Tim and I picked up Mark on time and arrived in plenty of time to register and prepare. Typically this is a small relaxed event and this year was no exception with the organisers ready for us few late entrants. I usually try to enter beforehand so that the race officials know how many to expect however I did not post my entry this time.
After race director Bruce had briefed the field we were off. Tim used the Flip video to capture these pics and I have grabbed a still. I love this machine ! Here is Mark and I gently moving into our work for the day.
A 1 hour 45 half marathon is 5 min km pace and I was keeping an eye on the GPS as we headed out so that I did not go too fast. It soon was averaging 4.52 pace and I was happy with that. I kept pace with Mark until the 5km drinks when Mark stopped to drink. I usually do just that but in recent runs have been practicing drinking on the run. Fortunately the cups today were flexible and a squeeze in the right place allowed me to drink, keep running and not spill too much. I had forgotten to pull out the peak fuel so grabbed a taste after the drink was finished. It is not the best practice but the peak fuel berry burst tastes so good !
At this time I noticed a group of three runners ahead of me and they were tracking along very nicely. I bridged the 30m gap with a burst and tucked in for a ride and some pleasant conversation.
As a group we were maintaining some good pace and around the 7 and 8 km period we caught about three other half runners and began to pass some of the half marathon walkers. The hill comes somewhere after the 9km mark and it is a nice meaty hill with plenty to get your teeth into. My pace slowed to about 6.15 pace but by now our group had split and I was beside the Striders Recent President Kevin. I enjoyed the hill and just after the turn found myself alone and about 50 metres in front was Moa Harriers runner Peter. I set sail trying to reel him in – no chance. He was struggling with the heat but the slight breeze we encountered after the hill revived him and he finished in front of me by over a minute.
The downhill was behind me and Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop – came at the right time on my shuffle. I did not feel like stopping but by the 14km mark I was starting to feel the effort and heat. I have run this course several times now and it is a nice feeling because at all times you know where you are. A right angle turn and then I could see the 10km turn around drinks stop in the far distance. That meant 5 km to go.
Ken from Wanganui came rocketing past me and I picked up my stride to slot in behind him. I hung in there for less than a km – no wonder – it was about 4.18 pace and by now I was managing 4.45s. Inside the last 4kms I passed another slowing runner and was trying to keep my form.
I have not been doing my usual gym session and today I noticed weaker arms and core. This I will remedy.
The humidity was making it a little hard – I am not complaining – and I was getting plenty of fluids. On a half you do not need to be so careful with your hydration so I skipped a couple of drinks stops and at one just gulped a mouthful for comfort. I am always pretty careful about my pre race fluids and today I got it right.
The finish of this run is a long straight – just over a km in total and you have to hold back otherwise it can be pretty tough. There was no one in front to chase – they were long gone – so I worked on two walkers and then cruised the last hundred metres for a 1 hour 41 minute and 52 second finish.
Writing this now about four hours later I am feeling great. My legs feel fresh and apart from a couple of blisters all is healthy.
After the race I caught up with Tim. He had done the 5k and recorded a PB of 24.15. Well done Tim. The 5k started 15 minutes after the half and then Tim had to hang around waiting for me to finish. He managed to record himself on the Flip video and as he ate most of my wine gum, jet plane and jelly bean post race feed, I shall blog his picture today.
Mark was a little disappointed with his 1 hour 52. He has been easily beating me on the Striders Tuesday night 7km events but today found the hill and distance slowed him a little.
Over all a good days effort and to top it off I won a spot prize – a cordless kettle – it will be donated to some worthy cause !
Thanks to all who organised and helped set up the day !