This was my last long race of the year. My ‘A’ races were over with and I’ve been over-all happy with my performance for the year. So there were no nerves, no stress, no big expectations for this race. My PR for the half marathon is 1:52:16 (for exactly 21.1km) and I would be really pleased to break 1:50.
It’s a beautiful morning in Fremantle, which is always a gorgeous place to be anyway. The sun is shining, it was about 15C (or 60F) and the only thing niggling at me was the breeze off the ocean. The breeze was cool enough I found a place to sit behind some bushes to hide from it. I did some stretching and decided to brave the porta-potty lines for one last pee before the race.
Twenty minutes later, I’m finally in the porta-potty, feeling greatly relieved, when I hear a chanting outside. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…” Oh no! It’s starting! I dash out of the plastic box, tying the drawstring on my running shorts as I go. The gun goes off before I get there, but I shouldn’t have worried. I joined the slowly shuffling crowd across the start line almost two minutes after the gun went off (1:48) and still we shuffled. I was the 802nd person past the start line. There were over a thousand people in this race and immediately after the start line we were funnelled into a 2-3 person wide bike path with thick high bushes on both sides. My goal pace was 5:13/km and here I am shuffling along at a 6:30 pace for the first 600 meters before I could finally break away from the throng. Not happy, Jan! (reference to an Australian Yellow Pages Ad). I fairly sprinted once freed but still clocked 5:49 for the first kilometre.
Foolishly I tried to make up for the time lost right away, rather than over the length of the course, which would have been the smart way to do it. My second kilometre was 4:57 and my third even faster at 4:55, certainly not sustainable paces for me! Seven to nine seconds per kilometre faster than my 10 km PR.
I managed to reign myself back, and except for a halfway point “rest” on the 11th kilometre of 5:18/km I kept the 4th through 20th kilometres between 5:00 and 5:13, well below target pace. At the halfway point I’d moved from 802nd to 479th. Halfway time was 56:50.
One other thing I was unhappy with the course about was that we did two laps each of two overlapping paths. So at one point the marshalls are standing there shouting “First lap to the right, second lap to the left”, “Second lap to the left, third lap to the right”, “Third lap to the right, finishers to the left”. I wonder how many people ran short of distance going the wrong way. In their defence, there was a last minute course change due to storm damage along the beach path.
Late in the 19th km I started to feel myself get woozy and dizzy again, like I did late in the City to Surf Marathon. Fortunately, thanks to my knowledgeable friends in my Google+ running communities, I now know this is due to glycogen depletion and didn’t freak out about it this time. I did, however, mentally play with the image of my passing out and hitting the path, but forced my body through the last couple k’s.
The 21st kilometre came in at a speedy 4:57 again and the last half kilometre of the 21.5 km my Garmin logged an amazing 4:50/km pace.
Possibly another reason (or additional reason) for feeling so woozy and dizzy at the end was my heart rate. I’ve done a couple of treadmill max heart rate tests, increasing grade and speed until you can’t do any more, and consistently hit 182 bpm. My AVERAGE heart rate for the 20th km came in at 180 bpm, 21st at 184, and the final 500 metres averaged 186 bpm! I think it’s fairly safe to say I had nothing else left to give at the end.
I stumbled through the finish line and milling crowds where I found a patch of grass with my name on it. No messing around with active cool downs for me, I laid back on the grass until my head cleared. I finished 361st overall and 277th for the males (no age groupings given). My official time for the second half was 55:17.
My official time was 1:50:18 for 21.5 km. Strava.com parced it down to 1:48:13 for 21.1 km. And I’m VERY happy with that.
Post race, my legs are tired, but only muscle tired. No knee, ankle, hip, or back pains at all. Now all I have left on my calendar for the year are a 10 km mid-November and an 8 km mid-December. So I’ll work on my speed for a while, and then come January build up the base again for next year.