This is going to be a very quick race report – there isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t already been covered in previous posts. I warmed up, went for a “bit of a jog”, got tired, warmed down, sat down to write this. So lets kick into it!
The morning started with coffee and a short drive to the race venue. I was one of the first runners there, so got to go through registration and a course preview with little congestion – always a good start! A thorough warm up jog, some strides, some dynamic stretching, a change of clothes and shoes, and I was good to go! This was going to be my first run race in my 4%’s, and I couldn’t wait to see if they made a difference.
After a strong debut half marathon at Huntly (with a time of 1.18) I wasn’t prepared to set any expectations for today. I had set a goal of 1.24, so 4 min/km, and figured if I hit that it would be good validation. After talking to one of the other competitors, I heard that it was a harder course than I was expecting – which made me slightly apprehensive.
The race started with the usual hiss and roar of everyone going out much too fast for a 5km – let alone half marathon – and a group of 9, including myself, went out in the lead. About 500m in the first hill popped up, and it broke the group up very quick! I was in the lead trio but quickly found myself dropping off the 3.25/km pace that was being set. By about 2.5km I was sitting by myself in 3rd, but 4th and 5th were rapidly catching. Deciding to run my own race was difficult, but I made the choice not to go on with them either, especially with the rolling hills we were currently running over – I’d rather run at my own pace and not die for the last 10km.
By about 6km I’d been caught by 6th, and he was running pretty much the perfect pace I was looking for! I made the decision to use him as a pacemaker and ran with him over the next section of the course. There were quite a few rolling hills on this part as well, but at least there was no gravel (unlike the first section)! We split up by about the 16.5km mark, but he’d gotten me through the worst of the course so I was happy for his help! I was on track to be well under 1.24, so mentally I was in the best possible place considering how much I was hurting.
Unfortunately for me, that’s where the fun and games ended. Between 17 and 18km I’d deteriorated quite a lot – the next couple of short hills hadn’t helped, and I was beginning to feel like I was working very hard for not a lot of reward (and frankly, I wanted to stop, walk, curl into a ball, and give up altogether). At this moment I could feel unlucky competitor #7 breathing down my neck, and after a very brief struggle, he passed me
relatively easily. The rest of the run went smoothly – no change in placing, no change in pacing, and mentally hating myself for choosing to run this race. Luckily I could see the finish line not too far ahead, so I soldiered on to finish in 1.24. I’d hit the pace I wanted, but was incredibly sore. Straight after finishing I sat down, and that turned out to be a poor idea. Cramp in both my arches struck immediately, and they didn’t ease up for about an hour and a half… certainly not ideal! Rolling out, stretching, and limping around became the order of the day, and I didn’t like it one bit but it helped me to recover immensely. I’d recommend it to anyone after racing!
Overall, I hit both my process and outcome goals on a tougher course than I was expecting, and had a great mental workout as well. I’m looking forward to a day off, then launching back into training with my sights set on my next run race before the tri season begins!