Search This Blog

Friday, 2 November 2012

Race Recap: Auckland Half Marathon 2012

Last weekend was the most anticipated weekends of all. Even more so than Christmas. Almost.The day that I've been waiting for is finally here. This is ' the race' that all the hardwork and motivation stemmed from and I bet I wasn't the only one. When you are so close to a date that you have marked on your calendar for months, you can't wait for it to come and have it off your mind once it's over. The weather on the day turned out great despite the forecast of showers and rain. In fact, it was almost hotter than last year's. This year's event attracted 16000 people and it's deemed to be the biggest sporting event in NZ. I got there bright and early. Almost exactly 1 hour before the start time. Geek. The atmosphere was electric! Everyone was eager to go out and run it. I was quite far back in the crowd and I couldn't even get into the 'mosh pit' . This is one of the best days I have ran. Not nervous and plenty of eager and willing runners around me and feeling the vibe. There are so many people who can't wait to run. Some with lots of preparation behind them and I am damn sure there are some who are just doing it for fun. This is one of the most prepared race I have ever ran. My body feels strong, my mind is focused and my legs are tired and embarrassed by the amount of Rocktape it's covered with. Haha. Will talk more about that one later.

Before I ramble on and on about the day here is my summary of the race.

I vowed to start easy and not push hard in the first 10k after learning it the hard way from the previous race. First 5ks was easy and I started my run with Black Eyed Peas' "I gotta feeling". Awesome. I maintained 6:40 pace throughout and it felt good. I ran behind a guy with bandaged knees because he was keeping a steady pace and I figured out that if his knees are bandaged he might be running a safe race. I may be wrong but I picked him anyway and hope for the best. I saw lots of people past me and I let them. My mouth was feeling dry. That's not good but I try to ignore it and not let it bother me. There was a guy heaving so heavily that I could hear him with my earphones blaring away. Ok, need to move faster and get away from him now. He is making me nervous.

After cruising through the first 5k, I aim to crank it up to an average of 6:30- 6:35 because I remember going to a running talk once and the guy said that the second half should still be relatively easy. I was feeling strong. My ITB did not bother me, neither did my knees. My lungs are strong and my mind is in a happy place. I overtook Mr Bandaged Knees and went onto my next target, Mr. Yellow socks. He is quicker but easy to keep my distance plus he is almost twice my height. Always good to follow someone much bigger than you to keep him/her in your view. Quite easily. I kept running. This part is becoming fun because there's a lot of kids hi-fiving us along the way. The crowd is in great spirit. I have stopped for 2 drinks by now. I missed out on the Powerade because it was filled with water. Ok fine I will take what is available


Still smiling and waving when I got up the Harbour Bridge.

This when things got interesting. This is where I was told to crank it up quite a bit and have to make a lot of efforts to do so. This is also the beginning of when things start to go pear shape or whatever bad shape. This is also the challenging part where I have to start to run over the Harbour Bridge. I try to retain some energy to get up the bridge because from memory this is where I have to start walking a bit. I don't want to walk at all today I told myself. Whatever it is, I want to keep both legs running to the finish line.I don't care if I have to tumble down the hill or start frothing in my mouth. I aimed to stay below 6:30 and I was able to do so until I start running up the bridge at 14k. I wish that this was a short and sharp hill to climb rather than a gradual one. I start to feel the burn in my hamstrings from running up the bridge. I managed to chew 2 pieces of BLOKs before the bridge and now I am just engaged in running and staying focused on running. So focused that I did not realise that I need to refuel. I have stopped at 3 water stations and still no Powerade. I think this is when my glycogen starts to empty fast. The temperature has gone up and I feel like peeling off my Swiftly top. I wish I had worn a singlet today. There were hardly any wind to cool down my body. Overheated, hungry and dehydrated. Awesome.

I ran down the bridge fast and still feeling strong in my legs. Stopped at 16.5k to drink a cup of Powerade. I had to stop and not jog when I get to the water stations because I can't drink whilst running. I need to learn to do this, along with spitting into the wind. I am getting really thirsty but my mind refuse to stray from focusing on running to the finish line and it refuse to be interrupted. I picked up some speed between 17k and 18k and all of a sudden I had nothing left. My legs, lungs and heart were strong but I just don't have any energy left. It's a weird feeling. I knew that I had less than 3k to go and my once strong mind and spirit disappeared. I keep telling myself 'this is the last time you will ever run this track, give it your all'. My spirit was broken, my body was confused and my mind was tired. At this point, I just passed a woman who was having a seizure and being attended by the ambulance crew. I looked away. I saw a few more people passing out on the side walk. I can't look because it will freak me out and I cannot stop. I was adamant on running all the way to the finish line no matter how awful it feels. I cannot accept walking to the finish line. No, not today. I am so proud of myself that for the very first time I did not stop to pant in a half marathon and I can't do this now. Not in the last 18k and certainly not now. Suddenly the legs just stopped and suddenly felt stuck to the ground. This is getting bad but I start moving it again after a few seconds. I think this is only 600m away from the finish line. I had plans to do a Gangnam Style pose at the finish line but I couldn't muster an ounce of energy. In the last 30m I dug into every single watt in my body and sprinted with 2 other guys to the finish line. It was a moment of blur and for the first time I couldn't smile after I finished a race. I was close to passing out but I managed to pull through by a thread. My time was 2:20:43. Disappointed and a little upset but not broken. I never really like to beat myself up for things that didn't happen the way I wanted it to because I don't see a point. Did I enjoy the race? Very much. The time was disappointing. My strategies were silly but I was happy because for 80% of the race I was feeling strong. I am grateful to finish every race and whatever goals that was not achieved will have its place in the future. I don't like to blame anything or anyone. I made dumb decisions not to hydrate and nourish well and I have to pay for it. I learn that big time now. I just feel that I have disappointed myself a bit for it was such a great race. I learnt later than nutrition plays a 70-80% role in your performance. Hahh..if only I thought of it before the race. Another huge lesson learnt. 

Aside from my finish time, I have really enjoyed the race. Thanks to the sponsors, organizers and hundreds of volunteers who made this event so enjoyable. It was such a blast.

What was the best lesson you've learnt in a bad race?

Do you think you eat or drink enough during a race?

What are your race strategies?

Have you got any running/ eating/ partying planned for the weekend?
Pin It


Quay Po Cooks said...

It is good that you enjoyed the race and now you will definitely be more well prepared for the next one.

Her Worldly Pleasures said...

They always say that you learn most in bad races so I hope I have truly learnt :)

Jan said...

Those outfits in the pic at the end are cracking me up! I think it sounds like you have a great race. You'll always have things to improve on for the next time!

Her Worldly Pleasures said...

There was a guy dressed as Batman and last year I saw Darth Vader doing the marathon!! I don't want to imagine how hot it gets under the gear.

Yin said...

Good inspiring running article for me to read as I'm going to run my second half marathon this Sunday.
When I was in Auckland back 2010, I was planning to do the half there but timing of training in winter encouraging at all. Hence, only when I was back in malaysia now that I decided really to give myself a go to take up the challenge. Did my first half in Sept'12 and my timing was 2;24. This sunday if i could finish with your timing it will be a good timing to me.

Her Worldly Pleasures said...

Good luck on your second half marathon this Sunday! Achieving 2:24 in half marathon in the Malaysian heat is impressive! I am sure you will do better than me :)