This pas weekend I decided to try my hand at a nice fast road race, the Edinburgh Marathon Festival Half Marathon. I had decided to do it with one of my teammates a few months ago, after having done the Team Relay the year before. With exams and general end of the year chaos I must admit I had let my training slip for the last few weeks and had not worked up the motivation to run at all for the last few days leading up to the race. That being said, I ate a massive helping of Bacon, Macaroni, and Cheese on Saturday night and went to bed for a 4 a.m. wake up to drive down to Edinburgh on the Sunday. The morning brought bleak weather; though it was not particularly cold, it was quite wet and grey. We made it out of the lines for the bathrooms for the final time just to get to the start line before the gun went off.
The first few miles were pretty quick. I had previously estimated that we would need to be under 3:43 per kilometer if we wanted to hit our target time of 1:18, and our first few were much closer to 3:23. It rained steadily for the first half of the race, or so, and we eased off to about a 3:30/k pace. As we hit the section that runs along the coast, the rain abated somewhat but was immediately replaced with a gusty wind. Up to this point I had been running based on pacing from my watch, but I was feeling pretty comfortable so I decided to relax a bit and go with the flow.
A runner in a red vest came up next to Chris and myself, and seemed to be making his way up through the ranks. So I decided to let him push me along and run some people down with him. I stuck with him until about the 10 mile mark, by which point the sun was beginning to poke out and the weather had become oppressively humid. Definitely feeling my extended “tapering” at this point I finally let him push past me. I was really starting to feel exhausted at this point, and the long, straight, flat, out-and-back final section was not helping. Luckily, there were tons of spectators for the final section, which was awesome and definitely helped push me through to the end. I got to see several of my friends who were headed out on my way back, and even a few of the people who I train with among the spectators who encouraged me to give a final kick as I drew close to the end.
I finally rounded the corner to the finish line after what seemed like it could have been a 6 mile stretch, saw that I had less than 30 seconds to get to the line before the clock hit 1:18, and so I sprinted as hard as I could possibly go. Ultimately, I crossed the line at 1:18:02, placing 35th out of 9652 competitors in the Half. Needless to say I was quite pleased, if physically ill after I crossed the line. All in all, not a bad day!