Ok, hands down no exaggeration. That ½ marathon was easily the hardest race I have ever done. Which is a great feeling! It felt really rewarding to push myself so hard. But it also makes me think I wussed out on all my other race – I never had to dig so deep before. Well, actually maybe I did in the marathon but in a different sense. Not from speed but from the length of it. I also don’t want to be too hard on myself….I have only done 2 marathons and this is my second half so I am still relatively new to racing. And learning how close I can push myself until I bonk is a hard thing to learn.
Anyway, back to the race! I woke at 5.30 but wasn’t getting picked up until 7….so to avoid waking sleeping beauty I got up early. I had tea and toast and jam – my usual pre-long run breakfast. I felt a bit nervous as my legs were tired. I have raced the last few weeks and just didn’t feel super fresh. And I was still unsure as to what pace I wanted to run it at – I like having this sorted in my head. I feel if I pick certain paces for certain sections I can just focus on running. So overall I didn’t feel too confident going down.
It was such a beautiful day here in Perth. We are so blessed with the weather. This is what it looked like at 7.05 am…not too shabby. And this is winter weather.
View from the start line
We met our clubmates, two of whom were doing the full marathon. They were pumped and just waiting for the gun to go. I love that anticipation – it made me excited to do my next marathon! We hung around for a while, took some pictures as they ran off and then waited for the first leg of the relay to head off at 8am.
Pre Race Pictures
My partner was going to do the first 2 legs and was going to pass the “baton” ( a yellow rubber band….probably LiveStrong ones going cheap 😉 ) to me half way through. Due to logistics it wasn’t exactly ½ way so my leg was 20.1km. She is a great runner so I expected her to do a great time. I could follow her every 5km on my phone so knew when she was getting close which was cool. There was a huge gang of us waiting at the changeover spot, cheering on the marathoners going past and just shooting the breeze. It was really sunny and it felt like a privilege to be out there. It still is winter here though, so was pretty cold. It took me 15 minutes of running for my feet not to feel numb!
I saw my buddy approaching and got all excited – she was so fast and I knew she smashed her 1/2 PB! So excited for her. I didn’t want to be the slow one so set off flying! I felt good but when I checked my pace it was under 4.00 m/km so thought I needed to bring it back up. The last ½ I did was an overall pace of 4.42 so I thought if I could about 4.40 it would be great. My initial plan was to do 3 sets of 6km, getting progressively faster. Well that didn’t work – the first 6 kms were all over the place. I kept checking my watch and seeing 4.3X and having to slow down.
First 6km’s….I thought I was flying here!
Then for some reason, for the next 6km I got it into my head that I should aim for around 4.30’s….give or take a few seconds. I thought back to the 9km I had done the week before at 4.24 and was trying to compare them in my head. Like “you ran 4.24 at that pace so you can obviously do the next 14 at the same pace”. That makes sense right? Even though I knew this was stupid I still went for it.
So the next 6 and the 7 after I had no game plan besides “ooo I am running around 4.30, I wonder how long I can hold on?……ooo that feels hard…..I hate running…..I CANNOT wait for this to be over” My coach always says don’t write your race story when you are running the race….so don’t start having conversations in your head, telling friends how you felt, why that km was slow etc. Just run the race! So a few times I had to stop myself doing that. I am a great internal chatter at the best of times!
Final 2 sets of splits which are surprisingly consistent.
I managed to hold on until the end but it took so much mental strength and determination……I really had to dig deep to keep up my pace. I felt like I was all over the place with my pace but according to the Bible (aka my garmin) I was pretty consistent. I can’t remember each km exactly except for an overriding feeling of pain. And waiting to blow up. I kept thinking about how much I preach about negative splits. And how I was going to get my comeuppance here – 4.50’s were coming to bite me in the ass! Not wanting to have explain negative splits to my teammates definitely kept me pushing hard!!! For some reason I thought I only had to run 19km….so when I got to 19km and I passed the 41km marker (for the marathon) I nearly died! I don’t know how I hung on but I did and man it felt great when I stopped! It’s a pity it wasn’t a full ½ marathon as I would have set a PB – but oh well! It bodes well for the full. However I did think 3kms from the end “man, I am dreading Melbourne!”
We all went for a celebratory lunch after and then we had dinner in a pal’s house. Nice end to the day. J