Lisburn Half Marathon Review 2013 – My First Negative Split In A While And A Sub 2:05 Finish.
Yesterday evening I ran the Lisburn Half Marathon and finished in 2:04:57. It wasn’t a personal best, but it was one of my most confident runs to date which was very surprising as I wasn’t mentally ready for it.
I’ve never ran a half marathon at night before. This meant that I had to prepare for the race in a new way. For a morning race I’ll have been drinking alcohol the night before so my first port of call will be to down 1.5 litre of Monster before reconvening at the bathroom to shit everything out of me, therefore minimize the risk of shitting myself during the event.
Naturally I felt out of my depth from the start of the day as I can’t prepare like this in work.
Poor preparation = piss-poor performance?
I worked over lunch and left work early to get the train from Belfast to Lisburn. I had to get a taxi from work to the train station and I was almost late as the road was closed off due to a bomb scare.
This meant that I had to sprint quarter of a mile through the Sandy Row area of Belfast in 3 minutes, otherwise I’d miss both the train and the event.
Luckily I made it just before the barrier came down on the platform. I was really annoyed at having to exert myself before the run had began. Part of me thought I’d ruined my chance of finishing strong at all but that part of me is always there regardless of the situation.
Success and arrival in Lisburn
Pack collection ended at 6pm and I arrived in Lisburn by 5:40pm so I was eager to get to the Leisureplex as quickly as possible. Fortunately other runners were walking to the station, so I followed them and got my pack just on time.
The race starts literally 200m away from a KFC. I had to summon any of my remaining willpower to stop myself having half of a Bargain Bucket to calm my nerves.
However I’m not a fool. If I’d went down that route, I’d have shit myself by mile 2.
Angry Jogger stabs self in hand and bleeds like a virgin.
Suffice to say, I struggled again to pin my race number to my shirt. I hid in a toilet cubicle and tried to do it there as I didn’t want to treat any fellow runners to the sight of my saggy tits.
In a fit of fear, shaking and self-hatred, I accidentally drove one of the safety pins into my hand and it started bleeding all over my white Belfast Marathon 2012 technical shirt.
It took 15 minutes for me to pin the number on properly to my shirt and even then it wasn’t on right.
I’m used to seeing my blood on my t-shirts with my dodgy nipples. But I’ve never bled before a race had even started.
I couldn’t concentrate on attaching it properly as grown men were shitting and grunting all around me and there’s nothing more off-putting than a hairy grown athlete shitting pre-race tension out of his asshole 3-feet away.
The race starts and I’m off again!
I never know what to do at the start of a race. I see everyone else doing stretches, jumping up and down and fiddling with themselves and I just stand there not knowing what’s next.
Thankfully I was only standing about for 5 to 10 minutes before we were sent on our way.
By mile 1 the temperature was still 19C outside and very humid. I made the decision to take it easy until the strength of the sun had waned a little. For this reason I limited myself to 9:30 min/miles.
Thankfully by mile 6 it was reasonably cool and a breeze had picked up and I tried to introduce fartlek breaks on the downhill portions of the run.
An excellent evening for running.
For the first time in quite a while, I ran a half marathon totally confident in my ability to complete the race.
I recorded a strong negative split with my first half being completed in 1:04 and second half in 1:00.
The half marathon route was beautiful in parts. We went through a little village called Ravarnet that is flanked on both sides by undulating country trails. It was hilly as hell, but it was great to be in the country and the support in the village itself was amazing.
Towards the end there were a few more hills that tried my stamina but I just focused on continuing and I got over any physical hurdles OK.
I struggled mentally at points however. I got too comfortable towards the end and doubted my ‘spirit’ as a runner. My inner critic was berating me for being a loser for actually conserving myself well for the finish and that if I had any integrity, I’d have pushed until I had nothing left.
I have no answers for it anymore. I ran Lisburn for the pleasure of running. I ran to be amongst like minded people. I ran to escape myself and those negative thoughts.
For once I didn’t sabotage my own happiness. I’m running because I love doing it and I want to progress at my own pace. I don’t have to run. I don’t have to do anything in life. I want to do this.
I love it.
Finishing the race.
My last three miles were all ran at a 9:2x min/mile pace. I had a little bit of kick left in my legs when I spotted the finish line and just about crept under the 2:05 mark. This is my fastest ever half marathon time in Northern Ireland and my 3rd best time overall.
Not bad for a difficult course under hot conditions.
After the race I met Mickey for the first time who I had been corresponding with on Twitter through the course of our training for the Belfast Marathon. I was pleased to tell him that I actually enjoyed a race for once as there was no squabbling at water stations and I didn’t feel the need to hit anyone in the head with my water bottle.
I didn’t wait around for long after that. I headed towards the train station under the impression I could easily catch one home by 10.
Missed the train, caught the bar.
I missed the connecting 21:08 train from Lisburn to Belfast and was informed that I had to wait 45 minutes on the next one. Being an enterprising character, I made the best of a bad situation and eloped to the Cardan Bar across from the station for some cider.
I drank the first pint in a record of 25 seconds, such was the depths of my thirst. I waited 5 minutes before asking the barmaid for another as I was afraid she’d assume that I was a reckless alcoholic.
3 pints of cider later, I caught my train home a little worse for wear.
I remember catching sight of myself in the glare of the train window and thinking ‘Jesus, I wear this skeleton really badly’. You start doubting your sanity when you’re dressed in your fun runner gear and everyone else in the carriage is dressed in evening or office wear.
I got home and finished off a family pack of Mini Babybel and went to bed a tired but happy man.
Here is my Garmin Connect log for the run!