Well, yesterday was the day, time to see if the training would pay off. First song I heard on MP3 was Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell, perhaps not the best thing to do in a half! Didn't start off too promisingly, got to Reading Station to find there were delays on one of the lines to Wokingham, at least the other one was OK. And as I was walking from the station to the race start it was raining. Got to the start, used the loo, and then headed back towards my starting pen. I saw the signs - Sub 1:10, Sub 1:20 etc, seemed to stop at Sub 1:50, proceeded further back but eventually settled - if anything a bit too far forward as there were plenty behind me.
Said 10:07 on my watch (just a bog standard wristwatch, not even a digital) as I crossed the start line, and then 10:17 after mile 1, 10:27 after mile 2, more like 10:38 after mile 3. Felt fairly comfortable though - this seemed like about 10:20 per mile. First drink station just after 2 miles, walked a few paces as I drank some water and then off running again. Felt a bit of a stomach ache early on but this seemed to go, and also by now the rain had stopped. Heard a bit of shouting behind me at one stage - turned out to be a guy pushing his mate around in a wheelchair. And he must have beaten me because I didn't see him again. Still kept up th eroughly 10:20 pace through miles 4, 5 and 6, very brief walk breaks to change the album on my MP3 album, had been The Beatles to start with (Abbey Road), then Blur (Parklife) and a Britpop compilation. Took on more water at miles 5, 7 and 9 I think it was, and at 9 miles was still at 10:20 pace. Maybe did slow up a bit now, but still went through 10 miles in 1:43, but probably twelve minutes for mile 11. Last water round about here, and first significant walk break to go up a hill to a bridge across a motorway (only 100 yards of so, and course more or less flat apart from these small hills). Started runnig again when I got to the top, time round about 2:05 as I went through 12 miles. Walked a bit as well as I came up to the 13 mile marker but then beack into the run as I came to the finish.
Official clock said 2:24, but I think it took about six minutes to get to the start, so I am claiming 2:18 - and thats what my watch seemed to say! So thats a PB by six minutes, waiting to see official time on website.
Will be doing Reading in four weeks, that has two quite steep hills in it, but there's a couple of weeks training still to go before the taper.
Understand some folks were doing Sussex Beacon, well done to them, and best wishes
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