Today I ran the super duper totally awesome Vitality Hackney Half Marathon. I’m so pleased I did, I didn’t commit to the race until last week but I can definitely say that it was an amazing race.
I’d signed up to this race back in late 2015, fuelled by the endorphins after my Royal Parks Half Marathon. I signed up with the best of intentions, planning on putting in loads of training and to smash my Royal Parks time.
Time passed, I got distracted by climbing, dinners, faffing around, the cold, spin, basically anything to avoid running. Long story short, until about 2 weeks ago, I’d done a grand total of 0km of running since October 2015. At the end of April, I did a tentative run to work (3km) and spent the whole piffling distance thinking my lungs would explode. No no to the Hackney half I decided.
With much cajoling from friends (mostly from my climbing and running friend, Lenny), I decided, a week before the race, to run it at a slow pace. I knew that I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t give it a go. So I squeezed in one 10km run (which was just sub 1h, but I’d emptied the tank to do that) and one final relaxed 6km run before the race itself.
I turned up this morning to Hackney Downs, with a grand total of 19km of training since early October 2015 under my belt, not having even ran the race distance on a cumulative basis. I was definitely nervous but once I got to the start pens, I calmed down and was genuinely looking forward to it.
Conditions were hot (a blistering 27 degrees) but otherwise good. I was excited and proud to be running in my local borough of Hackney. It was a pleasure to run whilst being cheered on and supported by local residents, many of whom spraying runners with hose pipes to make sure we didn’t overheat. Kids and locals were on hand with additional water and jelly baby stations, all really touching.
I was aiming for a modest sub 2.15, given my lack of training. I am happy to say that I did it with change to spare, completing the course in 2.12.43. It was significantly slower than my Royal Parks time but I really enjoyed the race and thought I was better on my pacing. I also rediscovered how much I enjoy running!
I’m now sat in bed with my laptop in one hand and foam roller in the other, hatching grand plans for my next half marathon. I felt that I could have given today’s run a lot more welly so I’m super excited to put down some solid training and see what times I could push towards. Who knows, sub 2h, sub 1.55, maybe even faster? I’ll post my training plan in the next few days.
One final (hilarious) note – this is why you need suncream, boys and girls…
If any of you are having doubts about running your first long race, be that a marathon, half marathon or a 10k, I can’t encourage you strongly enough. There’s no shame in walking some the of sections, it doesn’t matter if you’re not the fastest runner, it’s all about your own personal goals and the experiences you gain along the way. Peace out Hackney!