SMH Half Marathon – 13th in 73:01

SMH Half Marathon – 13th in 73:01

The faster but not fitter I get, the more these type of races hurt.

My best attempt at a taper was 135km last week (with 2x nasty tempo treadmill runs) then 65k over Mon-Sat. So just like the Aldi chicken on sale I ate the night before, there was serious questions over leg freshness.

Morning started off with a Central drop off (thanks Lorie) then a 2km jog to stone Pillars. Shared a quick chat with Quentin before toeing the start.

Having a race strategy is hard with only a 82 min half PB benchmark not to mention being a slow starter. I agree to stick with Eloise, figuring she’d run a clinical 73.XX for the win.

A long long countdown. Announcer loves his own voice. 10, 9 …. 3, 2, 1 and finally the gun goes. Shooting down Macquarie is a frenzy as anyone can keep 3:20s.

Startline outside St Mary’s Cathedral

Crowd thins out by 2km, 10-odd group forms. There’s a bit of cross-female eye-balling amongst the top 3 girls that is just funny to watch.  A fourth guy has a pony tail so in effect, 40% female group. Wow.

I now understand how to run the SMH – hit the first 10km hard, cruise to 16km then throttle the hills in the last 6km.

Even high 3:20s pace is a rude shock to my legs. Though I like to ease into my rhythm, too much time is lost.

Quads fatigue first and fast. We hit the wind heading south on Hickson and doubt is already creeping in. We all share pacing but it’s hard enough not being dropped!

There I am feeling worse and worse spinning around lonely Pyrmont. Big kick seeing Christine + baby Lincoln cheering at 8km. Group thins out to 5 and I mention to Eloise that our 10k split is 34:40. A bit slow?

Half-way – 36:35. Doubting if I can hold this again.

Hickson northbound is where you feed off the cheers with the outbound runners.

I’m THAT Asian guy tucked behind the lead woman chasing a policman on a bike. Flat turf plus tailwind equals cruise mode? Not so. I’m starting to think about brunch and my form falters as a result.

We smell blood seeing a few stragglers into the Cahill tunnel. This is after some very lukewarm 15km and 16km splits… 3:36, 3:45.

Here comes Macquarie street ascent after 17km. The climb turns out to be a non-event. Before long I see a tiring Neil and reel him in around the Mrs Mac Chair bend. Surprisingly my core group of four does not fracture until the climb at 20km past the Gallery.

Finally that Aldi chicken leg digests and the stomach pain eases. Here’s my chance not to get chicked! A quick surge drops Eloise, then a 2nd surge near the Stone Pillars has two soldiers defeated.

Final bend comes, I see Charlie cheering at the corner. Baffling as I saw him in Pyrmont 10km… did he DNF or turn Kenyan for the last 13km?

Sprinting into the finish, I look at the clock with 15m to go in horror.

1:12:57 ….bugger!

73:01 and 13th place. Tidy 9 min PB on 2012. Should have dive bombed for a sub-73. There’s always next year.

The finish is pretty empty but there’s a few (Tom, Barts, Lewis) getting comfortable with the cameras.

From the left – Neil, Lewis, Tom, myself

My PB-inspired excitement is overwhelmed by a persistently weak stomach. This means I can only exchange a few sweaty handshakes before taking the bus-of-shame home with Lorie.

Stoked with my effort, the pacing was bang on. Today was a true exercise in pain management. They say listen to the body:
– quads told me from 6km that I’m over-raced and not fully recovered/tapered.
– stomach pleads with me to no longer try 40% off Aldi meat as a pre-race meal.

I look at my splits showing a tidy mini negative split:
– First half – 36:33
– Second half – 36:27

Some call outs:
– Run of the day goes to Tommy H with a huge PB of 71:13 … never though it possible.
– Lewis sneaking under 72 and Barts seemly unhappy with a 72:15 …
– Andy sub 75 min and Macca not far behind.
– Lambert another PB at 78 min.

Lucky I had the benefit of running with the lead girl. This kept me very honest.

Loitering around the drinks stand

The aftermath involved an excellent brunch at Darlinghurst which remedied my stomach issues. Maybe I was just hungry?

Going to put the feet up for a few weeks (from racing). Not sure what’s next on the cards.

Here’s the detailed split below.

Run splits
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