Well if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that the Egham and Thorpe Half Marathon did not go to plan for me. Whilst it wasn’t a goal race by any means, I entered last minute to use the race atmosphere to do a workout that I was dreading.
I don’t know if I’ve got too much in my own head recently, but I am back to panicking over workouts that feel hard.
Speed repeats…no problem. But anything with sustained efforts over miles, even if those paces *shouldn’t* feel hard or even be that intimidating, and suddenly I have a mental block. I question my fitness, strength and speed, and often psych myself out of a workout before its even begun.
Work to be done in the next 8 weeks before I do the very same thing on the Manchester Marathon starting line.
The race was a RunThrough event, and they kindly gave me a bib for the race. They put on a fantastic race series across the UK, there seems to be something happening nearly every weekend! Any chance for a medal and a flapjack, not to mention not having to worry about course marking, water or bathrooms, and I’m on board.
I think this race has been at Thorpe Park before (actually where Tom and I went on our second date!) however this year’s race started and finished in Egham, without much sighting of the infamous Stealth or Colossus rides. Apparently this has been done to make the event more accessible for all. Having never done it before, I have nothing to compare it to however I do know a number of people have come back to this race every year since the inaugural 2017 event, so they must be doing something right!
Arriving at Egham Cricket Club (on foot to increase my miles for the day) having followed the detailed parking instructions from RunThrough, we were greeted to the sounds of the local choir. It was such a lovely touch, and made that milling around pre-race part so much more enjoyable. As was bumping into my friend Jaimie who was volunteering as one of the pacers.
The course was along closed roads, however the start area was in a very muddy field and so people were carefully picking their way through the mud to the loos, standing on solid ground at the cricket club or waiting anxiously on the road for the start gun. I knew I was taking the first miles fairly easy so didn’t worry about pushing to the front, and managed to nip in for one last nervous wee. (sidenote to races, especially during this Corona virus outbreak…please try to put hand sanitiser or soap in the race loos…you do a fantastic job with loo roll these days but it feels a bit gross starting a race without washing your hands properly (and having to unwrap my Shotbloks with the same unwashed hands!)
I used the first two miles as a warm up, running easy paced and noticing just how windy it already felt. My workout was 3 x 3 miles at 8.03 pace (calculated to be my marathon race pace through Vdot02 – and to those that know, NOT a sub 3.30 pace but that’s another story for another blog!).
My first set of 3 felt like hard work, but often that’s the case when you change gears out of your easy pace before your body gets into a rhythm at the new pace. However I was more relieved that I felt like I should be when I was able to enjoy the recovery miles between sets.
There was water three times on the course, a fact that I hadn’t fully taken into consideration and so should have grabbed more water on that first aid station. Another thing I got really wrong was my race fueling. I was taking ShotBloks during the race, which at 35kcal per Blok, I need to take almost every mile from 30mins in. So my 1 block at mile 4 and then another 3 blocks at each of the next aid stations. I started to feel dizzy later on during the race, and had to stop to walk a couple of times.
The second set of 3 miles I could just about hold on, with an 8.16, 8.11 and 8.06 (ok, not holding too well), and then it all fell apart. 8.15, 8.29… and then slow jogged it into the finish. My head went completely during the race, as did my body with my heart rate skyrocketing during the run. Yes it was pretty windy, and not entirely flat but my heart rate mirrored that of my all out 10K race! Not the biggest confidence boost and actually a warning signal to myself that I really did need those blood test results (read about them here). I was feeling totally exhausted and this run beat me up even more.
I dragged myself out for my two mile cool down after munching the infamous RunThrough flapjack!
Overall, the event was really well organised, the staff super friendly and the RunThrough medals are always epic. I love the RunThrough atmosphere, and hope to do many more of their races this year. This one wasn’t the most scenic route I’ve ever run, but it’s a great closed race course and ideal for Spring marathon training!