Three days ago now I took part in the Reading Half Marathon, and I’m still feeling a smug after-glow from the event, I have to admit. My first half marathon was the Oxford Half last October, and that was a pretty unpleasant experience as I started off too fast meaning the last few miles were utterly awful. I resolved at the time never to do another half marathon, yet within days I’d signed up for the Edmonton Half Marathon this August (the in-laws live there).
A little later, I figured I’d sign up for Reading too since I work at the university, which is on the route, and over the last six months I’ve started running to work regularly, hence plodding along many of the streets that form the route for the Reading Half.
The contrast between Oxford and Reading halves couldn’t be more stark; there’s a mere 60 seconds between the times in which I completed each 5km segment of the race, which stunned me in terms of consistency of pace. Of course, I was generally very close to the 1:45 pacer throughout which helped, but all throughout the run this felt like it was about the right pace I was hoping to set, and indeed in the final few kms I left the pacer behind.
The other thing that surprised me about this run was how much I enjoyed the road-side support, in particular the bands playing live music throughout. I hadn’t thought I’d be particularly bothered by it, but I found the music really helped give me a boost each time I passed any source of music, even if it was someone blazing music out of their house on a stereo.