Hello fellow runners,
If you’ve been following my weekly posts, you will have seen that I had a half marathon last Sunday. The race was in Suncheon, around an hour south of our current hometown. Here’s how it went down, enjoy.
The Build Up
The week’s training leading up to the race mostly consisted of easy running, to fully recover from the previous half marathon 2 weeks earlier. I felt good all week in training, and got in some outdoor running, which was an unexpected bonus. The day before races are usually rest days for me, but I decided to change the routine this time around with an easy 30 minute jog followed by some strides on Saturday morning. I found this to be a great way to flush out the legs and prepare for race intensity. Research has shown that glycogen storage is increased from easy running, so it makes sense to do an easy run before a big race. It can seem a bit crazy to run the day before a race, but as long as it’s easy, you will be better off for it.
Race morning came and I felt a little tired from the early start, but otherwise perfect. The goal for this race was to run a personal best time, set around the same time last year. The warm up went well and I was on the start thinking, this is a perfect day for racing. The sun was out, there wasn’t a cloud in sight, and the temperature was between 7-10 degrees.
The start of races are a strange experience in Korea, but this one took the biscuit. The announcer was rambling on, when suddenly, I had the guy behind me massaging my shoulders and back. Then at the end he told everyone to slap the persons ass! Safe to say I skipped that part…..bizarre.
Start to 5km
The race gun went off and we exited the stadium in a large pack. As we rounded the first bend, the leaders started to spread out. I was lying in around 15th place, no rush I said to myself. First kilometer was 3.30 something, a little swift, but not crazy either. I latched onto some runners just ahead of me and drafted off them, until I felt the pace was too slow, then I’d move up on the next runner. For me this is a great way to keep mentally alert. At the 5km point I was roughly in 12th position and feeling strong.
5km to the 12km turnaround point
Something started to dawn on me. This course is not as pancake flat as the website suggested. Don’t get me wrong- there was no major elevation gains or losses, but there were many underpasses and overpasses. The effect this was having on me was starting to accumulate. Once I’m in a rhythm, having to break that rhythm by climbing short steep inclines can take it out of me. The time lost on these rises most likely cost me a real shot at a personal best time.
12km to home
I was still feeling strong and picking off runners as I went on. There was a lot of marathon runners sharing the road, over the last 5kms. It was good and bad. The good thing was it kept me focused ahead. The negative was that I was constantly weaving around large groups. Time check at 10 miles and I was just over 61 minutes. At max effort as it was, I knew the personal best wasn’t on today, but I gave it everything regardless. I felt the strongest over the last 5km, than I’ve ever felt in a half marathon. Running into the stadium and over the finish line, I was relieved to be done but also disappointed.
I chatted to some runners after the race, overall it was a great event and very enjoyable. There was a runner from the Seychelles, who won the half in just over 70 minutes! Turns out he’s on the national team, he is also a gent. Performance wise, the second half was only 10 seconds slower than the first half. I felt the strongest ever, over the second half of the race. Overall I finished 8th in an international half marathon, and I’m proud of how I raced it, no regrets.
The course was 200 metres long and I ran 1.21.16, this would equate to roughly 40-50 seconds faster, if it was the correct distance. That would mean 30-40 seconds outside of personal best range. Not bad considering there was 60m more elevation gain in this race, compared to last years personal best course. I felt like the training was very effective leading into this race, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. It’s a bitter pill to swallow- 3 half marathons this year and no personal best times. It’s back to the drawing board, I’m thinking a 10km next month. I haven’t raced a 10km in years, so it would be a personal best!
I hope you enjoyed my race report.
How do you deal with a race setback?
Until next time,
The Health heads