Sunday, June 29, 2014

Humber Bridge Half Marathon 2014

I have fond memories of this race as it was the first half marathon that I ever ran back in 2008 (1hr 39mins).  I also ran it again in 2009 (1hr 33mins)It's a local race and also an unusual course, taking you over the Humber Bridge not one but twice.  The Humber Bridge is 1.37 Miles long and is the 7th longest suspension bridge in the world.

The course is tough as there are a few big uphill sections, the biggest one being a 1 mile climb at mile 8 known as 'Cardiac Hill'.  The second crossing of the Humber Bridge is also a long gradual climb, made tougher as it's situated just after finishing 'Cardiac Hill' and at the end of the race when your legs are pretty spent.  

Zoe was supposed to be running this one too but she was injured and had to just come to support me.  I had only just come back from injury myself after missing 4 weeks of running.  Therefore, my plan was to just get a solid 13 mile run under my belt and enjoy the race. 

The weather was cold and wet, so we took shelter under some trees by the start line as it was pouring with rain.  I was quite pleased it was raining as the weather was very hot and sunny on the two previous occasions that I ran this race.

It was good to get under way and even though I was wearing my Garmin, I decided not to look at it during the race.  I wanted to relax and just run on how I felt.  I also decided not to go out too fast as I knew that the big climbs came towards the end of the race.  I wanted to feel strong in the second half of the race, not slow down and struggle. Basically the pressure was off and I soon found a good pace and settled in.  

As I was just cruising, I was able to really take in the views as we crossed the Humber Bridge.  The rain eased off and I was really enjoying myself!  I began to slowly pick up the pace as we crossed the half way marker. My legs felt good and we were closing down on the infamous 'Cardiac Hill'.  As I started the climb, I gritted my teeth and attacked.  There is nothing more motivating than passing other runners and I was leaving them in my wake as I cruised up the hill.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it felt as I soon reached the top.  Now the push for home.

The second crossing of the Humber Bridge, from Barton Upon Humber over to Hessle, is mainly uphill and once again I was feeling strong and passing lots of other runners.  Once across the bridge, it was just a few twists and turns to the finish line.  Zoe cheered me on as I passed her at the finish and I crossed the line in 1hr 40mins.  I felt pretty pleased to have run a decent time on a tough course, considering I was not pushing and felt relaxed and comfortable during the race.  Mission accomplished!

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