Saturday, 6 April 2013

Geelong Half Marathon - April 2013

Well, so you've been hanging by a thread, waiting for these results. They're in... But first you have to re-run the 2013 Geelong Half Marathon with me. 

Firstly, a little note for my international readers (or Western States). 

Day light savings: A system used in Eastern Australia to extend the 'usable' daylight hours in Summer. How? Turn the clocks forward an hour in December to make the 'daylight' seem longer during the day. 

Last night it ended, so at 3am it became 2am, or at 10 pm if you're like us it became 9 pm again. So this race was looking good as we already had a sleep in. 

6 am this morning the alarm went off and Em and I got out of bed, showered, had breaky and race ready, sorted out and played with the 2 year old for a bit and at 7:00 drove into Geelong for the 8 am start. 

The set up was good. Ample parking, a quiet (music free) but good vibe. A big kudos to the Geelong Cross Country Club for their organisiation of this 25th Geelong Half Marathon. After a warm up run, some dynamic stretching and seeing 7:55 we were ready to roll. 

Meet the Inov-8 roaf range: Blue 150s, Black 155s, Red 233s
My shoe of choice was the 4km old Inov-8 Bare X lite 150. I must say in the Blue and Red they look awesome. Why the 0mm drop racing flats? And why break the no untried equipment in a race rule? To be honest, if it were a trail race I would not think twice about wearing the 0mm drop Inov-8 Trailroc 235s. The Bare X - Lite 150 actually have an additional 4mm of stack height and padding (7mm total) compared to all my other Inov-8 shoes, so I was confident that they would serve me well. I was actually looking forward to a little more underfoot cushioning.  As I'd had my crazy sick day in bed on Tuesday and half of Wednesday I also made decision to run with the Camel Pak for extra hydration. Later dad would tell me that I'd given myself a 2-3kg handi-cap. If his race horse had been given an extra 3kg and blown to 12-1 odds, there's no way his money would be on it...

Back to the race. I'm finding races have two sorts of starts. One is super organised, elites and waves in corals behind the ropes and everyone toeing the line. 

Not this one. Today we were read the race advice, heard from Mayor and then moved down to the start line. By the time I wished Em best of luck, got into the early runners mix it was 'go!'. 

I call this start the 'keep them hanging around for a while and then 'bang' let them go approach'. This approach I'm not as keen on. 

So I took off, running under a revised 'B-B' race plane (Thanks Stan for the Post last week). B-B being Body and brain. Listen to the body and let it dictate the pace and feel. Listen to the brain - go harder if you can or are the signs telling you to slow down?

I went off at a comfortable pace and rounded the corner for the initial lap of the Common. A nice cruisy 4:25 pace on the footy ovals and grass. I let the body dictate and this meant passing a few and letting a few pass me by - 21kms can change a lot of things. 500m wasn't going to win it for me. The 1:30 paceman came and went - if I was going to get him I'd have to do it later.

As we finished the common and were guided onto the running track I struck up  with another runner and my usual run and chat routine began. She had run some 10s and was training well and this was her first half. She was hoping to run sub 1:40 and I was happy to do the same. We were running a steady 4:27-4:35 pace and were situated well. The field had spread and we were holding our form and race position. From here we ran past Landy Field (The legendary 'John Landy' aths tracks), on past the rowing houses and under the James Harrison Bridge. We discussed the racing line through corners, first and second 10km splits and had it all laid out. We were going to romp it in. 

The first 7km came and went - approx 33 mins and I was feeling great. At about 9km I took on a gel, more water and picked up speed. I so wanted to ignore the watch but a check said I was doing 4:28s-4:33s so I was happy with this. The course meandered along the river, it was very peaceful and calming. At bout 10k my race mate took off and I watched her race off into the distance. What ever gel she had, I want some :) 

From 11 it got tougher. The B-B plan was shaping up. I didn't need to look at the watch to know that I was slowing. I think my man-flu was still hanging about. That and there were a few little rises to deal with. At this point a few runners started to pass and keep ahead of me. At 14km I ran through the check point past the Pub and back down towards the river again. I was down to 4:55s and was losing my mo-jo. I had a few quick walk breaks and got back into the packs. Its funny. I should have been kicking my self and trying all sorts of psych ups but the body was telling me just to take it easy and plod on. I was not intentionally running slower but it was the only way forward. Time to listen to the body. 

As my total race pacing had now dropped to 5:00km average, I knew Em wouldn't be too far away. The 1:45 pace man came and went. I was eagerly looking for her but alas, she was not there with him. Runners came and went and there she was. Looking strong but I think she was glad for support (and very surprised to see me). While her goal was slipping away there was still some racing to be done. At this point we both beeped for 16km and we were ready to say enough. But no, we had to finish. Em was running better than me and I stopped for a quick walk and let her slip ahead. We played tiggy along the track for a while, she would run on ahead and I'd catch her again and we'd run for a while together. Em would slip ahead again and I'd catch her again. 

At this point my legs were feeling really heavy and I was considering my choice of shoes. Until now the Inov-8 Bare X-Lite 150s had been great - I was getting great feel off the track and was really aware of my form and it still felt strong. But at 18-19km I was really having to work hard. Was it harder than I would have worked with the Inov-8 Road X 233s or the Road X-155s that I could have worn? I'm not sure but I certainly had to work on my cadence and strides. (Ah hindsight - as I sit here the next morning my feet feel great. I've no calf issues no bruising or underfoot niggles. Big tick to the 150s).
Almost there...

