It’s been a while since I posted here, so I thought I’d surprise you all with a mini race report.
When I say ‘you all’, I mainly just mean Nan, who is my number one reader, and has been pulling me up on the fact that my corner of the internet has laid dormant for some time now. But there are reasons for that – mostly because I’ve been trying to create a bit of space and have a really solid off-season. And I’ve given it a fair go if my credit-card statement is anything to go by (waaaay too many boozy after work drinks…).
So I’m just as shocked as you are as I report on the Run Melbourne 2014 Half-Marathon race which took place yesterday. And the way my body feels today is a fairly accurate measure of my current form: my muscles are ravaged, my lungs, irritated. I don’t have any big triathlons booked in yet for next season, so the only event I am training for is the Melbourne Marathon in October. Training for that has been largely consistent and solid, apart from the past few weeks where injury and sickness have forced me to relax things a little.
Alas it wasn’t surprising that running a half-marathon off a marginally interrupted training plan would hurt like hell. If you’re a regular reader of Pipedown (Nan) you may remember that I raced this same event two years ago when I was 14 weeks into training for my first (and so far only) Ironman. It was a roaring success and I came away with a huge PB, and I have milked the hell out of this finish time ever since.
I’m no longer an ironman (although I continue to milk the hell out of that one too), and that has never been clearer than about 13km into yesterday’s 21.1km race. I met up with two friends from work at the start line, both who are extraordinary athletes – Tom having confessed to running a 1:30 PB when he was 20, and Kate who recently ran a 1:35 solo, without any kind of timing device. Suffice to say I was confident that I would be the Lanterne Rouge in this instance.
We set off with the goal of taking things easy, each of us currently carrying a variety of niggles. But ‘easy’ isn’t that simple to stick to when you think that you are Mel Gibson in Braveheart, like I do, so we sped up quite quickly in the first half. Foolishly for me perhaps…
Crossing the 10km mark, I looked down at my Garmin and it said 47:00, which felt reasonable. But the next two km were challenging. I checked my pace again at 12km, as it had slipped significantly, but the Garmin had died, reflective of my own physical state.
The second lap is always hell, and this was no exception. It’s been over 5 months since I last raced an event, so this was a baptism by fire: welcome back princess.
By this point, Kate was a good 500m ahead. With my Garmin dead, I tried to keep with her for pacing, but she is a through and through dynamo and left me for dust. (As a side note, I qualified as a Development Athlete Triathlon Coach a couple of months ago, and am currently coaching Kate to her first marathon, so watch this space for results…). The course had a different layout this year, and of course I hadn’t looked at the map before hand, so I had anticipated one last climb up Mt Flinders before the final sprint, but was pleasantly surprised to see that we just cut the corner and ran directly onto the finish shoot. Which was a) awesome but also b) annoying as it meant I didn’t let loose on the last 500m although that is also c) a relief as I didn’t have anything left so a 100m sprint almost killed me anyway.
Pretty stoked with that. And although it is a long way off my PB, it is actually the second fastest split that I’ve ever clocked over the distance, so that stands me in good stead for the Marathon in October. Although the way my legs are feeling right now, the thought of running a Marathon makes me want to vomit.
It’s good to be back.