I did the City to Surf half marathon the other weekend. A few people I know said that they thought it was really hard. I’m not so sure; I thought it was hilly but not hard. I’m not normally as fast as them though, and perhaps because I finished in a slower time, the hills didn’t have as big an impact on me. It seems like the faster you are trying to go the bigger the hills feel.
I had been really slack with training; I hadn’t bothered with running during the week because it was winter and I was feeling apathetic about running in the cold early morning. I’d do go to parkrun and do a long run on Sunday without any conscious effort put in. Because of this about 2 months from the event I’d decided against the half marathon and instead to enter the 12km run.
However about two months ago we’d run around Lake Joondalup and I’d actually not realised the circumference of the lake. The guys had done Bibra Lake the previous week while I’d run up in Kings Park, and it was about 6km around that lake. So the next week when I ran with them I thought I’d just do a lap of the lake and let them do another couple. At the 9km mark I was told that it was actually 17km around. I’d already gone beyond halfway so I decided that I may as well continue. Because I pulled up fine after that run I decided to change my plans and made sure that I did a careful long run each weekend that would take me up to the required half marathon distance without issue. I still didn’t run during the week, so the primary aim was to just finish my first hilly half.
On the day I had a plan to not set off super fast at the start and I stuck to it. I was in the last wave of half marathon runners so when I actually crossed the start line the starting area was completely crush free. The distance between the corrals and the start line was pretty long (it seemed like it could have been a full kilometre) so I had already started very gently running and had to speed up to get to my intended pace. The first few kilometres I kept at that pace and started passing people who had flown past me out of the corral only to stall on the hill to Kings Park. I let myself speed up a bit on the down hills in the park but that was it for going off pace.
I had my own water and my own gels with me, so I could skip the first few drink stations which were absolutely packed. I’d been to the toilets at the Convention Centre in my corral so I didn’t need to go for the first 10km and when I did decide to go I was able to select a station that had no queue for the portables.
The down hill stretch from 14km to 18km (not really downhill but more so than Kings Park) I just kept up my pace. The only hill that seemed to require some effort was the final hill at around 1.5km to go; I tried to pick up the pace at this point for my finish and my legs felt very heavy.
My secondary goals for the event were to try and match my Busselton Half Marathon time and to hopefully get some even split times in the middle few kilometres. I still haven’t really looked at my stats for that last goal but I definitely reached the others. I beat my Busselton time by 1m56s which was stupendous because Busselton is pancake flat and the City to Surf is not.
I have another half lined up soon, which will be flatter than Perth City to Surf, so I’m thinking about trying to push it a bit for that one. It has a much harsher finishing time limit (2h45m instead of 4h15m) so with the flatter terrain I’m thinking about aiming for faster kilometres on this one.
With my City to Surf half marathon finish time being what it is, I think that my next true test is the 2014 Busselton Half Marathon. I want to set a good flat PB there and really test myself. I ran a 10k about a month ago and finished in 56m30s, and during that one I deliberately did not chat with random runners as I went and focused specifically on my pace and run. I think that I will have to start enforcing that rule a bit more and see how I go!
This past weekend I had my first run in a week since the half. Jeremy paced me to a new overall parkrun personal best and because the women’s field was a bit thin at the sharp end I managed to score third female finisher. Not a bad effort all round I’d say.