Emergency Services Games: Half Marathon
- I was feeling very comfortable, but was traveling a bit too quick at 3:51/km.
- My HR was at or just below expected.
- The race leader was going to put in a big gap early, I had to let him go.
- Those around me would change position over the next 6km regardless of what I did
- Best plan at this stage: stick with the original idea, time trial it
The attacker needed some sort of recovery after his last surge. It was something we weren't going to give him. We kept the speed up. it was slower than the surge, but fast enough to drop him. Now the battle for second place was between two. First place had been well and truly covered.
This is what I trained for...
A small amount of shoulder to shoulder running. I decided to drop half a step back and watch for the move. We were set up for our fastest times over the course, and I was feeling surprisingly good with that in mind. There were two key points I expected an attack. They had been tested in the second lap, so I was on the look out. He attacked at the first, which is the slightest little rise of just a few metres. On a very, very flat circuit, any little bump can have an impact late in the race. The attack was solid, but I had it covered. My cadence lifted, I kept my stride and I was definitely going faster. Unfortunately, he was going faster than I could match. This was the move I had to stay with and I did everything I could to find that speed.
The tunnel and white vision narrowed my focus to just the track and the runner ahead of me. No negative thoughts even threatened to get in my head. I was running at my best. It just couldn't close the gap the had opened. I knew he was hurting. It could be seen in his form and the breathing and grunting was a give away. The move was risky for him. It had the potential to have him crash and burn, but it also gave him a gap. With less than 2km left there was a slow down up front. From there I narrowed the margin a bit, but never enough to look like I could get in front. My legs had reached their limit. It felt almost impossible not to stop in the last 1000m. It is a rare feeling to have a such a deep and high level of burn in the legs for this distance.
Overall I came in 3rd position and 1st for my age group (30-34), with a time of 1:23:05. My fastest time on the course ever and my 2nd fastest time for a half marathon in the last few years. I got a lot right. About 24 seconds separated me from second, and the winning time was 1:19:xx. I don't think there was anything else I could have done on the day to improve my position. The racing was appropriately paced early and was right on, if not a bit over the rivet in the final third.
I've put in the heart rate file below. While I didn't race by HR, I did have a few checks early to make sure the numbers I saw match my RPE, and pace. Clearly the profile demonstrates the slightly fast effort in the first 3km, a controlled 6km lap, followed by a gradual increase throughout the second lap. The yellow section is roughly the area where my anaerobic threshold would sit. The effort over the last 6km lap is a fair way above this. In fact it is right the HR I hit in 10km events. The drop over the end couple of hundred metres was a reflection on the refusal of my legs to run.