So today was the day: Milton Keynes Half Marathon 2010 (incorporated into the all new Milton Keynes Festival of Running).
Race routine: sort gear out night before, get up an hour and half before need to leave, porridge with honey for breakfast, Strong coffee, pack banana for eating an hour before race start and we're done. Oh yes and sunglasses.
This year the MK Half start moved from the Open University to the city centre outside Xscape. There was also a new course, although eight miles mid race follow the old route up round Willen Lake. That meant we now benefited from a downhill mile at the start. However what goes down tends to come up again (and I'm not just talking about your tenth pint) so the last mile was up (more about that later).
At the start I made my way down the side to almost the front, jumped the barrier and started looking for Dave from work. Instead I found Aro Runners Lee and Hannah which was a nice surprise.
Just after 10am a rather pathetic hooter was sounded and we were off. Lee and Hannah disappeared into the distance, not to be seen again until the finish, and I was left to set my own pace while avoiding the runners dressed as smurfs.
The run turned out to be hard. The wind was forever changing direction (or maybe we were changing direction) and it seemed we were always on either a slight incline or decline. Almost every time I glanced at my watch it told me I'd slowed to seven minute mile pace and so I had to make a conscious effort to push and get back to something nearer my 6:52 target. And that final mile - it was murder. And it wasn't just me. My split for the mile was 7:20 and it wasn't as if anyone overtook me. Everyone was dead. A couple of guys were walking - you can't believe how tempting it was to stop and join them. Finally, with the finishing announcers voice getting louder we got to the top and about 200m of flat to the finish.
And my time: Gun to finish 1:29:34. Chip time 1:24. Phew - done it!
And hat's off to Hannah (1:28:04) and Lee (1:28:31) too. Top running guys -well done.
But back to me. Delighted with my results I couldn't resist sending text to all my running buddies past and present. I've been trying to break 1:30 for two years so I wasn't in the mood to keep it to myself!
Mile split times for those interested were 06:33, 06:44 (average over miles 2 and 3 as missed 2nd mile marker), 6:37, 7:05 (wake-up call!), 6:43, 06:53, 06:49 (again average over 2 miles), 6:42, 6:40, 6:59, and finally 07:20. See I told you that last miled was hard!