With the last of the little hills behind us I caught Em at the 20km mark and we pushed on for home. This last section was flat and fast but seemed to take for-ever. I'm sure she was sick of me telling her she could do it and that it was almost finished and we're nearly there, but it certainly helped me get to the end. 

At 100m to go the watches beeped for one last time and like in all the great movies I grabbed her hand and we powered towards the line. We passed Grandma and Grandpa and the kids and crossed the line together - 1:48:01. We had came and conquered the 2013 Geelong Half Marathon.

Cruelly my race number 303 saw me finish in 345th and Em 346th. But, Em, you've done it. Your first half and you not only finished it, you finished almost as quickly as you dreamed. Any mum of two would be proud of that and I'm very proud of you!

So what should have been a fast course was the toughest half I've done yet and the slowest by 12 minutes. Still - man-flu can do that to you. I felt great for 9-10km but then just naturally lost the pace. I listened to my body and let it do what it wanted. There is always Puffing Billy next month to run and I can come back next year for another crack at it. 

I caught up with my running mate who was really happy to have finished in 1:35- 1:36. For someone who was running in her first half, a big congratulations. Sneaking a peek at her results I later found that she finished 2nd in her division and just just shy of sub 1:35. Nice work! Next time I'll have to stick with you. 

Lessons from today's run:
1. Man flu the week before a run really sucks.
2. Maybe the Camel Pak was a handi-cap? Carrying almost 3-5% extra body weight might not always work. Though I did appreciate having water on tap. I'll have to speak to my supporters about getting a water belt or some hand-helds for my next road/trail race. 
3. It's rest days on Monday and Tuesday before more hard and fast training starts on Wednesday. I've got a train to catch. 

Thanks to - Get your Inov-8s there! 
Followers of This Fish can obtain a 10% discount with the code fish10. 


  1. Thanks Lachie. I really enjoyed reading your race report and that was a really awesome finish!

    Yeah that flu definitely affected your pace. It did sound like there's something to this B-B thing though isn't there?

    I'm in a bit of a tough spot too. The pair I wanted to wear for my race may be causing my foot issues lately so I need to decide on what to wear. Should be an interesting as I try out a few of my older pairs. I'm to chicknsh*t to try out my newer pairs. :)

    Congrats on the finish. Well run!

    1. Cheers Stan. The finish was plan C, maybe it was always meant to be that way? I saw your post on the laces - an interesting point and issue to solve. Let us know how you as you work your way through the various pairs. I think I'd stick with what's worked in the past and take a brave pill after Boston. Good luck

  2. You guys are champions! I also ran the same race and the course kicked me to the curb. Those hills weren't kind to a girl who trains on a flat road! :P

    Well done, I've also recapped (with way less impressive results!)

    Good luck with your next race!

  3. Hi Rhi, great to hear from a fellow runner! Well done on your race. You can be very proud of your efforts. Mildura certainly is flat - it would be great for learning to feel how it is to run at a set pace. Like on a track but straight :) I loved your blog, I had to chuckle about the trip to Lorna Jane for the outfit. As you read, my only battle was shoe choice.
    Keep in touch, I want to know how Melbourne goes

  4. Just found your blog via Rhi's above. Great race recap! Those hills along the barwon are pretty tough hey?

    1. Thanks Ali, it was great run and I enjoyed the write up. I think it took almost as long as the race. I think it is the gradual incline that made the hills seem harder than they were. I was also pretty knackered. Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi Lachie, just found your blog. I wish I had of read something like this before my last half. I did my first half marathon at Run Melbourne last year and loved it. Just cruised around, finished strong and ran 1.41 which I was delighted with. Then trained beautifully for 12 weeks in prep for the Melb Marathon Half and was expecting to smash it in about 1.35, but at least break 100 minutes at the worst. I too developed Man Flu in the preceeding week and just didn't feel right. Got to 8km and was stuffed, but went with the brain instead of the body and kept pushing. You expect a PB when you do something for the 2nd time and by god I was going to get it! Nope. As we ran towards the MCG my legs started wobbling. I got a few concerned "you right mate ?"s from other runners. And then, with 400m to go, as I ran around the outside of the G, my legs gave way and I got the staggers, just like those people you see at the end of the Ironman. The lovely St Johns Ambo people grabbed me as I fell, put me on a stretcher and a drip for an hour and that was that. DNF. No lap around the G. Lesson learnt. Listen to the body!! Some days you're just not ON and you need to learn to recognise them, back off and enjoy the run. You guys did it beautiffully and I hope if it happens to me again, I will too.

    1. Hey Andrew, sorry to hear about your run to the G. I know exactly where you are coming from when you talk of expecting to beat a PB second tme round. We get in such a mind set it seems nothing can stop us, except our selves.

      People aways talk mind over matter, but learning to draw the line is hard.

      It's great to know that the St Johns people are there and it sounds like they certinly looked after you. Keep training hard and enjoy the runs, there is always next year. Sometimes little taning little steps can be the most important ones leadning into bigger steps. It sounds like your little steps are adding up :)

      My wife is doing the run to the G this time round.

      Perhaps we will cross paths and can share stories of the run.

      Best of luck, please let me know how you go next time round.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.