HM Report

23 08 2010

Well, I did  it. I successfully completed my first Half Marathon.

The run was originally meant to start and finish at the Wagga Beach but as a result of a solid fortnight of almost constant rain, some of the roads around the beach were closed and so it was moved at the eleventh hour to the Wagga Boat Club.

The run started at about 8.45, with about 100 runners lining up for the HM. I had no real knowledge of the path in front of me. Despite the abundance of modern mapping tools, the organisers had gone for the low tech marker pen on a map option. I accept that there was a change to the advertised route, but with the three days notice they had given us, it would have taken all of two hours to get someone with a GPS to ride the course and upload it. Anyway, I had no idea how much was off road and how much wasn’t. The organisers/volunteers on the day weren’t very forthcoming with info so I resolved to just take it as it came.

We started off about 15mins after the full marathoners, and I was keen to finish before they started overtaking me. I guess I went out a bit faster than normal because I hit the 1km marker at about 4min30s and the 2km at a little under 9min. I made a conscious effort to slow down after that. I knew that the original course had a big hill early on and I figured that this would be much the same. What I didn’t realise is that the first couple of kms was ever so slightly downhill, which, on an out-and-back course, means the last couple of kms are ever so slightly uphill.

It wasn’t. It didn’t have one hill – it had two. The original route was one hill and then mostly down hill or flat, this was a long climb over difficult uneven terrain, and then the same again on the way back, the obvious disadvantage of an out and back course.

I didn’t enjoy the terrain. Not only was it off-road, but it was rocky and muddy. At times I literally slid and at other times I had to jump puddles. The on-road portions were very much appreciated and I felt a lot more comfortable with asphalt beneath my feet.

The picture below shows the condition of the track. Bear in mind that this is at the top of the hill and was about the only dry(ish) portion of the entire track (the off-road bits, at least).

The next two photos are at the top of the same hill. In the first you get more of an appreciation of the slope of the hill and in the second, you’ll see me. I’m in the first pic as well (at the back in the blue shirt)

On the run, there were two little fences to climb over, which of course slowed me down again, something I actually came to appreciate after slogging through the crud.

I went through the turn around point in 59m20s, and was quite happy. I was on track for a sub 2hr run and feeling pretty good. I knew I had a couple of decent downhill sections to help make up some time.

However, by the time I got to the return climb, I was feeling spent. I was struggling to maintain a positive state of mind as the weather turned and the tiredness crept in. By the time I reached the return peak, my feet were aching (courtesy of those bloody rocks). I tried to push on the downhill and by the time I turned towards the boat club with about three kms to go I was in danger of falling behind my goal time. I had a little over 18mins to do the last 3kms and I knew that 6mins a km would be a push. I still didn’t realise that it was slighty uphill, it didn’t feel like it, but by then I was just concentrating on moving forward.

In the end, I came home in 2hr 1min 24secs

In the end, I was happy with my time. The course was a lot harder than I anticipated and given my general lack of training over the last couple of months, I think I did well. The C2S the week before was the last run before the HM, and before that it had been less than a handful for several weeks.

I know now that I can do the distance, and I’m keen to have another crack at a HM. Definitely on-road. There is the “fast course” Central Coast HM in late November which I’d like to do, and I’ve been asked if I want to do the Melbourne and Auckland HMs. I’d love to be able to attempt all three, but given work constraints and my desire not to spend amymore time away from the family than I need to, I probably won’t do any of them. Instead, I think I’ll plot out a local onroad HM and give that a go with some friends.




2 responses

23 08 2010

Well done Chris, it sounds like you picked a tough one for your first HM!

25 08 2010


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