I entered the Gold Coast Half Marathon exactly 4 days after I returned from the US back in January. I blame the Dopey dredge but for some reason I decided to go after a Half PR – I knew I was better than my 2:54 previous best and naturally I didn’t beat it at either Disney park.
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago at the Bay to Bay and I ran the wrong race. It was actually the right race but in my head it wasn’t anything like I wanted it to turn out. Still, I ran a 2:41 which beat my time so I was happy but also was left thinking that maybe it’s race day where I fall apart.
The week of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon Weekend I didn’t give it much thought. Yes, I was running but I wasn’t obsessing about weather or what I was packing. I only threw my gear into a bag the night before (of course, making sure I didn’t forget anything). I made my way up to the Gold Coast as calmly as I could be.
Saturday morning was spent cheering the 10K runners, which my mum also ran in. It was quite chilly but I knew it was going to be (slightly) warmer the next day. And as a Sweaty Betty, it doesn’t really take much for me to start generating heat! Post-10K it was time to collect my race bib and hit the Expo!
The distance between the start/finish of the races and the Expo is significant enough that you need to take a car or public transport. Sure, the Marathon runners do run past the convention center on their route but it’s nothing you can easily walk to.
Getting to the Expo at opening is key – it was the last day that it was open and so there was no line up to get my bib! Love it! After chatting to so many exhibitors, getting a whole load of pics, finding my name on the board and buying more socks it was time to leave and rest up before the race on Sunday. Plus getting in late the night before + getting up at 4:30 will cause sleepiness in people!
This was my seventh half, so I didn’t give it much thought. However, for some people it was their first and their nervous energy was becoming contagious. I had to regroup and make sure my mind didn’t wander on the negative side of things.
One thing I must make note of is that in the start/finishing area there were so many portaloos around, which was extremely handy. After learning the hard way at WDW, never rely on toilets on course!
Getting to the corrals was a lot harder than it should have been. There was only 4 of them (which was a continuous start – not specific corral starts) but the area which fed the corrals also was the main crossing across the closed road for spectators and marathon runners (they were starting a whole hour and twenty minutes behind us). The race started while I was in the queue to get to the corral. No biggie. I made it through and joined whatever C/D amalgamation (I was in D) occurred since they weren’t holding the corrals back. I ended up crossing the start line about 7mins after the race started.
So this was going to be my race, it was cool but still. Absolutely no wind and the sun was coming up, catching the corners of the white high-rises that dot the beach. It was a magnificent day to be running and I was going to enjoy every part of it! The game plan was to try and run a 2:35 – my original goal. I had to maintain a 7:20/km pace and make sure I didn’t get caught up in the excitement of the first few kilometres.
Somehow I stuck to my gameplan. When I felt I was going faster, I slowed down. I took in the atmosphere and enjoyed the fantastic crowd support along the way. Shout out goes to the folks sitting outside their retirement village holding signs declaring that there was “Free oxygen” if needed. I cheered the leaders of the same race I was running in as they made their was back. I ran with a smile on my face and lived in the moment.
The entire way I ran ahead of pace.I didn’t walk at all (first time!!), and when I had hit that zone where you’re a little uncomfortable I didn’t feed into my brain telling me it was OK to have a break. I decided that I was going to speed things up a little between 12-18km and then just haul it from 18-21.1km.
This is the first time that I had hurt, and I enjoyed it. I felt like I was running faster, but my pace had me slower. I decided at the 18.5km mark that I needed some electrolytes. The slow down through the aid station to put my mix in the cup made me hit my first km over 7:20, but it didn’t matter too much.
The crowd was so much thicker as we made our way with 1.1km to go. Now was the time to give it my all – I wanted to be able to say that I went for it. If I didn’t get the PR then I knew it was all that I had. I crossed the line at 2:31.45 (2:31.43 official clock), not only did I beat my goal of 2:35, but I smashed my previous half best from two weeks ago by an entire 10mins!!! Crazy!!!
I’m still on cloud 9 after this past weekend’s run, and have decided that maybe I took my running a little too easy. I loved the feeling of fatigue and pain and pushing through it.I think I’m going to apply myself a whole lot more. And now I look towards the Honolulu Marathon and am super excited at the journey to get there!