John's Surrey Half-Marathon Race Report
My first start line in 10 months. Since April last year the only “events” I’d participated in had been my less-than-glorious, tooth infection scuppered Sheffield Half Marathon and the equally unsuccessful Thames Path Ultra attempt; both gutsy (but ultimately failed) efforts… and so to 2014.
The field was stacked and the organisers clearly wanted to assemble a field to rival Bath and Reading, the other premier Southern Half Marathons. With three Kenyans on the start line and a handful of 2:15-2:20 marathoners the podium was always out of my grasp but I was hoping to post a sub-70 minute effort. My training had been going well and for the first time in a while I was feeling OK about how much weight I was carrying.
The pace from the gun was quick and the true elites disappeared within the first mile. Unfortunately the heavy legs I’d had the day before hadn’t decided to do the same and I knew by mile 2 that it was going to be slog. Faced with the decision between throttling back from a 1:09.30 schedule and maybe bringing it home just over 70 minutes or continuing at a pace which I knew was suicidal I obviously chose the latter hoping for a miracle. 10k passed by in 32:49 and I went through half way in 34:40. Unfortunately from the turnaround home there was a persistent head wind and my earlier pace started to take a toll. By 15k I was in trouble slowly slipped back to 3:30/k.
After a tough last 3 miles I eventually crossed the line in 71 and change. Not what I wanted but equally not a terrible return to racing. I was in my head a bit after the race but a conversation with Steve helped – three big weeks (75-90miles), a bit of pre-race nerves and most of my training done at target marathon pace all contributed.
There’s now just over 4 weeks until London which means head down and don’t panic. I’ll be racing Croydon HM in two weeks which will be at marathon pace and then Sheffield the week after where it’s sub 70 or bust! A race strategy which has obviously served me well thus far…
Here's Mo Farah giving his all after the new york half marathon didn't quite go to plan