PCCCT HALF MARATHON RACE REPORT
On Sunday I laced up for my first half marathon race in more than two years, It’s usually a distance I don’t race that often and when I do I have always chosen other destinations to race one. This would be my first half marathon race in Tasmania. I had two goals and that was to break 70 minutes ( 3.19 pace) and still run a 150km plus week. I wanted to race off tired legs and not interrupt my mileage I had been able to build the last two months. This has proven to be a strong model for me and I had always been able to get fitter through the consistency of bigger mileage.
Going into the race I had been able to get some confidence from a few sessions I had done in interval training the last few years that suggested I would go close to 70 minutes. I had in my head and was aware that it was going to be solo time trial and that I would be basically running more than half way before seeing other runners who started ahead of me being a handicap style of racing and you know you just have to keep passing people if you are the back marker.
The morning of the race we were greeted with pretty well perfect race conditions , only a slight northerly across the body on the way out and way back. I was given the handicap of 71 minutes and change. My closest runner to me was Bryan Tuit ( training partner) who started 3 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of me and then another training partner Brad Taylor who was a further minute a head of him. The course would run from Turners beach following the coast line for 10.5 km to Ulverstone basketball stadium and return. It was ran on a walking track I had trained on a lot over the years and I knew it well.
The gun fired and runners were made to do a loop of the oval before doing a another mini loop of turners beach streets and then on to the walking track for 9km. I had the idea I would feel comfortable at 3.19 pace and this shouldn’t hurt me too much early. I looked down at my watch and I had hit the first km in 3.14 which felt pretty easy , once I had settled into my rhythm I was consistently hitting each km in 3:18 to 19. I passed through 5km in 16.35 feeling great but still working hard. I still knew the next 5km would either make or break my result but also knowing it was some of the fastest parts of the course where we would run on ash felt and smoother surfaces.
It was at the 6km mark on the way out where the first front marker was making her return home and I still had 15km more to race. It’s a daunting feeling but to be honest I didn’t care too much for the placing I just wanted a solid hit out to see where my form was. It was at kilometres 8 to 11km where the other runners who started ahead of me in the handicaps had already turned and were making their way home. I had a quick glance down at my watch which read 33.10 10km which was bang on target for a sub 70 minutes half marathon. I made my way around the turning point feeling pretty good as I knew I was closing in on runners up ahead. The first runner I passed was just before 12km, but there was still a no mans land gap until reaching more athletes at 13 to 15km.
For some reason I had some of my worse km splits in this period of just over 10 minutes and looking back this was where it cost me late. I had slowed down to 3.22 to 3.25km rate and thought I was in trouble. Luckily I was able to get back on track once we were out of the wind and being spurred on by knowing it was evident I was catching other runners up ahead. My third 5km split was my slowest of the race and ran in 16.50 pace.
It was at this stage of the race was where I would over taken maybe 20 runners in a period of 3km and for the first time it was great to actually feel like I was in a race instead of a time trial. At the 18km mark was where I had regained my momentum and wasn’t fading as much as the previous 5km split. This is where I would gain on Training partner Brad Taylor and he was moving faster than most other runners and my pace and cadence had picked up just to close the gap and pass him. I was now back in the township of Turners beach where my watch was suggesting I would just miss sub 70 minutes. but still on target for running a 70 low time if i was able to pick up the last mile faster.
According to Strava my next 5km would be 16.46 and I passed through 20km in 66.46 ( 33.23 10km pace). I made the final charge the last km grunting and grimacing my way into top ten after being the last runner to start out of a field of 44. I rounded up another two runners on the oval and was in 8th place and ths would be same position I would finish at the end of the race.
I looked down at my watch and it read 70:16, I was still very happy and it ended up being the fastest half marathon time I had ran in this type of race. It wasn’t enough for a place or even top 5, but was the fastest run of the day and some 3 minute and 50 seconds behind the winner.
The main thing is I had been able to have a mentally hard time trial hit out and still hit 3.20 pace off a bigger week of training. 11 weeks out from Auckland marathon and I am feeling really motivated to build on this consistency. To be honest I don’t know what time as yet will be my goal for the marathon but if
trust the process of “specific marathon training” I am confident I will be rewarded with a personal best.
Photo ; Darlene Jacques