I must admit, I hadn’t put a lot of effort into the lead up to this race. I missed a couple training sessions in the last two weeks, and mentally I didn’t feel as if I’d prepared at all.
The night before the race, I attended my daughter-in-law’s 35th birthday party. So my pre-race dinner consisted of sausage rolls, mini quiches, buffalo wings, and dim sim. Not exactly what the books suggest I did keep my alcohol intake to only one drink.
I managed to get to bed at a decent hour and breakfast at 5:30 the morning consisted of a banana, mango and berry smoothy with chia seed. I still managed to forget both my water bottle and energy gells but otherwise got to the race area on time, grabbing some jelly beans on the way. This went against the cardinal rule of race day, “Never Do Anything New”, as I’d never tried jelly beans before on a run.
It was a beautiful morning, about 16C, the sun coming up over the hills across Lake Joondalup. I did some warm-ups, put a quarter of a bag of jelly beans in each pocket and chucked the rest out.
The race started out over a fairly rough track in a 3.8km loop back to the starting point to make up our 21.1km. My jelly beans made a rather pleasant jangling sound as I ran. One guy ran past me and started laughing and said “You’ve got a lot of jelly beans!”, obviously a seasoned partaker of jelly beans himself. By about the 5-6km mark though, the jangling stopped as my sweat and the morning humidity turned my glucose bullets into a rather large sticky mass in each pocket.
My goal for the race was 1:55:00 and an average pace of 5:26/km. I really struggled in the beginning trying to keep my pace down. In fact, I failed miserably to keep my pace down for the first 6km! 1) 5:28 (initial bunching on a narrow path), 2) 5:12, 3) 5:03, 4) 5:00, 5) 5:15, 6) 5:20. This was an average pace of 5:13/km which was faster than my first 5km on last month’s 10km race. Yet I wasn’t worried, because everything felt really good. My form felt good, I was running fairly steadily, running my race. I popped a jelly bean pretty much every kilometer.
Kilometers 7-17 went by in a range of 5:21-5:33/km. And went by they did! It seemed at times my Garmin’s kilometer vibrations were coming at really quick intervals. I thanked all the traffic control and water station volunteers I came across, because without them we wouldn’t have a race. I did request the traffic controllers get signs that said “FAST” rather than “SLOW” as I took that rather personally
Still feeling good at 18km, and remembering when that was the furthest I could run without a walk break, I decided it was time to pick up the pace and go for the negative splits. 18) 5:12, 19) 5:30 (due to one water station and a long uphill), 20) 5:13, 21) 5:18 and the final 300 meters of the course in a 4:33/km pace. Garmin time for the 21.3km was 1:53:33 but strava.com trimmed it down to a flat 21.1 @ 1:52:18, an amazing time for me, my previous PB was 2:02:19, so a full ten minutes off!! I don’t have the official gun time as of this writing but I hit the starting line 29 seconds in I think, so that should be about 1:54:02
As I walked off the race, drinking down my litre of chocolate milk for recovery, I ran across a co-worker who had just finished the half marathon as well except that he’d signed up for, and expected, the 10km race. He lined up for the wrong race LOL. Still, he finished only about 30 seconds behind me and had never run 21.1 before in his life, so well done to Wayne.
It was a great race. Unlike my 10km last month, at no time did I feel not in control or have doubts about my ability to finish strong.
But do you want to know the really scary part? Next month is the Perth Marathon where I’ll run my first ‘official’ marathon distance. Back in December, when I ran my own private marathon, I shuffled across the finish line in 4:53:29. According to my race equivalency calculator, which was pretty accurate basing my half marathon time on last months 10km race time, I should be able to run next month’s full marathon in three hours and fifty five FREAKING minutes! I get scary goosebumps just thinking about that! Almost a full hour off my marathon from 6 months previous. Admittedly, I had only trained from a sedentary desk jockey capable of 12km in 1:10:13 to my first marathon distance in only 4 months. That’s just not enough time to build a marathons worth of stamina for anything better than just completing it. So, a voice in my head says maybe I really can pull off a sub 4 hour marathon. Fingers crossed I keep healthy and injury free for the next four weeks.
Race stats from the day can be found here.