Sri Chinmoy - Williamstown Running Festival
Just to make sure things were familiar, the morning started off nice and cold. A layer of fog covered most of the course and stayed for the whole run. It took a while to warm up and shake some of the stiffness of my heaviest week of running in quite a while. Yet, by the time the moment of silence was up, I was ready to go.
Lined up one place from the start there wasn't too much traffic to worry about. Again I was amazed at the number of people travelling as slow as 7-8min/km who still managed to get about 50-60m clear of the front runners. Do they jump in at the first turn ahead of the start or what?
Instead of hammering the first kilometres like I often have here, this time I just cruised into a comfortable rhythm. Not worrying about anyone else. I actually didn't care who was in front this time. The rhythm felt very, very comfortable and was roughly on 4:07/km pace. Good enough for under 1:27 by days end.
I gave myself 5km at this pace to see how I was handling things. Then it was time to formulate a plan. That first five splits were ticked off and I was feeling exceptionally good. In fact, it was like I was out for a training run. The fog was obviously staying. There was hardly any wind and the temperature was perfect. Everything was right to speed things up.
Experimenting with about 3:59-4:03/km I soon found that 4:03/km seemed to be right. Now in the greased groove I just stayed there until the 15km mark. No decisions were to be made before then.
Around the top turnaround, through 15km. The runners had gradually spread out around me. Earlier had seen a shifting pack of 4-8 competitors, but now everyone were obviously individuals. In my own world it was clear I could hold the pace to the finish. Of course I wanted more than that. It was also clear that I wasn't going to be able to lift too much without paying the price before the finish either.
The solution the was to make the most of the slight declines that were left and just lift things a little over the rest of the course. Hopefully I could get something more out the last couple of kilometres. I guessed I should hit around 1:26 by the time I stopped the clock, but my maths was struggling a bit at this stage.
The mild declines increased my leg speed, which I held over the flat. Down to the final turn at around 19km. Finally my muscles suggested it would be better just to stop. No real pain, just the general fatigue feeling of long distance... easily silenced.
No better way to argue the point than to be aggressive. Keep to the nice, tall, smooth running form that had done me so well, so far. Then add a little extra. Just wind it up over those last 2.1km. My post race splits showed 3:50/km over that last section.
The clocked stopped at 1:25:18.
Faster than expected. My best half marathon since 2006. A big improvement since the Police Games only a few months ago. Predicts a sub 3hr marathon according to the McMillan equivalent tables. 28th out of 506. In other words...
... a great race.