Well, this one is going to have to be a more wordy update than the past half a dozen. I only have a single photo from the Half-Marathon and it's a lousy pre-race warm-up photo!
My only photo from the run!
When I arrived at the start location for the run, there were already tonnes of people milling about everywhere. I headed down to the main area to collect my number bib. Did I mention that it was cold? Well... "cold" doesn't really cover it... it was ucking freezing! So I grabbed my stuff and hunkered down, not wanting to change into my running t-shirt and shorts until I really had to.
Eventually, I changed and went for a brief jaunt along the river there to try to warm up. I made a bathroom call, went to check-in my bag and headed to the start... oh, quite far back. This'll hurt my time.
But thinking about it, I guess it was a decision to either freeze my arse off for 20-25mins at the front of the pack, starting out cold; or starting mid-pack (still fairly cold) and trying to make up the difference. In retrospect, I probably would have chosen the first option, but lesson learnt!
The course follows a reservoir access road with a couple of non-trivial hills along the way.
Out of the gate I was stuck behind slow-pokes and weaving through heavy traffic. I'm sure some of them were probably cursing me: "it's not a race"... well, for starters, it *is* a race, and I happen to be racing the very fit shadow of last years time... so on with the cutting off of plodders!
I was hurting a little in the first half, and worried that I wouldn't have been able to keep the pace up, but the longer I ran the stronger I felt (sort of... hahaha) and I made the 10km turn around at about 45mins feeling good and pushing the pace a little on the return journey.
I had finally caught up to my rough speed category but was still passing people up the hills (the benefit of doing most of my training in the hills I guess). Each hill on the return journey would loom, casting a shadow on my optimism, but each would fall away easier than the last. So I pushed on.
Coming down the final stretch I poured everything I had into my thighs, pushing all the way to the line.
I crossed the line in 1hr35min27sec with a net-time (start to finish) of 1hr33min40sec. I finished in 63rd place overall, 21st in the Men's Open category and only 7 seconds behind the first finishing female. Much better than I expected, actually, but not enough to beat out last year's time of 1hr32min.
I was certainly paying a big price for pushing myself that hard with serious leg pain for the next couple of days!
I'm looking forward to the next race, where hopefully I won't push myself quite as hard!
See you at the finish line!