Two weeks ago from today I competed in Ironman Cairns. In the first week of recovery I did 2 20 minute runs with Sydney, my dog. I also did 2 30minute exercise sessions of abs and stretching. I followed that with week 2 of recovery including 10.7 hours of training composed of 15 miles of running, 95 miles of cycling, 1 mile of swimming, 2 30 minute lifting sessions, 2 pilates classes, and 1 yoga class. Yesterday I did a 2 hour bike ride at sunrise and then last night was a friends birthday party where I ate up including 3-4 glasses of red wine. What did I think I was capable of today in my 10th half marathon? I predicted between a 1:28 – 1:35.
After a horrible nights sleep and a 5:30AM wake up, all I could stomach was my typical Monster Energy Drink. I wore my CEP Compression socks, Noosa Tri 7 racing flats, nike shorts, tech wick shirt, arm warmers, hat, gloves, Garmin 310XT GPS, Spi belt with 2 gels, and Oakely glasses. I had the look, but how well would I perform? My initial race plan was to go out at 6:53 or a 1:30 half pace and negative split it. Instead, when the race started with the 31 other half marathoners and 56 10K’rs, I stuck with the 2 front runners at a 6:34 pace.
I didn’t warm up today. Just a couple stretches. It was freezing. Maybe 35 degrees. I knew if I went out too hard, while not warm, it woulda really been a strain. I continued to plug away hoping that this guy I haven’t been with before was running the 10K. I’d have another mile or so to figure that one out. I continued knocking off 6:30’s and 6:40’s. I ate an Accel-Gel and had some water. Just before the half the 2nd placed guy who had been maybe 10 meters behind me for the last 5 miles passed me. I didn’t panic. The 3rd place guy was maybe 500 meters back, I thought it’s either 1st or 2nd; we still have 5 miles to go, let’s see what happens.
Total elevation gain was only 86 feet but you could notice the .5%-1% grade. It was here that the 2nd place guy was slowing down, I was going to run right next to him and slightly in back so that my shadow would tell him, “Hey mate, I’m here. If you want this, you’re going to have to work for it”. I trusted the strength in my legs and as he slowed, I maintained pushing through to the crown, hammered on the downhill and he never came back. Unfortunately, the 3rd place guy had passed both of us probably at a 6:15 pace near the 8 mile mark. I had no idea where this came from. I mean, “Where were you for the first half?”. That was a lost cause so I was fighting for 2nd. I stayed strong telling myself I have this, it’s not that far, and listened to my music (1st time ever in a race).
With 2 miles to go I know I wasn’t going to set a PR breaking 1:27.03 but would post a 1:28 something. I fought like hell at the end going 6:56, 6:54, 6:48, 6:32 in the last 3 miles and in my finishing kick.
It was a great race, a great day for PR, and I honestly left a lot out there. It was one of my best run races. The first place guy ended up in 1:26.57. The 3rd place guy did a 1:29 something. Turns out the 3rd place guy ran the Phuket marathon last week in 3:49. Completely impressed, I told him without the humidity he would easily be able to break 3:10 based off of todays race time.
So here I am 9 weeks before Ironman Mont-Tremblant and the confidence has really come back. There is another half marathon in 6 weeks where I plan and expect to PR. Only that day will tell me by how much. Expectation is set 1:25-1:27