Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting this. To say I have been knackered since Sunday is an understatement, I mean, there I was in Prezzo after the race, having a lovely time with all the athoners, and not only did I leave half of my pasta dinner (most unlike me), I then wimped out of BEER drinking to celebrate the fact that it was all over! In fact, I felt that wrong, I thought someone had slipped me a hash cake as it felt like I was pulling a whitey of the like not seen since uni days and 36 hour trips to Amsterdam! I did however manage to finish my cheesecake as what’s the point of running a half marathon if you can’t eat cheesecake afterwards eh? Thank you to Rachel and Louise for supplying me with water for the (much longer than normal) journey home, thanks too to Helen, Cathy, Jimmy and Shaun for putting up with me looking slightly glassy eyed and being a teensy bit fractious throughout the meal ( I remember being particularly sarky to Jimmy at one point – sorry, I have no defense other than I was very tired, in pain and hungry!). So, how did I get to that point?
Well, my day started with the alarm shrieking at me to get up at 5.30am. regular readers will know I am NOT a morning person, so despite the fact I had gone to bed early to compensate, I didn’t start the day happy. Thanks to delays I was also late meeting Rachel and Louise but happpily we still had time for a chat and a latte befre making our way to Hyde Park…where we were met with HUGE baggage and loo queues. I am quickly learning this is normal at races, and that I should head for the loo queue 1st (although don’t all of you start doing that because then it will throw off the equilibrium – my strategy only works on the basis that you’ll dump your bag first…). We made it through both queues with enoough time to get to our starting pen and hear the race formally started. We crossed the line at 9.38am which I thought was pretty good considering we were the 2nd to last colour to start.
As normal, it took me a litte while to get into my pace. I ran with Rachel and Alma – Louise started with us but she has a faster natural pace so after a while drifted ahead and we wished her good luck. Rachel was doing a better job of keeping us around the 11m30 pace than I did at RTTB – although you can’t help but get caught up in al the excitement and my 1st two miles were done in 11.02 then 11.11. The course itself is pretty flat, and Rachel and Alma being more experienced runners were chatting away whilst I was quite happy to listen and chirp in if I had the breath every now and then. We seemed to get to the Embankment bit really quickly – and Alma and I both broke our nemesis by running for most of it, and I got chatting to a lovely bloke called Derek who took up running in April to celebrate 60 and was doing his 1st half marathon despite only having run 8 miles as his longest run previously – I hope you finished well Derek!
At 5 and a half ish miles we went back into the park and saw the 9 mile marker but it was ON THE OTHER SIDE where there were also lots of other runners…hm OK. I thought, I can handle passing faster people once, but that once went on for a LOOOONG time. Then we passed the 7 mile marker and saw the 10 mile marker on the other side. Knowing that I had 3 miles and at least 30 minutes running to get there played on my mind and from that point I just seemed to lose my mojo. I made it past the distance at which I wobbled in RTTB (10.5m) only to crash at 11m. I just ran out of juice. I was annoyed – I had eaten more before the race this time and had had a couple of jelly babies whilst we were going round. I downed the 170ml bottle of Bio-Synergy Pure Energy that I had made up ready but I think it was too late – I probably needed to have drunk it about 30 minutes earlier. Rachel was feeling good so she sped off and Alma was (I think) at the point where she couldn’t stop so somewhere between 12-13m I told her to go on ahead, and scrabbled to the end with a mixtue of walking fast and little bursts of running whilst couting in my head.
I know – I sound mad as a fish, but when I get to that point I find the counting helps me cope – the way I count to 100 takes about half a mile, so I needed to do it 4 times. When I reached the finishing straight, I knew I was close to getting the same time as before, and in my head I wanted to sprint to the end, but my legs would not co-operate. I limped in at a slow trot which would have slowed to a walk had I not been buoyed up by my bestie Michelle and her fella Russell bellowing at me 50 metres from the end to keep on running! Thanks guys! I finished in 2h 33m 49s, unbelievably, just 17 SECONDS slower than RTTB. I was gutted. But with 2 days to reflect on it (and lots of support from my tweeps) I can look at it and say actually it was only the 2nd half marathon I have ever run, it was 14 days after I did my first one and to finish with ONLY 17 seconds difference in time is pretty bloody awesome and shows that I am consistent and that RTTB was not a fluke. I have decided not to download any of the photos as I think I have enough of me from Regents Park and RTTB looking both fresh (and fat) and defeated (and fat) and I am not going to buy any more race photos until I have lost at least 2 atone so I look like a runner not a lump of lard melting across the line!
So, my impression of RPH. It gets a 6 out of 10 from me – here’s why:
I got in on a 2nd chance ballot which I didn’t remember entering and I thought I hadn’t got a place which was a nice bonus.
It starts/finishes in Hyde Park which is my fave London park and is easy to get to.
It started bang on time and didn’t take overly long to filter us slower runners through.
It was well marshalled and supported
I got in on a 2nd chance ballot which I didn’t remember entering so had already enetered and paid for another half marathon within 2 weeks of the date.
There was no seperate area for participants – at RTTB only runners could get into the baggage area and toilet queues which meant everyone around you was thinking and feeling the same ass you (mainly FUUUUCK if these bastards don’t hurry up I am not going to make it to the start on time!). However, at RPH this wasn’t the case, and I heard spectators MOANING about the Q. er HELLO??? Are you about to run 13.1 miles? No. Are you going to have to try to squeeze every last drop out of your bladder so that you don’t need to use the loo for at least another 3 hours despite the fact that during those 3 hours you are going to drink at least 1.5l of fluid? Er, NO. OK, SO STOP YOUR BLOODY WHINGEING AND WAIT TIL THE RACE STARTS TO USE THE LOO YOU SELFISH BASTARDS! Phew, thanks I feel better for that rant. Sorry if you were a spectator, but just thnk how frustrating it is for us runners seeing you in the queue in front of us at 9.25, when the race starts at 9.30 and after that time you would have them to yourselves.
The crossing of the route so much. I HATED the amount of time I was running along with faster runners coming towards me 3 miles farther on. And it didn’t make me feel any better when I passed slower runners coming the other way as all I could htink about was how bad they must feel. Also, we had only done 5.5 miles when we got into the park which means a massive 7.5 miles of them (yes I can count .1 is finished on the road!) is done in the park itself. For some reason when I got back to the Hyde Park it felt like we should have been well over half way. I don’t know why but there it is.
Did I enjoy it? Mm, maybe I’ve just got the arse because I didn’t get a PB, however I won’t be doing this race again. I loved meeting up with the athoners, it was great to start the race with 3 people around me that have supported me on my journey from the start, and if I could have that in every race I would. But that could happen at any race. I preferred the RTTB course and before/after area much more than this one – Probably because, due to the proximity of the o2, I had a beer in my hand only 15 mins after finishing the and after all is said and done – we all run for beer don’t we!