Race report vale of york half marathon 2016 pacially challenged home remedies for cold sores inside mouth

For a while, it’s been my goal to get a sub 2 hour half marathon (the last one being a time of 02:01:48, 2 years ago at the same event). At the same time, with all my slow paced heart rate training, I couldn’t imagine being able to sustain 9:10 minute miles for the full distance. It wasn’t until the night before the race (and after the beers, I might add) that I decided that this one might be the one…

As I set off on the half hour drive to the event, I felt a tiny bit nervous. It had been a long time since I’d run this distance in a race. There was a risk of blowing up with my intended sub 2 hour pace since my training had focussed so much on slower long runs this year. Today would be my first true test of the value of heart rate training.

Soon, I joined a long queue of traffic and crawled the last 2 miles to the car park.

The 40 minute pre-race arrival time I’d given myself was reduced to 10 minutes as a result. I could see that lots of other people were in the same boat and so wasn’t too concerned about missing the start. As I turned into the car park, the airfield which was hosting the event came into view and I felt suddenly excited. It was a beautiful fresh and sunny day. I was going to a birthday party straight after the event, so I had an incentive to run fast. Against the traffic, I was on time to collect my race number, visit the facilities and get to the start line. This was going to be fun.

While I waited for things to kick off, I found an old friend who was also aiming for a sub 2 hour time too. I told her that my dream time was 01:59:59. There’s something about just scraping in under two hours that appealed more to me than making it with a minute to spare!

It wasn’t too long before we set off. The course starts with a short out and back before heading through the fields lined with cars and out onto the country roads around Sherburn in Elmet. It wasn’t long before I started to lose sight of my friend as she sped ahead. I let her go -for now, my only friend was my Garmin. I knew it would be a push to keep 9:10 pace, so I certainly wasn’t keen to go faster. In fact, I slowed myself down – I’d started out at 5k pace.

Mile 1 came in, approximately 0.1 mile before the official marker at 8:45 seconds. A tad on the fast side, but I could work on that. I took a sip of the Lucozade sport I was carrying and continued on my way, checking that I was still under 9:10 when I came to the official mile marker. I was. To my right, I heard a lady explaining to someone that she was meant to be pacing someone, but he’d run off too fast. She was just trying to keep him in sight, without speeding up too much. To my left, a couple of friends chatted easily as they ran.

By mile 3, I worked out that the chatting women to my left were probably aiming for a similar pace to me, so as long as I kept them in sight, it would be OK. Sometimes they were farther ahead, sometimes I drew even with them. In this mile, we came across the first water station, and I was suddenly glad that I’d brought my own drink. Not only were the water bottles lacking sports lids, the stewards were handing them out without the top on, making it impossible to keep running with it beyond a few hasty swigs as people passed the water station. I didn’t take one. I wanted to stick to my plan of sipping sports drink at every mile marker in an effort to keep my energy levels from dipping.

I hit mile 6 on 8:55 pace and I started the calculations in my head for half way. I still felt good, but how much could I afford to slow down? I made it to half way in under an hour. I was on track and I still wasn’t feeling the need to slow down. Mile 7 took 8:53 and mile 8 was 8:55. By now, it was starting to feel a little more effortful to keep up the pace. In the second half I spent less time slowing myself down, and more time speeding myself up. Mile 9 (which may have been the mile in which I did some walking the last time I ran this event) was 9 minutes. During mile 10, I felt a bit of pain in my left foot which stayed with me for the rest of the race. I didn’t care. It wasn’t going to stop me. I did that mile in 8:53. Another sip of Lucozade and my mouth was starting to feel sticky. I was craving some water to flush away the coating of sugar I’d acquired over the last 10 miles. Fortunately the third and final water station was just around the corner so I took a bottle and gulped down a few mouthfuls while others around me poured it over their heads to help cool down. The one and only race picture I found of me is when I was struggling to run along with the open topped bottle just after taking a gulp. I felt better than I look! I’m hoping that the water juggling is what’s making my legs look wonky…

With just 5km to go, my watch told me that I could now slow to 10 minute miles and still hit my target. I could but I didn’t want or need to. Mile 11 was 8:53 and the point where I caught sight of my friend, a few hundred metres ahead of me. Over the next mile (9:00) I caught up with her and chanted ‘sub 2, sub, 2, sub 2’ as I went past. A few minutes later, I offered encouragement to a guy who looked like he was really struggling with the last mile ‘not long to go now’ and I tore through the last mile in 8:56.

Maybe my shiny new PB and the bright sunny (but not too hot) day had something to do with it, but I decided then and there this event would be added to my list of annual ‘must dos’. It’s well organised and friendly, with the only small niggle being the water bottles without sports tops. Not only do they make it difficult to drink and run, but they also create so much waste. I know a lot of people only take a few sips before throwing the bottle away, regardless of what type of opening it has, but surely there are plenty of people like me, who keep the bottle with them until it’s empty?

But enough of my complaining – I have achieved a sub 2 hour marathon and I felt that I would have been able to keep running at that pace for at least a little longer. That afternoon, I went to a children’s party and managed to bounce on the bouncy castle. For a few days after the race, my quads felt a bit sore, but I could still walk downstairs unaided by hand rails. I could probably have avoided even that discomfort if I’d have stretched after the race rather than dashing back to my car to get to the party!