What do you get when you race in trainers for the first time only a month post completing the Marathon des Sables 2015 and two weeks after the Virgin London Marathon 2015? Read on to find out.
Let’s set the scene…
The challenge: Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon 2015
A fairly flat course around East London (where all the hipsters like to hang out). The race started in Hackney Marshes and takes you directly through the heart of ‘Hackers’, passing sights such as Hackney Empire, Broadway Market and the Olympic Stadium.
The kit: Fairly standard shorts, vest, pink Shock Absorber sports bra and shiny new Salomon X-Scream 3D
It was a relatively warm day so I braved it in a vest.
Electric – that Run Dem Crew certainly know how to party and hats off to them for being there at 10am on a Sunday morning. The race may have meant road closures for the residents of Hackney but they didn’t seem to complain.
The answer to the question above:
Running a total of around 194 miles in the space of a month is not impossible but your body may feel the repercussions.
On the other hand, the new shoes were not a problem. In fact, my feet felt firmly in place and secure throughout the entire race and with plenty of space around the toes, there was none of this toenail bashing (now down to three, woo hoo). Granted, they’re not the lightest shoe to race in but the extra cushioning and multi-terrain grip support your legs when they are feeling the strain after something like MdS. It was a bit of a gamble racing in new shoes but they proved their worth.
My legs were a different matter.
OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – my legs felt better than they had in a while but I lost my pace around the 10-mile mark. Could I have pushed it? Maybe. But there will always be other races and this wasn’t the time to start chasing PBs. The feet are still pretty raw. My podiatrist describes the skin as like that of a tomato (stick with me here). You know how a tomato shrivels up when you prod it, well that’s what has happened to the skin on my feet. I’ve managed to go through a few layers too many. The good news is that (in his words) they will look human again (but it will take a while).
If the past month has taught me anything running-wise, it’s you have to give your body a break or you’ll break. Jump back on too soon and you’ll end up falling off and seriously injuring yourself.
Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon 2015: The verdict
The race itself was streaks ahead of the inaugural event last year. From the organisation and volunteers to the water bottles (we had water bottles not silly squeegee plastic bags to drink out of) and mile markers, it seems that the organisers have taken note of feedback from last year and improved the race dramatically. They also re-routed the last few miles so you didn’t feel like you were a toy car on a specifically-designed Hot Wheels track from the 80s. As expected, it was a popular race and crowded in parts but once past the first half a mile or so, the road did begin to open out.
Did I enjoy it? It wasn’t the most inspiring race I’ve run but maybe that’s something to do with my frame of mind.
Would I do it again? I’d love to train and race it properly (and get a sub-1:30 half next year).
Did you Run Hackney? What did you think of the course? Let me know below.