Archive | August, 2017

Sunshine Coast Marathon Festival – 10km

23 Aug

If I skip straight to the punch line, I can tell you that I managed a personal best in the 10km on Sunday at the Sunshine Coast Marathon Festival… and with that, it would be the shortest race recap I’ve done… but hey I can’t just leave it at that… so here’s how things unfolded…

I’m in the middle of my final build for my Half Ironman on the Sunshine Coast in just 17 days’ time (how it has come around that quickly is beyond me!).  Signing up for the 10km event was the plan in order to give me a bit of a hit out on part of the run course under race conditions. So while Dave and all my friends signed up for the 21.1km I felt like a wuss for taking the 10km option. But, this was the plan, and I was going to stick to it! Given that I am still in the build phase for my focus event, it has just been training as usual prior to the race.  This meant the day before I was on the bike, and had 90km of turning the legs over… you know… just to ensure my legs were feeling fresh come race morning…

In order to keep costs down for this one, we decided we’d not stay up the coast the night before.  Which sounded wonderful in theory, and slightly less wonderful when the alarm went off at 3am… yikes! While my race wasn’t starting until 9am, Dave’s had a 6am start, so we had to bundle ourselves up and get up there before the dawn. Despite the 3am alarm, we made it to Dave’s start line with no requirement for him to need any further warm up… if it was my race I’d have been having kittens!  With probably less than 5min wait before his start, we had time for a quick selfie, before I wished him well and he was off.  I found some fellow cheer squad (Mark, Zoe and Keri) and I pinched one of their chairs to watch the start of the race (thanks guys!).  I was at the 7km point, so got to see Dave and all my friends coming back through – they were all looking good – which is a bit of a relief given they still had two thirds of their race to go. After I’d seen them I knew I had a bit more time to kill, so got to briefly catch up with Debbie, Laura, Jordan and Pete – all up to cheer on Jeff for his first ever half marathon (with a cracking time of 2:01!!).  I then waited to see Dave go past (a great 2:18 time) before I had to start to get ready for my event.

Emma (my coach) had asked me to do a 15min warm up prior to my race.  So, I found some crowd free area to the north of the start line and did my couple of km warm up. It had a few increased paced efforts in it, but was worth doing if not to help defrost my feet as I was feeling pretty cold.  By the end of the 15 minutes I felt warm and ready to go.  I did feel a little bit self-conscious doing the warm up (I’ve always joked previously at events that there’s no way I could do a warm up as I need all my energy for the race).  It always seems the speedy people that are warming up, and as someone who generally finds a place near the back of the pack, I felt a little like an impostor! I briefly got to see Dave prior to my run and after he finished his (still the best support crew around!!).

I made my way to be marshalled for the 10km start. Unfortunately finding myself right near the back of the pack, with no evidence of start zones to be seen.  I was slightly sad about this – I had in my head that I wanted to do a personal best for this run, and was dreaming of being able to finally crack the one hour mark. While I knew that my time wouldn’t start until I crossed the timing mat, I was concerned about the volume of people ahead of me that I might have to negotiate. However, I decided that was the way it was, and I just had to deal with it – I’m trying to get better at controlling the things I can and not worrying about the things I can’t control!  Anyway… before too long we were off.  The problem I envisaged was real and for the first kilometre of the run I dodged and weaved and tried to find my own space.  I was particularly impressed that there was a large contingent of participants from a local retirement village participating… however slightly less impressed that they all started at the front of the start zone, given it seemed they wanted to walk the whole way… anyway… Despite this start I was still able to do a 6:22min/km for the first kilometre and from then on started to follow my race plan.  The plan going into the event was to be strong and controlled aiming for best pace for the first 7km. If when I got to 7km I felt strong, I could push hard for the final three to the finish.  My mantra became “strong and controlled” – I couldn’t tell you how many times I repeated that in my head during the run. It has been a while since I ran a hard 10km and I really wasn’t sure just how far I could push myself. But I kept telling myself that if I tried to push to the point where it was hard but still controlled I hoped I’d be okay.  So I started ticking off the next kilometres… my pace was pretty steady – 5:59, 6:06, 6:06, 6:05, 6:06, 6:08…. I was also practicing race nutrition, so ensured I took on a gel at the 5km mark (with two quick water station stops pre and post for a mouthful of water to wash it all down – and given that happened in the above mix of times then it didn’t really impact my overall speed too much).

At 7km I was still feeling remarkably ok. I still felt strong and I still felt in control. So from here I decided I could start to increase my pace.  I wasn’t sure if I was pulling it up all that well, so a couple of times in kilometres 7 and 8 I ran some surges of increased intensity for about 100m with shorter 200m ease back into the pace… I was rewarded with splits of 5:59 and 5:55 so I knew I’d pegged it back a bit.

When I hit the last kilometre I decided to see what was left in the tank. I thought that my sub one hour was going to just elude me, but I was going to give it a red hot go anyway.  I upped my pace generally and hoped I could sustain it. I tried all kinds of games in my mind to tell me that 1km really wasn’t very far (likening it to different parts routes back home that I run… and this was completely on the flat).  With about 400m to go I saw my cheer squad of friends who had graciously hung around after their half marathon to support me (legends!!).  I am stoked to say that my final km was a 5:41 pace!! I don’t think I’ve ever run a km split like that before – let alone after 9km of pushing myself hard! I was amazed!

I finished feeling tired but great, with a time of 1:00:44…. Missed that hour by 44 seconds… (it gives me something to shoot for next time!).  I managed to take 3.5 minutes off my previous personal best 10km time, and about 5 minutes off my previous best under race conditions.  So while it was slightly disappointing, there were so many positives to pull away from the event.  10km of strong running, and being able to finish with increased pace is a first for me (I’m normally crawling over the line).  I finished 48th out of 102 in my age group!!! That’s in the front half of the field!! I was the 315th female out of 793 – again in the front half of the field…. And I came 662nd out of a total of 1306 10km runners (just outside the front half of the field). This race has shown me that all the training I’m doing is paying off, that I’m fitter than perhaps I think I am, and that I really need to start having a bit more confidence in my ability.  I’m no longer the back of the pack!

A massive thanks to Dave – for all his patience on training runs (even when I have a breakdown), Em for getting me fitter and pushing me to my limits, and my amazing training buddies and cheer squad up there last weekend. Thanks to fisiocrem for sponsoring me – I practically bathed in fisiocrem Sunday night and felt good Monday morning (and I had some cool threads I to wear on race day!). And a massive thanks to God that I’m healthy enough to participate in these events!

So, with 17 days to go before the next big dance, it’s time for the final phase of my build. Not much longer to go before, God willing, I’m able to participate in (and hopefully finish!!) my second Half Ironman.  Stay tuned!

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