Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gold Coast Half Marathon: Race Recap

So there's this thing that happens when you don't run a race well, and have a running blog. Everything becomes more important than writing the race recap. I mean, that's true as a matter of our general priorities anyway (as evidenced by our lengthy periods of silence on this blog from one month to the next). 

But you know. They're kind of long and annoying to write... especially when its not a thinly-veiled humble brag. And avoidance is clearly happening when I start actually contemplating cleaning my house instead of writing it. 

So here's the TL;DR version:
Prolly overestimated my fitness level slightly. Not by much. But when I realised that I wasn't going to go sub1:30 I decided that I didnt feel like experiencing the requisite discomfort to pull in a 1:31. So I sort of phoned in the second half, and came home with a 1:34ish. Then ate a shit ton of food. 

So on the Saturday we flew up to the Gold Coast and checked into Surfers Paradise Marriot resort something or other. It was a bit fancypants, for a race hotel. But we landed a top floor room with these views: 

And we saw Geoffrey Rush. No sneaky photo though. (Not above it - just couldnt grab my phone in time).

In the afternoon, I tried to find somewhere to have my traditional pre-race french toast. Nowhere was open so the hubs called downstairs and the Marriot restaurant made it especially for me. So lovely of them.

Freaking delicious. 

Race morning the next day began at 4am with this fun eyes-half-open + bed hair look:

And requisite show of strength... Apparently with attendant pelvic thrust.

Coffee + oats and a gatorade for breakfast. 

Race start time was 6:00 am and we got there by about 5:30 i think.  I ran a few strides and oh i dunno... a 1 mile warmup? 

Said goodbye to the hubs and got into the first Coral in amongst which was a tall blond dude holding the 1:30 balloons and... surprise! Ryan Hall was pacing the 1:30 group and I toooootally fan-girled out at him. I told him I'd read his book and loved it and blah blah blah. It was a reasonably embarrassing show on my part. 

Then a guy next to us looked at Hall skeptically and began asking all these pacing questions, including what his half PR is. Ryan quietly mumbled "um 59 minutes". And Im all like "mate this guy is the US half marathon record holder."

The dude shut up pretty fast. 

Ok so for the race. 

The plan was to stay just under 7:00 minute miles for the first half; then drop to around race pace for a few miles, then lay down the gauntlet for the final 5k - basically what I did in Philly. 

Mile 1: 7:04 - Began reasonably quickish (for a big race) but was still warming up and in amongst a lot of people. 

Miles 2-6: 6:54, 6:58, 6:56, 6:58, 7:00
This was quite a straight and flat stretch. I cant remember a whole lot about these miles. I think they were feeling hardish but mostly fine. I was just trying to stay consistent til the half way mark. 

The hubs got an uber to the halfway mark to get these pics! 

I got to the halfway mark and... I dunno. I realised that I didnt have the power in my legs to start pushing the pace. The best I could do was probably maintain.

Mile 7 and 8: 7:03, 7:03 

Looking pretty surress in a race photo that I'm unwilling to pay $30 for. 

And then got to this point where I just made this weird (sensible? egotistical? cowardly?) decision that if I wasnt going to go sub1:30 that day, then I really didnt want to experience that sort of discomfort required to run a 1:31ish. 

So I sort of just gave up and ran comfortably hard to finish. Took the time to high five all the kids spectating in the last few miles. 

Miles: 9-13: 7:11, 7:16, 7:23, 7:36, 7:29

Running down the finishing chute. Mental state was about 5% despondency, 95% planning my post-race meal.

At the finish line the MC was announcing everyone's names. Mine was pronounced "Peeen-ell-ope". Then he spent 10 seconds botching my surname before giving up entirely. So that was kind of a metaphor for the race, really.

After the race I felt fine. Happy to be done. 

Race t-shirt

And I spent the rest of the day not eating much until the evening (the cruel irony of distance running being that you burn that many calories only to end up wanting the plainest food ever for the next 8 hours) when we chowed down on some Thai, chocolate, wine and all the things. 

No niggles. Rolled up with a bit of foot pain, which cleared up in a few days. 

So all in all, not my most triumphant race. But a few texts from friends, family and chats with the husband throughout the day gave me some good perspective.  I spent most of 2014 injured and would have given my right cuboid bone to run even 5k at a snail's pace, let alone 21k at 7-whatever. I had a great time running a beautiful race and enjoyed a lovely holiday to boot. 

And I got to fan girl out at Ryan Hall like a giddy teenage girl. So you know - upsides all round. 

~ Penny


  1. I think there was a good bit of positive to that race, and surely the 1:30 will come in time. the pictures your husband got were really good! It's cool to see you through the other runners!

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