I tend to pick the bigger races because they usually have a greater range of ability and I am scared of coming last in the smaller races. Lining up at the start at Hyde Park Corner, I realised that even by my strict standards, this race was big. In fact, I suspect that by the time that I reached the start, the elite racers had already finished.
When I finally got to it, I messed up my start a bit. I recently got one of those Garmin things. I wanted to see if this would help me to maintain some sort of pace in the race. It’s helped me a bit with this when I’ve gone out on my own. This might have worked if I had actually managed to hit the timer button at the start. I realised that I hadn’t about half a km in. It was on though and was telling me how fast I was going. Never mind, I thought, I’ll just try and maintain this thoughout. It’ll be a bit like the movie Speed, only ever so slightly less glam and without Keanu Reeves…..
It went quite well for the first few kms. Then we got to the river. The pace I’d set at the start was optimistic. I was disheartened when it dropped. The people coming the other way on the other side of the road who were further along than me weren’t helping my psyche either.
There were a few tunnels in the race. It is amazing how many people started walking in the tunnels where there were no spectators. Going at the pace that I do,I often end up with a lot of walkers in races and it is so tempting to join them when things aren’t going so well. In the half marathons I did earlier in the year, I managed to keep on slogging and jogging for the whole course. Today that didn’t happen and so I walked for a bit.
The other thing that seemed to slow people down was the water stations. I have seen water stations cause bottlenecks in races before. However, in this race each water station I reached had run out of water and this seemed to lead people to slow down, walk and sometime even (quite grimly) stop to see if any of the discarded bottles still had water in them. Having spent the first part of the race getting annoyed with my own water bottle, I suddenly became very grateful that I’d decided to carry it. I may not have been having the best of races, but I wasn’t at the back and so a lot of people won’t have got water.
The race was not my finest hour (and a bit). It involved walking and jogging and I was annoyed by the walking. However, I now have my chip time and, while slow, it actually isn’t as bad as I had thought while I was struggling. So onwards and upwards and next time I might even remember to switch the stopwatch on.