Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon - Race Report

Woke up at 6am to black skies and rain. Not much one can do about that.

Cup of tea and a bagel with PB washed down with a couple of pints of water. Couple of visits to the toilet and I was out the door by 7 and at the venue for 7.15am. Quickly picked up my race number and went back to my car to stay dry and warm for 15 minutes. Then it was onto the course to do a warm up lap and some stretches. Didn't recognise anyone so did this by myself whilst the time passed away fairly slowly.

Just after 8am we were told to line up on the narrow start line and  i positioned myself back into about row 4.
Not sure of the numbers yet but i figure there probably wasn't more than 100 runners. The rain probably stopped all the good runners from turning up..

I ran this as my first ever race last year in 1hr 34. It was about 30 degrees that morning and I really suffered. Didnt pace myself too cleverly and ended up blowing up at the 17km mark - even having to walk. I didn't want to go through that again.

My goal for this race was to finish under 1hr 30 and finish strong - not to get carried away at the start but run in a controlled manner all the way through.

I came prepared with a handheld water bottle and 2 small squares of dark chocolate. I didnt want to slow down at the drink stations, besides I would normally spill the majority of the contents in the cup so i felt more comfortable carrying my water with me.

The course was all cross country and mainly flat with 2 small climbs. 3 loops of 7km's with out and backs meant it was easy to see where in the field I was in relation to the leaders.

The start of the race was a casual countdown and then we were off. Straight away people were sprinting ahead and I settled into a very comfortable stride back in roughly 20th place. I wore my garmin to measure my pace but i left the heart rate monitor at home as i wanted to run by how i felt and not be put off if i saw my HR rising.

My planned pace for the start of the race was to run 4.15min/kms and increase the pace gradually. 21kms is still a long way to run especially if you start off too fast..

The first km went past in 4.07 and i was happy to maintain that moving forward. I was passed by a few people but it was very early in the race.

The next 3 kilometers were 4.02, 3.57 and 3.54. Feeling great and was moving well. I was now slowly moving through the field one by one and I could still see the lead runners up ahead.

The remaining 3 kms of the first loop were 4.02, 3.57 and 3.57. Legs felt great after the first loop and my plan was to keep the same pace and then increase on the 3rd loop.

Loop 1 = 27minutes 56 seconds

It was during the second loop that the lead guy who shot off at the start was obviously beginning to suffer. I think i passed him after 10kms and I must have been in 7th place. The kilometre splits for this loop were 3.56, 4.01, 3.56, 3.49, 3.56, 3.49 and 3.46.

At the end of the second loop I had a square of chocolate  and made a conscious effort to speed up.

Loop 2 = 27 minutes 13 seconds

I think I started the 3rd loop in 7th place and the runners were now spread out but all within sight and I was gaining ground.

After 3 more kilometres in 3.50, 3.42 and 3.42 and I came side by side to the 5th placed runner. He said he was suffering and the lead runner wasnt too far ahead. He told me to run on as I was looking strong.

I passed the next couple of runners with splits of 3.43, 3.43 and then I was only 200 meters behind the lead runner. He was looking strong but I was gaining on him. It was only at this stage that I thought I had any chance of winning. I've got a decent turn of speed and I was confident that I would be able to outsprint him on the home stretch if I continued to close him as  i was doing.

I had to dig deep for the next kilometer which passed in 3.29. I was now only 100 meters behind him but he was speeding up and I was finding it harder to close the gap. If I sprinted now I would be finished. I stayed relaxed and ran the final kilometer in 3.24 sprinting the final 200 meters which unfortunately was too little too late. He was just too quick - a lovely bloke too as I discovered at the end over pancakes.

However I couldn't have been happier. I finished the loop strong and I would have happily completed another loop if need be - great confidence builder.

Loop 1 = 27minutes 56 seconds
Loop 2 = 27 minutes 13 seconds
Loop 3 = 25 minutes 33 seconds

After looking at my splits on the computer I was really pleased with my consistency and the final loop especially. I had completed what i had set out to do and as a bonus set a pb and beat my last years time by 13 minutes!

Final time of 1 hour 21 minutes 25 seconds

All up 79km's for the week. Time to step it up again

3 comments:

  1. nice one...superfast and only 2 squares of chocolate..hope you had more after!

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