It is hard to believe but today I ran a half marathon faster than I ever have before. A PB if you will.
What is so amazing is that my PB has stood since October 1985 – admittedly on a tougher course – but 1985 no less. I have been about 3 minutes or so outside it on only a few occasions over the years. My half marathon times and stats are not well kept so that is a job for a rainy day.
The event was the Coley St School, Foxton, annual fun run day incorporating a half, 10, 5 and 2km distances. I have run this event several times and my best here was a 1.36 or so – that was until today.
The weather was near perfect for a run. Cool but not cold. Some moisture in the air and improving conditions all the time. I have learned that if you want to run a fast time for a half or full marathon you need to start quickish so after a warm up and feeling quite reasonable I toed the start with about 50 others.
Suddenly we were off and I was in the zone. I was in the zone from the start – the first km was over in a flash and two camp up in 8.20 or so.
You know that feeling when you run and seem to float. Your feet barely kiss the sacred earth and your leg extension is full. Your cadence is rhythmical – upper body in sync – in short it is your day! I knew it was my day during the first km. No stream of runners came past and in front were about 13 others.
By the 5km the hardest part of the run was over – the slight headwind was being broken by the houses and we raced off into Foxton itself and out to the beach.
Into the town and then along the Lady’s Mile was a time to be patient. The other runners around me were all maintaining pace although we passed one at this time.
I had run through the drinks stations and only had taken two drinks by the half way. The 10km had come up around 42 mins plus and we headed out towards the river estuary. There has been some upgrading done here with some walkway established and new seal in places.
I was running alongside a young 17 year old completing his first half and longest run to date. Several times he complained, swore and said how sore he was. I said to be patient and just relax. He was a competitive spirit as every time I tried to pass him he surged and maintained a few metres lead on me. This was very good for me as I concentrated on hanging in there. Together we caught another runner ahead and he was competitive too and would not be passed.
This runner finished strongly and I ended up 7 seconds behind the young runner. I later encouraged him to see if he can be as fast in about 30 years time!!
The course passes the beach turn off and then winds its way back into town. Once you get into the 50km area it is time to crank it. And that is what I tried to do with one eye on my watch and one on the footpath. I knew I was going to go close to my all time PB but could not actually remember it! I knew it was 1.31 something and then I realised that 1.30 or there abouts was still on.
Unbelievable feelings flooded into me. Tears welled up. I was cranking as fast as I could but it was still was not an effort. It was floating. It was a light touch down and a long float then another light touch down. These days come along rarely – I loved it. Stopped my watch at 1.30.44 and the internal glow of a job well done.
All the hours spent running. Pilates. The gym. Burpees and weights in the shed at home. Stretching in front of the TV. Pressups. Watching what I eat and being disciplined to get to bed early most nights.
The satisfaction at achieving a time I never have before is both gentle and exhilarating. These is a quiet sense of satisfaction and acknowledgment of all the training paying off. The encouraging thing is that I have plenty left to improve.
I am stronger than I have ever been. My upper body and core strength has steadily developed. The pilates has been the foundation of this and lately deadlifts at the gym have made a big difference.
Next weekend I have the Kahuterawa Classic – a marathon over two days. This will be training and a chance to run in beautiful off road areas.