was I denial or did I actually feel as though I’d done enough preparation..?
Headed off to the slow runners’ pen (i.e. the last one!) and eventually crossed the start line at 13 minutes. All was good for the first mile, then my calf began to twinge. It felt *so* tight and I could feel it all the way down my calf and into my foot. I kept going for another mile or so, but it became too painful. I had awful visions of having to pull out after only two miles! I ran across to the pavement and really stretched my leg out, fortunately it felt fine after that and didn’t give me any hassle for the rest of the race. Phew!
There was a long, cold wait for drinks, timing chip removal, medals and goody bags (not great planning by the organisers - 11,000 people going through an alley less than 5 metres wide). There is and has been many moans about the Bath half in terms of organisation, but I must just comment on the crowd support - it was amazing. There was barely an inch of the course thata didn't have people cheering the runners on, and in several sections the crowds were 5 people deep! People had steroes playing music out of their windows, chairs set up in their front gardens and children wanting high fives! It makes such a difference hearing cheers and shouts of encouragement all the way round. I thought the atmosphere during the race was brilliant :)
Bath is a two lap course, so my plan was to run 11 minute miles for the first lap and then aim for 12 minute miles to mile 10 and then hope I could struggle through the last 3 miles. The first lap flew by and I managed to match my 10km PB, so all was going well :) The longest race I’d previously run was the Great South Run which is 10 miles (in October). I’d hit a huge wall at 8 miles and really struggled with the last two, so I was expecting this to happen again (although hopefully further on than mile 8!). Mile 8 came and went, then I was halfway round the second lap, still feeling fine. I passed mile 10 (just over 15 minutes quicker than my Great South Run time! :D), legs still felt strong. Around the 12 mile sign, my legs started to tire and feel a bit sore, but I thought with just over a mile to go I wasn’t about to slow down or stop now! The last mile was a gentle uphill (just what you want at that point in the race!), I turned a corner and could see the finish line, a final push for the last 200 metres and I was done! :)
The Bath website has been down since the race finished (again, not great), but I finally received an email this morning confirming my time as 2hours 20 minutes and 25seconds! :D
Needless to say, I have a very big grin on my face! Aside from the last mile, I’m surprised at how comfortable I found the whole thing - I guess the training has been working. I can’t wait to do my next one, and will definitely have my sights on a sub 2:15 time :)