Race Report: Sandy Point Half Marathon

In one word cold. Thermals, extra thermal layer, double gloving, thermal headband, beanie and yet I was still cold pre-race. The coffee vendor wasn't even ready before the race so no help there. At least it didn't rain during the event. It took a long time to warm up for the race and I competed with an extra top and gloves.

My sinuses were much better, so the rest seemed to have done its job. There was a chance that the start was going to feel too easy, better take that into account. The coldness seemed to put a dampener on the excitement and without fanfare the race started.

Today I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor. No point after a week off. The numbers wouldn't mean much today. Plus the straps battery is flat and I've delayed getting it replaced. I'll just run a solid, but comfortable pace and see what happens.

The course was good, nice, moderate rolling hills. Nothing steep enough to break your rhythm, but enough of a change to keep things interesting. For the half marathon it was a two lap affair. For the first portion some of the field strung out ahead over the first couple of kilometres, but around the 5km mark I found I was steadily passing a few of these. I was feeling really good. Very comfortable and averaging flat on 4:00/km. Heading in towards 8km I was on track for around 1:24:xx race time and decided that is probably too much of an improvement. I backed the pace back down to 4:10/km just to be safe. I can always pick up later.

Arrectores pilorum:
First lap down and the plan was working. Soon I crossed the 12km marker and became aware of just how cold it was. I noticed the runners on either side of me had goosebumps and we were all breathing out big puffs of condensation from out our mouths.

Unfortunately something else I noticed was the building sensation of burning in my legs. Calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and all the muscles in between. The pain wasn't bad, but it was a definite sign much of pace was being met through anaerobic metabolism. My legs weren't hurting, but if I didn't pull back a little and stay at around or a bit under that lactate threshold (or whatever you want to call it) I may have trouble later.

H+ + HCO3- = H2CO3 = CO2 + H20
Despite backing off a little more, trouble hit at around 14km. The burn increased exponentially. My legs felt somewhat fresh, but the obvious accumulation of anaerobic byproducts had reached the level of forcing a very big slow down. My breathing rate increased, my legs refused to fire properly. I had hit the wall.

Despite a brief recovery for between 16-18km, the rest of my race was trying to limit the damage. I can't remember being passed by so many in the last 2km of any event before. In the end I finished in 1:30:20, 44th overall. My slowest this year. I think being sick for the week actually helped to a faster time that I would have run anyway. This has reinforced my recent concerns of my training. Time for a change.


  1. That was a big wall.

    The half marathon is long enough to show up any lack of endurance, or low lactate threshold.

    Looking forward to seeing the new plan.

  2. Half marathon is just a brutal race. The cold doesn't help much.

    As Ewen said, I'm looking forward what changes you are going to make.

  3. Good effort after a sinus infection, that's nasty.

  4. Hi there
    just read this article...good effort! i have just got a sinus infection 9 days before my first half marathon> i have been given antibiotics which last for 8 days...What should i do? do i race or not? any help appreciated


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