Port Macquarie Running Festival 2017–Half Marathon

I went into this race with a lot of writing on my hand. I had three average paces and what finish time they would give me:

6:58 pace –> 2 hours 27 minutes (pipe dream, over the moon goal)

7:04 pace –> 2 hours 29 minutes (realistic goal based on training)

7:18 pace –> 2 hours 34 minutes (would still be a PB)

 

I met with my coach the night before the race (she lives in Port Macquarie) and we discussed my plan to “just go with it” if I was a bit faster than 7:02 for the first few kilometres. I often start a race fast (zig-zagging around other competitors) then settle into my normal slower pace. I didn’t plan to do this if I was insanely fast (sub 6:30) because I know I can’t sustain that for long but I thought 6:45-6:55 would be okay. She didn’t like my plan and assured me that even if I felt okay at the beginning, I would pay for it at about 19km.

So, I also scribbled 7:02 15km – 7:15 on my hand. She had calculated that I could run at 7:02 pace for the first 15km then drop back to 7:15 for the final 6.1km and I would meet my 2:30 goal. I would have needed to be at 5km at 35.11, 10km at 1:10, 15km at 1:45 and 20km at 2:22. This was all scribbled on the back on my hand.

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15 hours later

The race started and I was very quickly at the back of the pack. I had people behind me but I didn’t think there were many. No zig-zagging required because there was a lot of space. No sprinting to get around people. I settled into my “comfortable pace” pretty much straight away. It was too fast though. I was averaging around 6:43. I have always struggled to run at a target pace. I seem to have run or walk settings. Sometimes the run is fast, other times not. Today happened to be a fast day.

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This was a good race for spectators – I ran past my support crew and chauffeur
(AKA hubby) 6 times. This was at about 6km I think.

I made it to the 5km mark early at 33.33. I kept waiting for my body to reject the fast speed. This was the pace I had been training at back in August/September before I got sick but I haven’t been able to run longer distances as quickly since then. At 10km I was still ahead of schedule (1:07.11) and at 15km I was 4 minutes ahead of schedule (1:40.52) with an average pace of 6:44 still. The wheels did start to fall off a bit then. I walked some water stations. It was getting tough but I finally found my “race” mentality and thought, what if I can finish this with a 6:45 average pace? I couldn’t calculate what my finish time would be but I knew it would be under 2:27 from my pipe dream notes. (I’m sure there was a bit of determination not to give any opportunity for my coach to say “I told you so” as well.)

The 20th kilometre was my only one which dropped below 7:00 pace. I had one kilometre that was 6:28 but all the others were between 6:34 and 6:58 so I’m quite happy (#understatementoftheyear) with my consistency. I pulled out a 6:49 for the final kilometre and finished in 2:23.27! A huge PB. 12 minutes faster than my training run two weeks ago and 15 minutes quicker than my last half marathon race.

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The time on the clock behind me was for the 10km event which started before I finished. Some people completed the “Treble Breakwall Buster”. They ran the half marathon in under 2 hours, then backed up for a 10km in under 1 hour and finished off with a 5km. There was no cutoff time for the 5km.

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I didn’t finish last, but even if I had, I still would have been incredibly happy with my finish time.

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Nice bling and a well-organised event.

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2 responses »

  1. Very well done Heather! Sounds like it was a wonderful event. Go you, a PB of 12 minutes!!! But what I hear is that you enjoyed it and you had your ‘can do’ mind set going strong. That makes you a winner!

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