I just got back from the Manchester Half-Marathon and am feeling quite good. I didn't PR (1:57 v. PR of 1:55), but I very well could have if the first couple miles weren't so slow. As you can see from the graph above, once I got past miles 2/3, I really started to pick it up. I finished strong and with a huge smile on my face, which is really the mark of a good race. That said, a couple of observations from the race.
1) Wow, it was hilly, and I mean really hilly. I had no idea, but hills aren't too much of a problem. Actually, I enjoy running them now because I can blow by a lot of people, which is a big confidence booster.
2) At every race, there is a fat guy eating a doughnut and smoking a cigarette. Seriously, every race. It cracks me up every time because there's always one guy and it's the antithesis of the runner's health regimen.
3) I really didn't struggle at all during the race. I was half-tempted to say "let's play two" (ala Ernie Banks), but decided to stick with the half marathon. That said, I still have a whole bunch of training to go for the marathon in February.
4) Another thing that makes me laugh is the race's "punishment" for wearing headphones. They said they'd enforce it (they didn't) and if they caught us with headphones, we'd be disqualified and our time wouldn't be posted.
So that brings me to my final point... who cares if I get disqualified? I'm not out there to win it, and without fail, no one that wins a race is wearing an ipod/headphones. Go ahead and disqualify me. I'll run the race anyway. Whatever.