I did it. Really pleased with my first half-marathon attempt coming home in a time of 1:45:07. It was a lovely day, with pretty perfect conditions for the run.
Leaving the house at 6.45 was a bit of a challenge, as after a pretty heavy week at work I wasn't feeling the early start. There was plenty of nervous energy to feed off though, so headed out without issue.
The run itself was nice and flat, if anything the only advice I'd give to the organisers would be to work out a way to 'clean up' the running surface over the first 1.5 miles. It was a mixture of pavement kerbs and bollards that needed navigating, and with a few hundred people around it wasn't that easy to avoid turning an ankle or running into a knee-height stump.
That said, once the run began I decided to focus on my heart-rate. Having not been able to put in quite the sufficient level of running that I'd hoped, I kept my heart rate under 180 for the first 5k. Once I felt comfortable that I could keep that up, I realised that my times were hovering around 5:00/km. I decided to switch and then set that as my target; keep just under 5:00 a kilometer and I'd be happy.
The screens on my garmin were setup with the second data screen showing three fields: heart rate; lap time and lap pace - set to auto lap on each KM. I found this really useful as I wasn't targeting an overall time over the half-marathon distance, and instead could focus on keeping my pace steady and heart-rate sustainable.
I'd paced myself so that for the last 5k I'd consider lifting the pace, and think of it as another parkrun. Turns out that's not the way to think of it - the last 2k were by far the hardest to push through. My time slipped to 5:08/km on the penultimate, and I thought twice about trying to push myself harder to get back under 5:00 - I wanted to finish rather than worry about hitting any time targets. The 22nd Kilometer then went past at another steady 5:08.
Representing the Clapham Chasers for the first time, (or at least wearing the trendy club singlet for the first time, to the amusement of my running buddies) I set my target as beating a runner from another club who was just ahead. I threw myself past him and finished strongly, yet had another guy come bounding past the outside at double our pace.
It was a great experience, and a wonderful flat course to enjoy my first half.