First off, I just want to say well done to Idoia on completing her first Half Marathon (and indeed running event of any description) in a brilliant time of 2hrs 38mins. You've come a long way in a short time :)
Well that's the first event of the season done and dusted. It's my third attempt at the race and easily the most prepared I'd been for it. I wasn't really nervous beforehand, which I guess is the product of knowing I'd done a decent amount of training for it...could have been better (and has been worse).
Due to some enthusiastic people wanting to get there early, I was on the 7am bus out to the start...arriving there a full two hours before the race start. Still, the time actually passed by pretty fast and before we knew it we were walking down towards the start. We were actually slightly late for it, but with 18000 (registered) runners, it took almost twenty minutes for the back of the pack to cross the line.
I could only manage to set myself up beside the 2hrs 25min pace maker when crossing the line, but I'd soon dropped him, dodging all the traffic and was soon passing the 2hrs 20 minute guy. I'd started out strong and felt comfortable so just decided to stick with it. After another mile or so, I closed down and passed the 2hr 15 guy and the aim after that was to keep him behind me :)
There's only two hills on the course, both of which failing to cause any problems (I think the hills in Madeira were responsible for this) and I was feeling pretty good passing people walking up ... I remembered being in their shoes before and it wasn't a nice feeling.
I was still keeping a good strong pace, passing people and knocking off mile after mile. I was going faster than 10 minute mile pace which I was absolutely delighted with and reckoned I'd aim to keep that up for as long as possible. As I was coming up to the half way mark, I was looking really good for a 10km PB, so when I crossed the 10km mark I was delighted to see my Garmin registering 57m 36s, a PB by over five minutes (and non-stop to boot!).
I was still going strong for the next 2km or so, but after this my pace started to slow a bit. After the second of the two hills, I knew I was on the homeward stretch and had around 5 miles to go. Despite the slower times, I was still feeling good and had it in my head that I could beat 2hrs 10m and get home non-stop.
It started to get tough after 10 miles in and I was paying for the faster pace I was setting earlier. Up to 18km in I still had an average of 6 mins per km, so I decided to try and keep that if I could - only 5km to go right, same as my normal small lap and what I'd consider my "easy" run.
And then I blew...I literally saw the 11 mile marker, reached it, said I'd just get back for a non-stop run and about 200m afterwards I had to stop! The last 2 miles were very stop start and it was a real struggle to get home. I kept setting myself little goals but just couldn't get back into a rhythm. I managed a decent final home run sprint, but immediately had to go over to a railing where I almost got sick!
It probably took me 10 mins to recover but I was still absolutely delighted. While I only acheived half the pre-race goals (enjoy the race), I'm still counting this run as a massive success. The first 10km of the race were fantastic, the next 8km good (considering the first 10km) and the ending was the only down-side. That said, I still set a new Half Marathon PB of 2hrs 12mins 40secs which I'm pretty darn happy with.