Today was the second test in my training for the London Marathon. The objective: run a half marathon in 1 hour and 50 minutes. We headed to Bath for the weekend to combine a weekend getaway with the Bath Half Marathon. I’ll tell you about the race here and we’ll post about the rest of the weekend later.
The general advice with big races is to pace yourself at the start. It is east to get caught up in the excitement and start too fast — then run out of gas. Today, I had the opposite problem. I was in the last starting group and had about 10,000 people in front of me. The crowd filled the street from edge to edge and they weren’t moving as fast I wanted to go. I tried weaving in and out and running on the sidewalk to speed up, but there was no room. At one point heading into Queen Square in the middle of town, the congestion was too much. The entire field around me came to a dead stop for a good 10 seconds. I was behind pace and had a lot of ground to make up.
Just before the 3 mile mark a bicycle came tearing down the right side almost knocking people over. The race marshal riding the bicycle screamed repeatedly ‘move left’. A police car followed along with a truck displaying a large digital clock on the back reading 40:00. The race leader, Simon Tonui from Kenya quickly ran past. I had been lapped!
To be fair, he had a 15 minute head start on me due to the staggered start. I had only been running 25 minutes at that point. The technology with these races is great — each person has a chip tied on thier laces to record their start and stop time, so no matter when you start, you get an accurate time. This actually worked to my advantage — with a clear lane on the right, I was able to skirt the edge, start to overtake people, and make up some time.
The theme for the rest of the race was passing. I imagine I passed about 5000 people. I made up a lot of time and ended up finishing the race in 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was a great race and I felt great!
K did a great job cheering. We set up location tracking so she could see my position as I ran. My parents also joined in, watching my progress State-side.