Oh, what a day! I love the Liverpool Half Marathon and this would be my 4th time doing it. I’ve now ran it twice by myself and twice since I’ve been a member of Penny Lane Striders. It is definitely lots more fun being a strider! (Read race reports 2013, 2014 and 2015)
I had the dilemna last night of what to wear – it was forecast nice sunny weather so I decided to go with just my vest, but then debated over shorts, shorts and compression socks, capris or leggings. Ultimately my laziness won and I as my legs needed shaving long legging it was! I met up with Kerrie and Claire bright and early to make our way to the start line. It was a glorious, sunny day; what a difference to the miserable wet weather of last years.
After the obligatory team Penny Lane Striders pre-race photo, we headed to the start line. The start is quite narrow and unfortunately we’d left it too late to get a good position and I think we ended up somewhere behind the 2.10 pacer. I had 2 goals for this race, an A goal and a B goal.
A goal: a PB, which is anything under 1.53.49.
B goal: 1:52, keeping up an average pace of 8.33
So starting so far back wasn’t really a great tactic for this, but I soon managed to find a bit of space and get into the swing of things. The great thing about it being a local race is that there is lots of support from fellow team mates around so lots of photos taken on the course too!
The big hill in the Liverpool half arrives at about mile 1, Parliament Street. Some people say this is the worst thing ever, but I honestly didn’t mind it because it’s out of the way so early in the race. I just kept telling myself ‘it’s all downhill from here’ but oh what a lie that was.
I struggled a little bit around Sefton Park, I won’t lie. I run around here all the time as it’s on my doorstep (in fact the whole course is, but the support around the course isn’t what you get on your average Sunday long run!), but I’d never realised how hilly some bits of it were. Maybe it’s because I was trying to push on with a harder pace than my usual long runs, but I really felt some of the undulating parts. Also, it was very very warm. Usually in a half marathon I would get around and take on no water or gels, but I took water at 2 water stations today, at 6 miles and 12 miles. It was just to wet my mouth and then pour the rest of the water over myself to cool down because I felt SO warm. Usually the prom is a challenge as if the wind is against you, it’s a right bitch. But today the challenge was to not overheat as there is no shade and it was just blazing sun (that we aren’t used to!). I was beginning to wish I hadn’t been so lazy and had just shaved my legs and worn shorts. Lots of people had jackets and even hats on at the start, so god knows how much they must have overheated.
At mile 12, I was struggling. I just wanted to stop and I knew by then I was pretty much on for a PB and tried to convince myself ‘even if you just stop for a few seconds, you can still get a PB!’. I paused slightly for a minute but then told myself to grow a pair and go and take the biggest chunk out of my PB as I possibly could. Once I got the Albert Dock and the Liver Building in my site, I pushed on. I somehow managed to pluck out an 8.15 minute mile for my last mile and my official time was 1.50.06! I could NOT believe it. I smashed both of my goals and got even closer to my ‘one day’ goal of sub 1.50 than I imagined I would.
Post-race photos with my team mates! There were so many amazing races ran today with Penny Lane and so much support from those who weren’t running but were around on the course.
And for the statisticians amongst you (I know runners love a good stats break down!) here are my splits. I’m very pleased at the progress I’ve made since my last half marathon in May, as my overall average pace for that was 8.40m/m and this time it was 8.26m/m. I am a bit gutted that I didn’t realise how close I was to sub 1.50 – I might have given mile 12 a bit more welly if I had known that! But, that wasn’t my aim for today so I am very, very pleased with the days work. I love half marathons, they are definitely my favourite distance to race.