That rest served me well. Having entered the Bonitas City2City Half Marathon, I was keen to do the event. All of the races I have done so far, Wally Hayward excepeted, have been undoubtedly local events, and City2City definitely has a big race vibe to it. It's not in the league of Comrades or Two Oceans but definitely feels more similar to those events than anything else I have run.
To recap then this was the challenge that I and 2100 odd half marathon runners, 3500 if you include the 10km runners who shared the first 9km with us faced:
|City2City Half Marathon course and profile|
Sunday morning was an early start. I was up by 4 am, and had my usual morning fuel, 100ml yoghurt, a banana and a cup of coffee. Thankfully it would appear my stress induced bowel movements are now a thing of the past. My mother and brother were also running, doing the 10km, and we were off by 4:55 to head to the venue. I was worried about parking and traffic and I was overly cautious as we parked and at the start by 5:30. This gave me plenty of time to warm up and mingle and be ready for the 6:30 start.
The first km was a bit of a disaster as I somehow contrived to start then pause the Garmin, so I was getting pace information but no time or distance. I only figured this out as I checked my time at the first kilometre. So I then had to rely on ~20km of timing data, and adding on a predicted 4:00 for that first kilometre.
My goal was to respect the first half and finish strong but a discussion with a fellow runner on Twitter planted a seed that took route from that first kilometre. Since the second half is easier why not be aggresive in the first half anyway since I'm less likely to pay as the downhill trend would be more forgiving than a standard route?
And that's pretty much how it went. I hovered around 4:00/km pace throughout. My exact splits are difficult to guage of course but some reverse maths, has my first kilometre at 3:53, so I estimate that I went through 5km in 20 flat, 10km, in 40:30, 11km in 44:30, 15km in 1:00:50 and 20km in 1:20:55. Attacking the first half meant that I didn't negative split the race but I doubt if I had gone through 11km in 47:00 like I had planned to, I would have managed much quicker than 40:00 for that last stretch. My aggressive first half was still sensible in the end and gave me a time that I didn't think was possible at the start. As I rounded the final bend at the Centurion Rugby Club to see the clock just ticking to 1:25:20, I was over the moon.
|At the finish...PB!!!|
This is likely my last half marathon of the year. Going through my calendar I have already run 16 official races this year, not counting my one visit to Ebotse Park Run, and 10 of them have resulted in a PB of sorts, excluding first time attempts at a distance. The half marathon was an important component of my running goals for 2012. I did the half marathon, after not quite mastering the 10km, to get out of my comfort zone. I had remarkably enough never finished a 10km without walking, befreo towing the start at Slow Mag. So while for most club athletes a half marathon is not a big deal it was a defining point for me to prove that I could have the discipline to start a program and stick with it right to its conclusion. My goal was to run sub 1:40 and to be sat here now, 29 seconds away from a sub 1:25 half marathon is the stuff of dreams. A sub 90 was on my 2 year/end of 2013 roadmap, and now I'm going to have rewrite my plans for next year from scratch!
The half marathon is undoubtedly my favourite distance to race now, challenging enough but also forgiving enough to allow some tactical flexibility. And the City2City half marathon replaces the Wally Hayward as the most enjoyable race I have done. Tough, enjoyable and rewarding with a time beyond what I had expected.