I wrote the first part of this post the day after the Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon. I had every intention of finishing it the next day but life, work and worries about the looming Melbourne Marathon got in the way.
So, here it is now. The Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon race wrap up.
After a nightmare year, it is with enormous pleasure (and relief) that I can say I have finally run another PB.
I raced the Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon on 22 September - but kept it very low key because I was feeling pretty nervous about it. I knew this race would give me a good indication of what sort of condition I am in for Melbourne Marathon (three weeks after the half) and I was concerned that if the race didn't go well I'd blow any sort of confidence I had to smithereens.
Luckily, it was a good day.
I finished fourth woman in 81:28 - a PB by one minute and ten seconds. And it was a 'good' race. I felt in control the whole time, I settled down almost instantly and got myself into what felt like a pretty good rhythm. I hung off the back of the 80 minute pace group for a while - which wasn't an intended plan but once the race was underway and the group was there I thought it would be nice to keep them in sight. I lost them a bit every time I grabbed a drink but would catch up again until the rope snapped around the half way mark and I wasn't confident enough to try and chase them down - I was worrying about blowing up towards the end so I kept to my own pace.
To be honest, I couldn't tell if the course was easy or difficult. There were a few ups and downs and a fair bit of twisting and turning, especially in the second half, but I never got to a stage where I started to think, 'Shit, this is awful, I just want it to end.' I was in fifth place up until around 16k when I snuck into fourth. The position very honestly wasn't important to me - I just wanted to see if I could run a decent time and compare my form to where I was this time last year.
The worst thing about the race was probably the super-early race start - with the gun going off at 6:15am I was up to eat breakfast at 3:15am. My husband had gone out in the city the night before (while I stayed in at the Grace Hotel and went to sleep), so he was certainly a little worse for wear as we walked from the CBD, over the Harbour Bridge and to the start at Milsons Point. Actually, at one point he said, "It's just lucky I'm still drunk." Hmmmmm. I think he was half joking.
In all, it was a good race and it showed me I'm certainly much stronger and in decent form for Melbourne, which is now only four days away. From what I can figure out I think I will be close to hitting my goal time but it certainly won't be a given. I will have to really fight for it - and hope the conditions are absolutely perfect. I am hoping the extra strength I have gained through the months and months of exercises and rehab I've done to get over the high hamstring tendinopathy will mean I will be stronger through the second half of the marathon and maybe avoid slowing down as much as I did last year.
Big thanks to my coach, Sean Williams, whose program and advice has been invaluable in getting me back racing. Also thanks to the eternal pessimist (!) but best physio in the world, Brent Kirkbride, who was responsible for putting me back together when I was broken.
I'll post one more time over the next couple of days. Taper is in full swing right now and I am about to explode!