Sunday meant only one thing, the culmination of the reverse-taper week, the Brighton Half. I haven’t run a half since this race last year where I managed just under 1.37. This time I didn’t really have a target though I had sub 1.33 in the back of my mind as something that was possibly achievable. Trevor had mentioned at parkrun that Dorian was going to go for sub 1.30 and was happy to get a pace group together. As I found him in the sub 1.30 start pen with Rick, Mal, Tristan, Tara, Kerry, Rob and Trevor I thought what the heck why don’t I at least TRY and go with him for as long as I can. It worked well when I stuck with Trevor at the start of Chichester so I decided to do the same again. We had a nice little Arena group that stuck together well. So well in fact we got loads of shouts for our “Arena pace group”. Lots of shouts for “Trey” too from people who couldn’t read Trev’s vest properly. As the miles passed I was still with Dorian, Trevor, Mal, Tristan and Rick. Around 9 miles Trevor and Mal dropped back but I just tried to keep focussed and kept telling myself I couldn’t lose it now having come so far. At 10 miles I lost touch with Dorian and Tristan but Rick was still just behind me (I could tell as spectating Arenas kept shouting “go Isobel – go Rick” in quick succession).
The final 3 miles back from the lagoon were in fear of the official blue-flag-wielding 1.30 pacer overtaking as I was running watchless. Dorian was quite far ahead and I didn’t know if he had kicked on or I had slowed down so pacer fear was rampant. No sign of him as I struggled onwards. I could NOT ruin it now. Regardless of still not having seen the 1.30 pacer I was worried that I’d dropped off too much so was now outside 1.30 pace but the beauty of no-watch is I had no idea so my only recourse was to keep running as fast as I could. Finally, finally, I passed the pier and tried to pick it up a bit for the last 500 or so metres. I kept my head down as I didn’t want to see the clock until it was too late to do anything about it. I looked up around 50 metres from the end and was astounded to see 1.29 just rolling around. I even remembered that it had taken us 20 or so seconds to cross the start line so as I crossed the finish line in 1.29.31 I knew my chip time would be closer to 1.29. I caught up with Tristan in the funnel where we were accosted by Meridian TV. I really hope they don’t use the footage as I was a shell-shocked blithering imbecile (not too different to my normal self I know).
I’m not sure it has actually sunk in yet that I have broken 1.30 as it was not something I ever really felt was possible. Massive thanks to Dorian for his brilliant pace group and to Trevor for giving me the confidence to actually stick with the group.