Let's talk about running. I know I haven't posted anything about my running for quite a while but today
I feel like it anyway. So bear with me. I ran my third North Shore Half Marathon on 2 weeks ago and it was my best race and the most fun I had running this year! I can't believe how awesome I felt throughout the entire race. T be honest, I haven't train much this year for the event and only started with my weekend long runs 3 weeks ago. I have been running consistently but not long in the past couple of months since I started Crossfit which I really enjoy. Running the race today reassured me that I should never consider stop running because I am too fatigue from other activities.
The race was perfect. It was everything anyone can hope for a perfect race day. It was cool with light breezes but the air was nice and cool and not too crisp to breathe in. This is my third time doing this race and this was the best I had so far. Last year's conditions was great too but I bonked because I was running my first few kilometers too fast , I didn't have a Garmin at that time to tell me what pace I was running and I was dehydrated because they ran out of water. None of the problems this time. Garmin charged, well dehydrated and there were plenty of water at the drink stations and I was in a very relaxed mood except for the first 5 minutes after the gun went off for the women's half marathon. I ran with my friend for the first 1-2 kilometer and taper off and told her to just enjoy her race. She went ahead and let me work on my own pacing.
Here's the screenshot from my Garmin connect comparing the only 2 races I have done in the last 12 months. My pace was more even/ conservative for the Adidas half but the condition was less forgiving because it was really hot on the day.
So here is the break down of my race
We started off on Takapuna beach, I was in the mid pack and let others run ahead of me and tried not to get too excited and until my body gets into the rhythm. A bit nervous as always because you know you have 20 odd kilometers to run. Just trying to keep my shoes dry while running on the beach for the first km. At around the 3-4km mark I noticed a girl in pink shirt who was running a pace that I find that I could follow with ease so I ran before here for a wee bit. I like having 'aims' but making mental notes of who was running around me at which point to have a feel of how I am pacing myself. I usually don't aim at the ones who runs down a hill very quick and then stop when ascending the next hill. I like doing a steady pace so that I don't have to stop at all except for drinking. There was a drink station at 4.5k mark and I love seeing drink stations because it's usually after stopping at a few of them and then you are almost finished! I have been feeling really comfortable throughout the first 5km. No discomfort. Good.
The highlight of this race for those who'd done it before is running up North Head at around 7km which is a nice 42m climb.It's gradual but still challenging. I was hoping that my hamstrings and glutes were ready to pound up the hill. About 1k of sandy run on Cheltenham Beach before we ascend to North Head and it was a bit challenging because the running on sand tires me out. Someone I know passed me on the ascend and I wonder if I will see her again on the way down.Stunning view when you get on to the top of North Head but I was so focused on not let the hills get to me and just want to keep the pace. It must be all the wall balls and box jumps that I have been doing in my Crossfit sessions that helped me run up the hill without too much drama. The run back down is fun and feels great because I know that I have completed one of the toughest stage in this race. 8k in and I am still feeling fresh. Good sign.
I ate 3 pieces of my favourite Clif Shot Blok Strawberry. They tastes so good and much easier to consume when you are running than gels and you don't feel as thirsty after. I can never go back to gels now. I usually only start eating after 60 minutes into a race but I have learnt my lesson and just do it before anyway. Listening to my body now.
My legs and whole body is feeling really strong. No discomfort at all and it was really surprising because when I go out for my weekly long runs I usually have niggly knees and ankles. My legs are also feeling really light. I haven't worn my Saucony Fastwitch for long runs in a while and so glad I picked it for the race. Legs are feeling awesome, views are stunning and I was having the best time. Must be one of the best runs I have had. Stopped for a drink station at 13.5k and kept going. I don't want to stop to walk at all. Some rolling hills and I managed to keep my pace even throughout without too much of a spike. Average pace is around 6:20 to 6:50. Maybe I was a little conservative on how much I could push myself but when I realise I was doing quite well in time, I didn't want to get too excited and hit the wall like I did before. There were a girl who overtook every time we run downhill but I caught up and overtake her when there's a hill ahead. I am feeling relieved that I can focus and keeping my pace even and comfortable.
Once I saw the 15k mark, I decided to push harder until 18k. This is a tip I got from my ex personal trainer who is a very strong and seasoned runner herself. She also told me to ease off a little between 18-20k mark and go hard out for the last kilometre and finish strong. Makes good sense to me. I picked up my speed and still feeling quite strong at this point. A little tired but everything's good. My mood is incredible. I was smiling to every volunteer I saw. When I saw that it was only 1.5 hours into the race at 17k mark, I was so excited. This is all very promising.
At around the 18k mark, I tripped over the concrete pavement and landed on all fours. My knees hurt a bit. A few runners checked if I was fine and I just waved and put a thumbs up sign. I got up and walked for about 10 seconds and started running again.There was a sting on my knee but I don't want to think too much and keep running at a slower but comfortable pace for a few minutes and keep checking my Garmin for time. The fall has rattled me a little and I know I need to refocus as there's only another 3km to go. At this time, I saw there was a cut on my right hand and I was bleeding. Not much but it's annoying. I stopped to walk for a minute just to gather myself and then I quickly decide that since I am bleeding I might as well run as fast as I can to the finish line. Picked up some speed and ran as fast as I could.
Every time I see the 20k mark, I get really excited and happy that the pain is going to end very soon. Around 400m from the finish line I had a glanced at my Garmin and I was shocked that I was going to make it under 2:15 if I don't stop running. I got a little emotional right there because it would be the best time I've ever done. I push a little harder and put every ounce of energy I have to run up the finish line.
I did it in 2:14!
I came to the race with so little expectation and came away with huge satisfaction. I was really really happy. I was not too sore and had lots of energy left in me. I need to race like this again and every time. Don't stress myself out about the time that I am going to do and trust my training will take me to the finish line. Of course, fuelling properly as well. I have about 7 weeks to go and I am going to make every training run as purposely as I can and see where it takes in the Adidas Half Marathon.