Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Start of a Comeback in Maidenhead

(Posted 02/12/12)

The Maidenhead Half Marathon was my first race of any sort since as far back as August 2011. I’d chosen a half marathon as I’d decided to try and qualify for the 2013 London Marathon (confusingly you can read about this in a future post here). I had to pull out the previous 2 years because of my shin splint issues and I've been desperate  to qualify again. There’s only so many times I can stand and watch the marathon go past! However, having already missed the deadline for the Good for Age category which I qualified with previously, the only means left is a  UK Championship place. The qualifying time for a man is sub 1 hour 15 for a half marathon and sub 2 hours 45 for a marathon. My PBs are 1:17:08 and 2:47:51 respectively so it might not sound like I'm far away but it is by no means easy to take a couple of minutes off those PBs, especially as they are from 2 years ago.  Leading up to the race I had done a few weeks of training but I was really using this race as an indicator of where my fitness is and whether qualification for London is a realistic possibility or not.

For the first time I had Sarah join me on a race day. It was great to have the support as I have been used to going to travelling to smaller races like this on my own. It was relatively straight forward to get to Maidenhead from  London  as there is a regular train service and the start of the race was handily very close to the station. The only complication was forgetting my railcard and having to pay for a new ticket! The last thing you want in the build up to a race is a stressful situation like this. At least picking up my race number was a quick process despite the large numbers of runners and supporters who were congregated in the area.

A fast start is a false economy

The race was started in Maidenhead town centre by Gold medallist Paralympian Sophie Christiansen which was a great touch so soon after the Paralympics. There was a real buzz around the start with plenty of enthusiastic supporters lining the first straight making for an exciting event. I got myself into a good position the front pen and didn’t have to do much jockeying for position. The gun went and with all the excitement I made a familiar error starting the race far too fast. I was racing like this was a 10K instead of a half marathon. I passed Sarah on the first bend and we flew through the town. I regretted my eager start within a few miles when I really started to struggle to keep up my early pace. My mile splits (below) tell the story. There are a whole 45 seconds between my fastest and my slowest mile, which is not good for a fairly flat half marathon.

The course was flat and therefore fast, meaning there was good potential for a fast time. I must admit I don’t remember too much about the race itself other than the middle of it being a real struggle because of lack of race practice and my early pacing. However I battled through and managed a pretty fast last mile and even a sprint finish. In fact it turned out to be my 2nd fastest half marathon time. My time gave me the confidence that I wasn't too far off where I was a couple of years ago but also reminded me how much work there is left to do.

A well earned sit down post race and Sarah showing off my medal

Time: 1:18:51
Position: 25th/1829

Click here for results.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Jamie! It is great news to see you back running. You have strong perseverance. Love all the photos. Good luck for your Pisa run.