Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bird In Hand Half Marathon - 9th September 2013

What an event, loved every minute of it.

Parking and packet pickup on Friday night was a breeze, big improvements over last year. They even had a choice of race shirts, now when do you ever see that.

Bren had her first competitive 5k on the Friday evening. after which we had a couple of beers and a nice meal in a local hostelry, that we discovered when we were in town for the Garden Spot Village half in April. We went back to the hotel and hit the sack, after checking that the alarm was very definately set for 6am. Bren wasn;t sure if she was going to be coming for the race due to her IOMS* from her 5k. I also grabbed a couple of bananas on our drive over as a per race snack.

6am, the alarm went off, I grabbed my kit, got Bren up and off we went. Got there nice and early and got ourselves parked and ready to rock. The race was going to be a little bigger this year, but due to good organisation, you couldn't really tell. Conditions were absolutely perfect, beautiful blue sky, start time temps at around 45F. I had my virtual partner pace set for 9:09 which would get me in at sub 2 hours, but all I really wanted was to come in faster than last year (2:06:46), which would mean a sub 9:39 pace. The main thing is, in any race is to finish uninjured.

We wandered around a little before the start, soaking up the atmosphere, we ended up with more time than we anticipated due to the awesome parking. I enjoy pre race anticipation, especially when everything else is done and all you have to do is get started, all very cool.

So off to the start, as usual there was the whole milling around thing, waiting for the last minute speeches and anthems, etc. The horn went and we were off. I knew the course well and remembered how nasty a fair amount of it was from last year.Owing to the usual start line business, ie people walking at the front of the pack, groups of two & three people running together in a line, hills etc, my first mile was my slowest of the race @ 8:58, which on a good day, isn't too shabby. During the second the pack spread out, significantly and I managed to find a gap and enjoy it, between this and a long, gradual downhill, I hit my fastest mile @ 8:09.

Reasons to be chuffed
  • I wanted to try and beat last years time, ended up 13 minutes ahead of last year, my second fastest half marathon time overall & my first sub 2hr marathon of 2013.
  • My splits are nice and consistent, my fastest mile was mile two (8:09), my slowest was mile one (8:58), other miles varied by only a few seconds either way, my average being 8:37.
  • I fuelled almost exactly the way I wanted. Started with a GU about 15 minutes beforeand a couple of bananas before the race, alternating sips of water & gatorade during the race and a GU after just over an hour.
  • No unshceduled walking, which killed me last year.
Reasons to be miffed
  • What is it with runners playing music through smartphone speakers; a) sounds horrendous; b) what makes them think other people share the same tastes in music - solution, use headphones or don't listen to music, please.
  • Slow runners and walkers starting at the front of the field, jeez people, can you not just start nearer the back, please, huh?
* IOMS - Most people suffer from DOMS a couple of days after exercise, not Bren, she gets IOMS (Immediate Onset Muscle Soreness, as opposed to Delayed)

Random pics from a great couple of days

Bren, before her 5k, trying to look
like it is after her 5k...

Hot air balloon take off before the 5k

The end of the kids 1 mile dash

The start of the 5k

The buggey responsible for leading off the 5k

The finish chute

Balloon flight on the morning of the half marathon

Very chuffed post half marathon
with medal and Road Apple award

Random Amish family

Random Amish people

Just people
Very cool medal, a real horseshoe

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