Monday, November 4, 2013

Yesterday I ran my First Half!

The alarm went off at 4:00am, and I hopped out of bed promptly before I could fall asleep again.  My aim was to catch the 5:15 ferry.  If I didn't have to wash my hair I could have slept in to 4:30, but for me not washing my hair is like not brushing my teeth and I couldn't possibly have run in that condition. Worth getting up earlier for.  Even if I was going to wash it again straight afterwards.

I was hoping to meet Jody or some other runbloggers at the ferry terminal, but arrived a minute late at 5:16 and boarded the next one instead.  Fifteen mins later at Devonport I thought I'd make a quick trip to the portaloo before trying to find either my cousin or Rachel (or both) somewhere in the marathon start and wish them luck.  Well I spent the next 3/4 hour in the toilet queue listening to the marathon start countdown instead - watching an awesome sunrise over the harbour mind you...

We had gear bags to dump our overlayers and things in before the start, so I dropped my stuff off and headed to the start line with 20 mins to go.  Lining up just behind the 2:00 mark I soaked up the atmosphere, retied my shoelaces to the perfect tension, retied my ponytail to the perfect tension, velcroed my cap to the perfect tension - I suppose this must be my way of releasing tension!  A couple of minutes to go and I noticed another woman nearby with a Nike Sportwatch and as I was pondering how popular they were I saw her screen all connected and ready to go - reminding me I had better do the same!

I thought the line moved forwards really quickly, probably because it was organised by time, and I reached the actual start line in 3-4 mins. I took the advice of Mr Runner's World's at the expo to not go out too fast.  Even though you already know this and read it in every running mag/book 1000 times over, being told eyeball to eyeball by an experienced marathoner made a real impression, and his words rang in my head continuously during the first few kilometres.

It takes me a while to warm up anyway, and those first few hills do a good job of it!  I concentrated on my breathing and tried to take advantage of gravity on the downhills. At drink stations I took just water - running to the last stand and grabbing the last cup, pulling off to the side, gulping a couple of shots, and moving on. I took a GU Espresso Love gel around 8km as we approached the 9km drink station, and the Peanut Butter later somewhere around the bridge, can't remember where exactly!


 I quite enjoyed the run down the Northern Busway and then onto the motorway towards the harbour bridge (9-14km).  I settled into a rhythm and occasionally glancing at my pace I realised I was running at 5:47 which is supposedly my McMillan Calculator half marathon pace that I thought I could never do.  Although it felt good I decided to go a bit slower until the bridge to make sure I didn't burn out too soon.

I had settled in behind a lovely lady who I had chatted to a bit, she had a really consistent-effort pace and I credit her for helping me run up the bridge relatively painlessly.  We met again at Shelley Beach Road (another uphill) and then I didn't see her again, I'm not sure if she finished in front of or behind me.  (Until the photos were released - and there we are running together up that hill!)

Anyway, I kept telling myself that although the finish line looks like it is just over there, it is actually 5km away, ie only 3/4 of this race is yet done.  So I sped up!  I told myself that this is just like my regular easy 5km route and tried to forget the miles I had already done.

I had worn my little handheld Nike drink bottle just in case I felt thirsty between drink stations.  Being thirsty makes me run bad, so thought it was worth carrying as you practically don't notice it.  As it turns out I needed the occasional sip, and I tossed the empty bottle to Steven as I ran past him at 18.5km - my son captured this funny shot:

Steven gives me the thumbs up while I toss my water bottle at him!
I ran this last 5km in little surges and recoveries - running well when I felt up to it, and slowing down a bit when I thought I was pushing too hard.  I started to overtake a few people (those ones who started out too fast!) and got excited about the finish.  I felt strong and ran faster.  Eventually I turned the last corner into Fanshawe Street and I felt like I passed lots of people in the finishing straight (had to squeeze past a couple of slow-pokes!) and crossed the line in:


Apparently my camera team had a great finishing line shot lined up, but the phone ran out of battery there and then!

I've just noticed that the race photos are up now - have a look!
http://www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz/ (click 2013 photos, my bib# is 9410)
There are some goodies - shall I get some, which ones?

So I pretty much ran my A goal.  I had in mind a range of 2:10 (very happy) to 2:20 (not so happy), but being my first half I didn't really know what to expect.  So here I am afterwards looking very happy:

I thought my Powerade didn't last long, this is why...!
More things I am happy about:

  • Having a wonderful family who didn't mind getting up at 5am to drop me at the ferry terminal, waiting around the backstreets of Victoria Park for me to run past and throw a water bottle at them, and still wait at the finish line for me!
  • And then buy me champagne to celebrate my first half!
  • That I did it!
  • I ran my fastest 10km!
  • I ran my fastest 5km!
  • I felt so good at the end, I know I can attempt a faster pace next time!
  • I now have a PB to beat!  (Now, when's the next half marathon on around here...!)
(PS - excuse all the exclamation marks, I am sure there is a directly proportional relationship between the use of exclamation marks and a runner's high!!!!!)


11 comments:

  1. Wow, what an awesome race recap!! Fantastic picture of you by your son, what great timing!! I'm so glad you enjoyed your first half marathon, and what a fabulous one it was, too! (Gosh, I seem to be going a little OTT with exclamation marks myself! Guess I'm just excited for you!!) There's the Coatesville Classic in March if you're interested. I was thinking of entering it, and I'm pretty sure Michelle already has...

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  2. You did so well and looked great at the finish! I'm dreading checking out the photos now...

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  3. Congrats on finishing your first half marathon! Looks like a great race day!

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  4. WOW great job a first half with a fastest 5k and 10k, that is pretty sweet! Not going out too fast is key, I did that on my first half and about died, swore off half marathons FOREVER and then started more conservatively the 2nd half I did. I then fell in love with the distance :)

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  5. Well done, that's awesome! You did sooo well! Gutted I missed you at the start. I was in the loo line until about mins before the gun... Nerves, haha.

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  6. Congrats!!!! Love the pic of you tossing your water bottle. Looking strong!

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  7. Congratulations!!! I knew you'd do amazing! Your photos are awesome; I like the ones on the bridge!
    And I didn't know you have a son. That's so nice they woke up early to come cheer you on!
    If you ran your fastest 10k and 5k, you can definitely get another PR on your next one! But, before signing up for another, enjoy some downtime...you earned it!

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  8. Wow, i am thrilled for you, Sherry! You did so very well. :)
    Smart not to go out too fast- It does help.
    The map is fantastic, and so are the pics- especially of the powerade culprit.
    Yes, you have room to improve; but, this is a wonderful start for half marathons!

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  9. Congrats on finishing your first half marathon and with great pacing! You absolutely killed it in your age group as well! The photo of you and your son is hilarious, both of your expressions are very telling. Enjoy the runner's high!

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  10. Congrats on rockin your first half marathon! I LOVE that pic of you tossing the bottle. It's great to see you smiling and having a great time while kicking major booty! You know what's next, right? The full 26.2!

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  11. Wow, fantastic job- what an accomplishment!! It sounds like you paced yourself so well, to still feel strong toward the end. Congrats!!!

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Thanks for commenting!

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