Sunday 22nd January 2017
The alarm was set for 06:30, and when it went off I jumped straight out of bed ready for my 1st half marathon of the year – the inaugral Farnborough Half Marathon.
I got myself ready, had a bowl of porridge and woke the rest of the family up ready to head over to Farnborough. On opening the front door we were greeted with glorious sunshine, but freezing cold temperatures.
We got ourselves into the car and headed on over to The Hub where the Farnbrough 1/2 was starting from. The race was due to start at 9am and even though we set off in enough time to get there for 8am we didn’t actually make it down to the start point till 08:30 due to the traffic.
Once there though we met up with Tom (one of the trio running the 12 in 12 with me), and waited for the warm up to start (the temp was -6c so we were looking forward to a big warm up with everyone). It got to 08:50 and there had been no announcement for the warm up, and due to the traffic conditions we assumed that the start had been delayed, so I headed over to join the queue for one last visit to the toilets before the race started. Just as I got to the front of the queue the countdown started for the race – there was no warm up!!!!!!!!!!!!
This completely threw me and my preparation for the race. I quickly used the toilet, ran back out, gave Mrs A & the kids a goodbye kiss and joined the masses at the start. Now, I’m not the fastest of runners and see myself more as a plodder, I have a PB of 2:20 for a half marathon set a few years ago when I was also a fair few lb’s lighter!!!!!!!!
The 1st 4 miles were loops of the business park, after the the 1st loop Mrs A pointed out that I was ahead of Tom (who is a much quicker runner than me), but as it was his 1st ever race I assumed he had just positioned himself in the wrong place – how wrong I was. 5k in and I was flying, I had a great time and was feeling good about myself. We headed out onto the roads and as we hit 10k I looked at my time – 1:02 (my quickest 10k before that was around 1:10), I still felt good but couldn’t understand why I was so quick (my aim was for a 2:30 finish as it was my 1st race in 2yrs), I was on course for a huge PB.
At about 8miles in I could feel my pace dropping a little and then spent some time running along with an Ironman (I’d recognise that M Dot tattoo anywhere), this kept me going for another mile.
We then hit the canal tow path and that was a lonely run as I was then on my own. When I got to 10 miles I hit the wall in the biggest way possible, I really felt like I couldn’t run any further and my emotions started to get the better of me. I felt like quitting, but I’m not a quitter!!!!!!!!!!
I somehow walked, stumbled, dragged my way round the final 3 miles and then with 400mtrs to go a friend and fellow runner Simon (who had already finished) saw me and could tell I was struggling, he selflessly ran alongside me for 350mtrs to get me to that finish (peeling away so I could cross the finish line on my own). I was extremely thankful for that as he really helped spur me on.
I did it, I crossed the finish line in 2:36:47, well outside the time I wanted to finish it in, but I finished it and I was proud of that (especially considering how I felt at the 10 mile marker).
I looked back through the photos after the race and noticed that when I started the race I was ahead of the Sub 2:15 finish – it wasn’t Tom that had positioned himself in the wrong place………it was me!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Farnborough was a tough, lonely half marathon, but it was great to get the race under my belt and I’m looking forward to the next race at Thorpe Park