Before I ran my marathon, I had this planned as my next big goal - my first under 2hrs half marathon. Then I ran a half marathon before the marathon and got my under 2hrs there, so I changed this goal to 1:55. I didn't count on gettin injured though. I've been nursing this stupid injury for about a month, my training definitely hasn't been what I wanted it to be, so by the time I got to Sunday I'd readjusted my goal to getting under 2hrs.
After Christchurch my leg was pretty good, the physio sent me off with the exercises and the expectation it would get better. After a couple of weeks of training pretty hard, my leg was definitely getting worse not better. So before this race I took three days off, dosed myself up with Voltarin and hoped for the best.
My plan was to push myself to start faster, get to under 2hr pace, or very close to right from the beginning and then keep it there until about 13km. Then, if needed, push myself to run a couple of fast k's to make sure I kept my pace to under the magic 2hrs (half marathon pace for under 2hrs = 5:42).
We parked at work, about 10min walk away and walked down to the stadium. Weather was a typical winter Wellington day - cold, wet, southerly.
Got to the stadium, found my sister, niece and great niece - left Cameron who was running the 10k and Rhiannon who was running the Magic Mile with my niece and my sister and I went off and lined up for the toilets. I'm usually way too early to races, this one I was running late! While in the toilets they called for everyone to line up, so it was a rushed toilet stop and then off to the start. Ugh, one of my tactics was not to get jammed in at the start, I had to push myself to the middle because it was already crowded. Dianna had long gone and I know was going to try and stick with the 1:40 pacer (she's much faster than me! LOL).
Got my ipod going, got my Garmin going, and I was ready - just in time, only took about 30sec to reach the start (I much prefer the different starts for each event), and off we ran, and no jamming in - yay! Probably because we run from the stadium and the entrance is wider than a normal road, by the time we reached the pathways down and hit the road people were already settled into reasonable pace, and I must have been in the right place - no weaving, getting frustrated.
So - plan to hit about 5:42 pace? First 5k splits = 5:35, 5:35, 5:37, 5:33 and 5:34. Whooaaaaa ... the voltarim and rest obviously worked, my legs were actually working right!
By about 8km I was getting tired, I was a bit worried about this ... I'm usually a slow starter in case I overdo it, but this time I wanted to push myself. At about 9km we turned a corner and suddenly had the wind behind us, just as I needed it. Second 6k-10k splits = 5:37, 5:39, 5:42, 5:41 and 5:27.
This was an out and back course, so it was about 9k I the main bunches started coming the other way, I saw a friend from school first (she finished in 1:31 ... whoa!), was looking for my sister, didn't see her, didn't see her ... thought I must have missed her. At about 10km (0.5km) from the turnaround, there she was! ... she is quite funny about my running and I know lots more worried about me beating her than I am about catching her ... I can imagine her panic when she realised I was only a k behind her - she said afterwards it really sped her up ;).
13km I stopped properly, had a drink, had a gel and regathered, that pushing it was getting tiring! 11k-15km = 5:33, 5:40, 5:42, 5:45 and 5:34 (the 5:45 was the drink stop, I was quite pleased I managed to gather the time back afterwards).
Those last 6km I was just telling myself to hang on and keep running and making sure I kept my overall pace in about the same place! I was quite surprised everytime I looked at my watch that I was still keeping up, because I didn't feel like I was! I think the wind was behind us most of way back which probably helped.
Last splits, 16km to finish = 5:36, 5:38, 5:52 (drink stop), 5:37, 5:36 and 5:42 (there is a killer short steep ramp/hill going back into the Stadium).
I didn't look at my overall time until just before the finish and suddenly realised if I pushed it I could get a PR ... so I pushed myself into a sprint and managed 1:57:27 ... 13sec faster than my previous fastest time ... yay!!
So ... the damage? Well the voltarin obviously masked the injury, because by Sunday evening I was seriously hobbling. Monday I was still sore ... and Thursday now and its still not good :( I'd already decided to take at least a week, probably a week and a half off to see if that would fix it - but I was hoping by now it would be feeling good and then a week extra would give extra healing time. I'm off to see the physio in about half an hour, hopefully he can work some magic!
And the kids? Cameron (14yo) ran the 10km in 51min, which isn't bad because his training seriously declined about the same time the World Cup started ... bit hard getting up and running before school when you've spent half the night watching TV! ... he said it was easy and should have run faster (he hadn't run that far before and was worried about pushing it too hard).
Rhiannon (11yo) ran the mile in 9:22 ... not too bad, she isn't quite the natural athlete her brother is, so thats pretty good for her :)
Righty, better get myself ready for the physio and those little running around jobs I need to do afterwards!!
Thanks for reading :)
Oh ... and a last couple of pictures - I wonder why people are forever mistaking my sister and I???