Well I didn’t quite achieve my goal time of one hour, 55 minutes for the half marathon but I did run a personal best time of one hour, 56 minutes and 15 seconds (actually 15.6 seconds!). This was a two minute, 17 second PB. The last two kilometers were hard with heavy legs setting in and at the end I wondered how I could ever run that same distance all over again in a marathon. I came second in my age group with Claire Walls coming first in a great time of one hour 49 minutes and 59 seconds – I have a way to go! Well done Claire!
What did I learn? Despite my best efforts, I still went out too hard in the first half of the race. Early in the run I somehow found myself in a position behind the pacer with the ‘1:50:00’ orange balloon dancing above his head. With the balloon always in sight I felt like I was coasting for the first 10km. That goal time seemed so real at this point. Not too long after that 10k mark I lost sight of that balloon. I felt a little balloon inside my heart deflate just a little.
It was somewhere near the 16km mark, while grinding up a long slow climb around Black Mountain Peninsula, that another pacer, the one with the ‘1:55:00’ balloon floating above his head, passed me. I felt even more deflated but pushed on truly understanding I had gone out too hard and was now paying the price. I kept that second orange balloon in sight still confident of a PB even though my goal time was now well out of reach. I kept talking to myself – “Focus! stay tall, lift those legs, look straight ahead, keep the rhythm, you can do it!”. George Sheehan so eloquently summed up this personal chase in Running & Being,
When I run, I am the hunter - the prey is myself - my own truth..
Despite not achieving my personal goal that day it was a good experience. The heavy legs in the last two kilometers I think were fatigue related. I don’t think it had anything to do with glycogen depletion or dehydration as I was careful to drink along the way and I had one gel at around the 10k mark. One week earlier I had intended to do a 12km trail run at Kowan Forest with a few runners from the ‘Wednesday Westers’ but we got lost and ended up doing just over 20km with lots of long climbs. For my novice legs this was not ideal just one week before a half marathon race.
As far as pre race preparation there is a whole science behind nutrition and building up mileage and of course some conflicting ideas. It seems I am still in the trial and error phase.
It was quite cool by the time I got home and my post race ‘bliss’ came in the form of a sauna, with lots of fluid (coconut water) before and after, and a two hour sleep in my warm bed.
My 41st Parkrun at Hastings 3 June – a PB!
Today I knew I would run a personal best time for 5km. It was such a delicious feeling. I wasn’t in any doubt, I felt calm and relaxed and I ran with a confident rhythm. With a time of 24:24 it was a 30 second PB. I feel elated. I placed 16th overall out of 105 runners and was the third female home. My ASAT (age/sex adjusted time) was the highest at 80.67%. I can’t stop smiling!