Monday, 1 October 2012

Esperance 1/2 Marathon - 2012

This past week has been another week of ups and downs as far as how the body has been feeling. After having a recovery week last week the plan was to do much of the same this week in hope I would feel ok heading into the Esperance 1/2 Marathon. This hamstring tendon niggle I have is getting a bit tedious now, it decides on a daily basis of how it is going to feel. 

I had a couple of massages from Nathan at Massageworks HQ this week. It's great having so much confidence in someone who seems to always work things out regarding any niggles or tight muscles. I made an executive decision early this week that I wasn't going to get a hell of a lot out of pushing it too much and running this week before Esperance. 

On the Friday after we arrived in Esperance I decided I should probably test out this damn hamstring tendon and see if he was going to play nice for me. The plan was a short 8km along the Esperance sea front with a 2km interval at race pace. The whole run went really nicely. Liz my wonderful wife came along on the bike which was fun. The 2km at race pace went awesome and the hamstring felt fine. Stopping about 300m from home and walking the last wee bit was good to shake the legs out.

I find it really interesting running fast for such a short time. I think that is the ultra runner/trail runner coming out in me but I find myself questioning whether I enjoy running fast or not. I appreciate all forms of running being 100 metres or 100 miles, and I think it's great that there is a distance for everyone. 

The forecast for race day was near on perfect and Esperance certainly delivered! The forecast read 23deg and sunny with the wind not coming in until 11am. I am pretty naive in general when it comes to warming up and for most of the running I do I tend to plug in the headphones, crank on some crazy fast dance music for a couple of minutes before the race and pretend like I know what I'm doing. As far as warming up for a half marathon, I wasn't too sure what to do. Thankfully I remembered Nathan mentioning something about stride outs at race pace or something similar so I rolled with this. 

I got on the start line feeling quite chuffed that the body was really warm and feeling pretty good. I was pretty nervous before the race started as I really had no idea how this was going to pan out. I had a rough time in mind but no idea if this was really achievable based on my current training and also coming off the Glasshouse 100km 2 weeks ago.

We started and quickly there was a lead group of around 5 runners cruising along at 3:30 pace. Almost instantly we were feeling the wind as it had picked up in the last half hour before the race. After the first lap of 7ish km (22:46) the 5 soon became 2. A couple of young guns had pushed the envelope a little too hard early on. Starting out on the 2nd lap I worked out I had about a 5 sec lead on 2nd place who was breathing down my neck and appeared to be running strongly. The main issue with the wind was heading out to the Castletown turnaround point which was a mere 3.5km so I was pretty happy to push a little harder to maintain a reasonable pace. By the time I got to Castletown I had extended the lead to about 30 seconds.

The tail wind on the way back to the start finish line was awesome. It certainly made maintaining pace a little easier than on the way out. I ran pretty cautiously on the way back as I knew I still had another stint into the wind coming up which I wanted to run strong. A quick swig of water at the start/finish turnaround and I was off on the final push of the race. As I headed off on the final lap I soon realised I had a pretty comfortable lead which was pleasing. I still wanted to run well into the wind as anything can happen. The final km before the turn was where I think the memories from the Glasshouse 100km came back to say hello. The quads pretty quickly became heavier and I was quite thankful that I only had a km or so before I got to bring it home with a nice breeze at my back.

The final 3.5km to the finish was really fun. Seeing second place a wee bit behind enabled me to ease back slightly and really enjoy the final few kms. Running past the 5 & 10km runners as they were heading out was fun and good to say hello to a few people as they went by.

I crossed the line in 76:42 to win and beat my only other half marathon time of 84mins. I was really stoked with how the body held up after how the last few weeks had gone and considering Glasshouse was only 2 weeks earlier. After a quick dip into the ocean to cool the legs down I headed back to the start finish area where a good mate of mine Grant Wholey came in at 93mins. A PB for him I believe and well under the running calculator time of 97mins. Good luck to Grant at the Melbourne Marathon in 2 weeks time.

I had new shoes on my feet for the race being the Hoka One One Stinson Evo Tarmacs. These shoes arrived on Thursday before the race so I wasn't going to have weeks to wear them in and soften them up. That didn't really bother me in the slightest as I had pretty much done similar things when I got the Bondi B's. I was able to do my quick 8km on Friday in them to at least see how they felt. WOW! Talk about comfort. It literally feels like you are being propelled forward with every step! I'll do a full review of the Tarmacs once I have put a few more km's in them but they were outstanding as far as performance goes and I was really happy to be running in them on race day. They made running on bitumen fun ;) A huge thank you to Roger at Hoka Australia for organising those for me. 

A big thank you to the race directors and all of the aid station volunteers for running such a smooth race. Your smiles and cheering was awesome! It was great to race in Esperance this year, as last year I was busy getting married! A pretty good reason to skip a race ;) Thanks to the number one cheer-squad in WA - Livy, Madi, Amitty, Faye and of course Liz for cheering me along on the way.

I'm almost glad in a way that this race is over now so I can get back to the trails and back to a part of running that I really love. It was really cool to run a relatively quick time and know I still have speed despite my current training regime being a bit slower and longer to get ready for 100km races. I cannot wait for the Great North Walk 100, bring it on!!

And we're off!


Running along the sea front

Stretching that damn hammy!
Cooling the legs down after the race

Before the start

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