Lancaster half marathon and I have a history. I had a disastrous run there last year which pulled me up short and put an end to my idea I need not train to race. So, I came to settle the score on a wintry, windy, overcast morning, but this time, I had my race plan sorted and followed it to the letter.
The first 6 miles are essentially flat and on cycle path. I took it super steady and by the time the route turned onto hilly country road, I was beginning to pick my way past runners, one at a time. This year, the 3 or so miles of undulation were barely noticeable, and my confidence was high as I realised I had plenty in the tank and was able to jog through the field just keeping to my own rhythm. I didn’t dare look at my watch; focusing on the arrival of each mile marker and greeting it with a nod.
As we descended the last hill, the route turned left into the bright, low sunshine and I became fully aware of a sharp pain in my left foot that I had been trying to ignore. I was running with a flat foot now, trying to avoid pressure through the sore part but resulting in an even heavier and more awkward footfall. I regathered focus and pushed on past a woman ahead. Familiar territory now and 3 miles to go. These last miles dragged a bit as the route took us back along the Lune and the wind pushed against us. I could see runners approaching the finish on the other side of the river and dug in, now pulling the runner ahead toward me. A shout from my support crew gave a nice kick for the final mile and I determined to catch a few on the approach to the athletics track and finish line. I kicked a bit early on the track and was overtaken again but managed to keep on his shoulder to the line.
I finished in 1hr 32 something, as first vet and 4th female. It was only a 2 minute improvement on last year and way off my PB, but it felt so good to run comfortably and not be overtaken in the last 6 miles- just shows what a difference a game plan can have.