So apparently running a half marathon can actually be fun?!?
I went into this run with a completely different attitude compared to Melbourne. Jetty2Jetty is hands down my favourite race in South East Queensland, and running the half marathon on the weekend confirmed this. The weather is always perfect, the races are the perfect size, and the time of the year means I almost always run well. (the race was actually 3 weeks ago – a bit of a fail on my part not posting this until now. Also I will replace watermarked photos once I’ve got some official ones!)
Sarah picked me up on the way to Redcliffe. She was doing the race as a long run, so I was glad to have some company for the drive/pre-race. Being a smaller race (only 500 people ran the half) we had no problems picking up our numbers and doing the normal pre-race rituals. We headed to the start line about 5-10 minutes prior to race start (what a luxury) and lined up near the 1:40 pacers.
I asked Sarah if she would run the first kilometer with me to make sure I didn’t go too fast (she had originally planned to run a fairly easy pace). I was secretly hoping that she’d run the whole race with me, but I also wanted her to do the run that she needed to do! I hope I made it clear that she didn’t NEED to run with me, but I was very happy when she decided to stay with me for the race. Her PB is sub 1:25 so I don’t think it was too difficult for her to run 4:45 per km with me.
My main goal for the race was to PB. I don’t think my previous PB was a true indication of my fitness, because I definitely wasn’t in a racing frame of mind in Melbourne. I think my headspace was completely different this time around! I expected Melbourne to suck, so it did. This time I wanted to enjoy it, and run hard. Running 4:45 min/km for 21.1km now seemed mentally achievable as well.
0-5km (0-3ish miles): I spent the first 5km chatting, and getting excited about the view. You can see the water for most of the race and it was perfect conditions. At one stage Sarah asked me what she should do if we were going too quick, and I told her if we were getting close to 4:30/km that we should probably slow down. I was obviously a bit excited, because sure enough we needed to slow down!
We were also near a roller skating dude for a while at the start. He was being pulled along by his mate, apparently raising money for charity. Before I knew that it was for charity I just thought he was a dickhead who was trying to be clever. I still think it’s dumb to skate a road race, and we saw him nearly stack it at one stage but I don’t think he got in the way of any runners.
5-10km: Breaking the race up with 2 gels was a great idea, because I knew I had something to look forward to early on. I ate a vanilla cliff shot gradually from about 8km onwards, attempting to sip water when available as well. I think I ate about 2/3 of the gel before getting sick of it and throwing it in the bin, close to the 12km mark.
10-15km: By 10km we caught up with the 1:40 pace group. I asked them what pace they were running (there were 2 pacers) and they said they’d been at 4:45 but they were aiming for 4:52. I thought sounded too slow for 1:40, but didn’t really mind. I mainly just wanted to beat 1:45 anyway! We stuck near or just in front of the pacers for a little while, having a bit of a chat. I was still feeling good, and we were ticking off the kilometers right on target. I put my full trust in Sarah, and she was the perfect pacer. I didn’t want to know the pace constantly but I appreciated occasional feedback as to how were doing.
15-20km: I’d already accepted the fact that it was going to hurt like hell from this point onwards, so when that started to happen I was ok with the fact. At 16km I grabbed my second gel from my bra, and tried to eat some. My stomach was a little bit cranky by this stage so I ended up holding an open (but nearly full) chocolate cherry gel packet in my hand until the finish, which lead to a very gross, sticky hand! I also told Sarah that from now on, no matter what, I didn’t want to know our pace. Even if we were slowing down.
20km-finish: the whole course is fairly flat, with the occasional undulation and a hill right at the start/finish. It’s not a really long hill, so when we went back up and over it on the way home I didn’t care too much about letting my pace drop right off. I was REALLY hurting by now! Never mind, the last few hundred metres are probably my favourite out of any course. Slightly downhill, and I know it like the back of my hand. I also starting telling myself (out loud) “I am happy” over and over again. I even tried to smile! I managed to pick up the pace again, but suddenly I was on the brink of disaster. Every single step I took was causing a cramp in both calves. Not enough to stop running, but enough that I needed to start heel striking to keep going.
I ended up with a 4 minute PB, so while I didn’t break 1:40 I am really happy with my time. I will run another half in the future – but I don’t think it will compare to this experience! Running with a close friend, in one of your favourite races, and being happy with the time. Doesn’t get much better.
Ok, the only thing that made the morning even better was our breakfast.