Sunday, July 06, 2008

Race Report: Gold Coast Half Marathon

I did not train as well as I could have for the half marathon. Between travel and shin splints, I just didn't do as many Ks. But last week I ran 16Ks in prep, and I sorta reckoned that it would take me 2 hours, which is an hour short of what a tri took me, so I could probably run for the long.

Last night, I tried to get to sleep early. I watched a movie, had a beer, and went to bed at 9:30. At 10pm my neighbors sounded like they had moved their party onto my balcony. It sounded like a good time, if I hadn't had to get up at 4am. When I finally did get to sleep, it was fretful. The movie was a thriller, and I kept having nightmares that someone had stolen my license. And I kept waking up worrying that I would sleep through my alarm.

I had forgotten to pick up my number last week, so when I got to the course, I needed to find registration. The start was at 6:30. So at 6:05 it was still dark, and registration was not easy to find. By the time I got my number, it was 5 min til the start, not enough time to get into the queue for the loo. OK, fine, there will be toilets on the course.

7000 people ran the half marathon this morning. The start was just packed. When the gun went off, I wasn't even on the course, I was on the other side of a barrier. Slowly, we hopped over the barrier, and walked toward the start. They had music playing. When I crossed, the song "Running" (by Kiwi band Evermore) was playing, there was a little downhill and I could see the field of runners stretching out in front of me for what looked like miles already.

Generally, I find the first 5K of a run the hardest, then things start to settle in, I find my cadence and my breath, and then I feel like I can just keep going. This morning, maybe because there were so many people in the field that it took a lot of time to get up to speed, I felt good right off the start. I caught up to the 2 hour pace setters (they carry balloons!), and felt fast, so I passed them. Besides, I was still gonna have to stop to visit the loo somewhere along the course.

At 4K, I found my pit stop. I lost 2.5 minutes in the queue, but definitely better than it would have been had I waited at the start. The 2h balloons were a minute ahead of me when I rejoined the field, so I tried to keep them in my sights, and re-pass people I had passed in the start. At 6K the rain started. It was just a drizzle, but it was a cold drizzle and it was enough to get the shoes wet through and through.

The course turned and across the sky there was a rainbow. Not just a little wedge of rainbow like you get in the states. It arced across the entire sky touching the horizon twice. And the rain stopped.

The first 12K of the race just felt great. In fact, I forgot to look at my time when crossing the halfway mark. At that point it started to get hard. There was no sign for the 14K mark which messes with your head when you're trying to focus on pealing off the K's. At the 17K mark things started to hurt. But I also realized I was going to finish in less than 1:55. I started focusing on how many Ks to go (which my math brain seems to turn off when I'm running so it was somewhere between 6 and 3K depending on when you ask me). At 18K, I could feel the blisters coming up. At 19K, I began counting my breaths to pull myself through.

And then, it was over. 1 hour, 53 minutes and 46 seconds after I started, I was finished. I crossed the line, got my water and banana, my medal and my tshirt.

In a few days, I'll stop waddling. In a week, the blisters will callus. And in a few months, I'll run another half, sub 1:50.

1 comments:

Dave July 13, 2008 at 9:09 PM  

yay! good job, laura!

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