Monday, 23 March 2009

Silverstone – My Third Half Marathon

15th March 2009 – Silverstone Grand Prix Track, England

The adidas Silverstone Half Marathon was my big pre-marathon event and was an awesome race to run – well, at least for Formula 1 fans anyway! The race is run on the Grand Prix track at Silverstone, so if you enjoy F1, then it’s pretty exciting being on the actual track, overtaking on the outside or the inside, running over the curbs, down the straights, through pit lane... I felt like a cross between Lewis Hamilton (although not as aggressive in my over-taking), Kimi Raikkonen (without crashing into any walls) and Mark Webber (i.e. an Aussie, but with more of a chance of finishing the race). If you’re not an F1 fan though, the circuit would be reasonably boring as there’s not a lot of scenery to look at…

There were over 10,000 running the race this year, and due to traffic problems they delayed the start by about 15 minutes. Not an ideal start, but it was a beautiful day, sunny, blue skies, about 15 degrees, so no one really minded. Well, except for the 40 or so guys (and 2 women!) that 5 minutes before the start all jumped the barrier and went over to the wall to go to the toilet before the start!! Very odd behaviour…

I was aiming for a sub-2 hour, but whereas previously my fitness had let me down, this time I woke up with a sore right foot! Not sure how or why, as it was perfectly fine when I went to bed… Maybe Mel kicked me during her sleep… :o) Alas, I finished in a time of 2:03:14. Just outside my target, but the time bodes well for a 4:30 finish in the marathon. Anyway, as for the race…

I started off the run at a good pace (for me), and after cutting across the curb for some over-taking manoeuvres of the back-markers, a la Lewis Hamilton, I found myself keeping 1:00 – 1:30 minutes ahead of the 2 hour time. I kept this up for the first 9.5 miles, when I started to feel a bit tired in the legs and by the time the 10 mile marker came by, I was pretty much right on the 2 hour time. I really felt like walking, but I pushed on – helped hugely by seeing Mel at this point which lifted my spirits a lot!! By about 11.5 miles though, I’d been compensating for my sore foot and the pain moved up to my right knee. It was pretty sore so I put pride aside and walked for 30 strides, really stretching out my knees. This seemed to do the trick and my knee felt fine, so I started running again. Unfortunately though the sore knee and the walking meant I’d blown the 2 hour finishing time, but I pushed on to do the best time I could.

The atmosphere finishing was amazing. All the supporting families etc were alongside the running track cheering everybody on as we made our way from the outer service track back onto the GP track. We finished with a run down the home straight and I had a real burst of energy so with a final surge I finished the last 0.1 miles with a bit of pace and finished in 2:03:14 with the chequered flag waving me in! That’s about 5.5 minutes off my Cardiff time and about 8 minutes off my Dartford time.

It was a great race and anyone into F1 and running I’d recommend doing this in 2010!

On a better note though, thanks to all the gym work and weight-loss, at the end I felt like I could run another couple of miles. I didn’t have enough to go faster, but I could go further. All bodes very well for the marathon!! And unlike Dartford and Cardiff, my legs felt pretty good and I could walk without any pain the next few days as well. Wahoo!

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