Sri Chinmoy Running & Fitness Festival - Race Report

Yet again the people of Sri Chinmoy put on a great event. After the last few freezing mornings, I was glad that it was actually very pleasant at Williamstown. I missed most of my planned warm up having lined up in the wrong queue to pick up my timing and was only left with about five minutes to get the blood moving.

Some friendly chatter at the start line. I placed myself in the third row from the front, taking into account all the races were starting at the same time. Since I was in the half marathon, I thought the shorter distance runners would head faster than myself. After an attempted moment of silence, it was ready, set, go!

The start was a mess. Someone took a tumble off to my side. Some kids decided to run across the whole field. What I found interesting was as I reached the first corner, there appeared a ridiculous number of people in front of me. I am sure all these people did not pass me from the start line. My best guess is that a number started from the sidelines and joined in ahead of the official start. While I don't have proof, I'm pretty sure someone walking can't gain 50m over someone running in the first 200m.

All that aside things spread out pretty quickly. The front runners started streaming out ahead of me while I happily left the confusion of people behind . There was now plenty of space and it was time to start ticking off the kilometers.

Based on my 8km time and one track session over the last two weeks I thought I'd be capable of around 4:10/km pace. This is what I stuck to. Holding this pace felt almost easy. I was relaxed, comfortable and feeling strong, but I knew I may not have enough endurance work behind me. After the first 5km I decided it was best to hold it at 4:10 and see what happened after 16km.

Half way in and the system appeared to be working. A good steady pace, drink station technique working an absolute treat and the added incentive of watching a number of others in the half marathon dropping behind. I was having fun.

12km down and soon I was past my cheering family and friends. Apparently I was in about 30th position and one of my other mates was not too far ahead of me. Of course I was now obligated to try and beat him. The gap to him was slowly closing at my current pace, so best not to fix what isn't broken. I got to within about 30m by the time we made to the turnaround at 15km. Naturally he saw me at this, and he made it a point to stay ahead.

16km under the belt and legs were hurting. My breathing was up and effort level was certainly increasing. It was time to dig in. Unfortunately my legs kept slowing down, no matter how much harder to tried. I focused on form, I relaxed my upper body and I tried to keep my cadence up. Yet each kilometre became slower, 4:15, 4:16, 4:27.

Less than a kilometre left. I put put in what felt like a sprint level effort, but at best my pace only a bit under 4:00/km. Over the short stretch of grass and gravel path leading onto the track. At least my footing, and cornering has improved over the last few weeks. 300m on the athletics track and under the finish arch. The chairs in the finishing chute were suddenly the best thing the world. Both legs started cramping around my adductors and suddenly my balance was off. A few moments sitting and my body systems caught with the fact I was no longer running.

All up it was a race I was very happy with. For most part it was nearly executed to perfection, except my current endurance limit is around 17km. Guess the base from Ironman is starting to wear off. Finish time was 1:28:10, 25th in the M18-39 or 35th overall out of 343.


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