Milton Keynes ½ marathon

AM. Run 23½km inc. Milton Keynes half marathon.

1.7km w/u
13.1 miles: 1:28:09 (6:43 min/mi), HR 161(170)
0.8km w/d

Half splits: 43:19 + 44:50. Placed 180th (and ~15th in M45 age group) out of 3244 finishers – big race!

A very cold, but brilliantly sunny day for this event. I parked in a free-on-Sundays area a short walk away from the Xscape, where the HQ was, so I wouldn’t get caught up in any post-race traffic. There was a 10k and a 5k going on at the same time, but the start for the 10k, which was supposed to be 5 minutes before our race, was a bit chaotic so they only had two minutes head start and we had to spend the first couple of miles weaving through back-markers from that race. The first few miles were slightly downhill so I found it hard to check my pace, but I went through 2 miles in just under 13 minutes and that was about on-schedule for my sub-1:30 target. I recognised the lake we ran around at the halfway point from when I last ran a half-marathon in MK, back in 1984 (my PB: 1:16), but on that occasion we were going the opposite way around the shore, and it was at the 3-mile point. I can still remember seeing the leaders disappearing off ahead, across the water. At 1:16 pace I can’t have been far behind them.

I did most of the race on the shoulder of a woman from a Harpenden running club. We were stride-for-stride until about mile-9 where she seemed to fade. She’d been breathing pretty hard so I wondered if she’d blown, but the last 1½ miles were more uphill than flat – including a nasty climb to get over a bridge and she had been saving a bit for those hard bits and just caught me on the line!

I felt like I had a good run, concentrating on keeping relaxed and not pushing the pace, although it was easy to get caught up in passing people who’d started too fast, at my steady 6:35-6:45 minute-miling. Only those last hills caught me out and I slowed to 6:56 and 7:25 for the last two miles before the finish, otherwise I’d probably have beaten my best ½M from last season. It was quite a twisty course, on the bike paths around MK, which did tend to break up your rhythm a bit. I got a bit of a big blister on the outside of my right foot but it’ll be OK in a few days, I think.

Won a cheap (£140) mountain bike off eBay this afternoon, some old Specialized Rockhopper thing with bouncy forks and v-brakes. Should be OK for chasing about off-road after Jules ;-). Just got to go and pick it up now.