Caught in between wanting to race and knowing I’m not as fast as I want to be. Leading into the Coburg Half Marathon the excuses not to race built up. None of the were good reasons. Only excuses.
My training has been the basics of base training. Most of it is easy. Where I gently push up my capabilities. A half marathon is that chance to really push out the boundaries to add a little extra.
My top end was definitely limited. A lack of high intensity training will do that. This meant a conservative race plan would get me my best result.
* Relax and find a race rhythm
* Keep it feeling easy for the first half
* Gradually pick it up in the second half
I wasn’t expecting a personal best. I had to ignore placings. Time to relearn some self control in a race.
Melbourne’s recent weather had seen some crazy winds, rain and cold. As seems to be my trend of late, the weather cleared up for close to perfect conditions.
Relaxed and easy.
Surprisingly this kept me up with the front runners. The opening out and back makes for a nice relaxed undulating rhythm. My legs felt fresh. It was easy to run too fast. I didn’t have the right fitness to go out hard. Being in this pack was forcing my pace up.
Today I took a different approach than usual. I backed off.
It was a subtle slow down. Hardly noticeable. A few seconds per kilometre. Gradually falling off the lead group.
This was a race and it didn’t feel right.
I reminded myself I knew my body. More than just understanding where my fitness was at. Here was the opportunity to bring back a bit of patience in my racing. If I was fitter than I thought I could attack later in the race.
Halfway brought us back through the start line. It was a 2 lap course. For a half marathon it was feeling relatively comfortable. Definitely not easy, but I was in control. Working at the level I could hold my form together.
Curious to see how I a repeat over the course would go.
Out in 5th place. A gap of about a minute off the lead and 30 seconds from 4th place. Could I bring it back? Would anyone fade?
Sticking with the plan I gradually picked up the effort into the second half.
Despite a mild increase in heart rate, the resulting pace averaged about 8 seconds/km slower than first time over.
After the 16km mark I felt my legs change. They weren’t really hurting, just fatigued and losing power. My pace dropped and I struggled to keep the intensity. In no-man’s land. A good distance from 4th place and well ahead of 6th. This forced the race into being me against myself.
It is a good place to be if you want to learn something about your mind.
Plenty of excuses presented themselves to justify slacking off. Mainly I could hold my place to the finish. That would be a way to finish with regret.
Instead I let those excuses continue on through. Refocused on form and tried to absorb myself in the process of running.
I’ll have to say I struggled with this. The negative thoughts kept creeping in, trying to distract me. For the next few kilometres it was a constant exercise in refocusing the mind. I was glad for the mindfulness training I do. It certainly got me back on track faster.
One last hill and a little under 2km to go.
My legs sucked. They didn’t want to run anymore. Luckily my mind started to enjoy itself again and over rode those legs. Looking at my splits I didn’t get any faster, but I definitely felt better. That brought me through the finish in an official time of 1:29:36 and 5th place over all. Well off my faster times, but where I should be based on my fitness.
Coburg Harriers Fun Runs
It was great to back at one of the Coburg Harriers Fun Runs. They have been amongst my favourite runs for the last 2 decades. Low key. Accurate courses. Super friendly. Crazy value for money. Get onto them.