Last Sunday was the Reading Half Marathon, a race I've run once before. It's a well supported race - the organisers said around 16,000 runners this time. The course is an out and back from the football stadium - you start outside but finish by running into the stadium itself, which is a real buzz (nearly as big a buzz as just finishing it). I ran 1:43:48 according to the official timer - which is around a minute slower than my best ever time.
My plan was to run faster than I had at Fleet two weeks ago and break 1:45 if I could. I'd spent the previous week skiing - with the inevitable apres-ski, not my usual preparation for a race, so I was thinking that my chances were low. The first 3 or 4km were slow - there were a lot of people around, even though I started at the front of the 1:45 section (plenty of people who had started alongside me were walking within 2km so I don't think too many people pay any attention to where the organisers think they should start).
You can see from the pace graph that I ran the bulk of the race faster than 5min/km (which I need to do to get inside 1:45) - and there's one km at the mid-way point where I realised I was a bit behind plan and needed to catch up. If I add elevation, you can see that the fastest km was actually on the steepest climb - around mile 7.
And then, finally, just because it really surprised me to run a negative split - here's the run split into 10km chunks showing that I ran the back half faster than the front half.
I looked at my training log for the last few weeks and it's over 5 weeks since I ran longer than 21km. I hadn't realised that. So now I'm a bit worried that whilst I can run a fast half, I might not have the stamina for the second half. I couldn't have run another 21km after Reading, that's for sure.