Week 49 – Creek Striders Half Marathon

It’s been 2 days since the half marathon and I still cannot wipe the smile from my face – I had a brilliant race!

I had a time goal in mind – nothing too wild since I knew that the course involved a bunch of bridges and a tunnel and was known to be a slightly difficult course. I knew that I’d be strong enough on the day to at least accomplish my time goal, provided nothing went horribly wrong – my training runs had all been really good and I now had to leave it to the running gods.

Up bright (er, dark, since the sun wasn’t actually up yet when I woke up!) and early, smashed my breakfast and headed off to my friends place to share a ride. Met up with a few other friends and off we went.

It was madness when we arrived there – runners all over the place! Really busy vibe, crazy busy toilets, and energy all over the place. We eventually lined up for the start, wished each other luck and set off once they’d counted us down. Scott, Csilla & I all ended up running together in the beginning; we found ourselves settling in to a really great pace and just stayed with each other for ages!

At about 12km’s or so, the 2-hour pacers ran past us. I was feeling extremely strong at this point and so I said “Let’s keep up with them!” Csilla was on board, but Scott wanted to back off a bit so he waved us on. We ran ahead slightly to get right behind them and then stuck there, feeling really strong the whole time! Eventually at about 17km’s or so we realised that we needed to pass the pacers, and so we did 🙂

But, the strong did not last… at about 19kms I started to really feel it and had it not been for Csilla next to me, I would have backed right off (she said the same thing about me!) We pulled each other along for those last 2 km’s, with the last km being my fastest over the entire course! I mustered up every last bit of energy and crossed the finish line in 2:02:29!

And to put that into perspective – my PB for a half was recently obtained in RAK when I did 2:02:05! On a flat course!

This has given me a HUGE boost of confidence that I will smash the 2-hour barrier in RAK in February 2018!!

The race was really well put together – such a great course with some fabulous morning sunrise views over the creek. I tried to snap a few photos while running but they’ve come out terribly… but the race itself was just great! And finishing it off with a huge bacon (REAL bacon!) and egg breakfast was wonderful!

We had at least 20 runners from the optimalFitness team out there which was great – such fabulous support from other runners and our coach. It really makes a difference knowing that you’ve got all that support 🙂 I will certainly be back for the Creek half next year!

Must.Push.To.The.End!

Smiles all around!

My GPS measured slightly differently so it shows a slightly faster time…

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Week 48 – Goodieeees!

Check at all that stuff! That all came out of that blue & red bag in the photo… and that’s not just any old bag. Oh no. That’s the RACE pack bag you receive when you run in the Dubai Creek Half Marathon.

I have never, in all the countless races that I have run, seen a bag with so many goodies in it; and decent goodies too! Most of the time you’re lucky if you get a small promo pack of gu chews… but these guys have gone ALL OUT!

And of course, what does a race bag signify? Well, that a race is coming up! Yessiree… in 4 sleeps time, I’ll be pounding the pavement in the first of two half marathons that I’m running this season. Nervous and excited all at the same time.

Watch this space for the race recap – next week’s something new! 🙂

Company race day!

I managed to convince 14 of my colleagues to enter a race with me this past weekend 🙂

There were options on what distance to run – a few people choosing to run 3km’s, but most of them opting for the 5km’s… and me all on my own in the 16km option.

I arrived bright and early to pick up everyone’s race numbers and meet them away from the madness of the other runners collecting their numbers. Once we were all bibbed up and ready to go, we had a quick group photo and then off to the start line.

Unfortunately since I was the first to head off, and would be out there a lot longer than everyone else, I didn’t get to see any of them running, or finishing, or join in some of the photos after the race, but a few of them stayed behind and cheered me on across the finish line, which is always a great feeling!

And what a great race it was for me!!!

I ran this race about a month ago – the temperatures were still high, the humidity was high, it was a foggy start to the day with the sun coming out in full force about halfway into the race. It wasn’t the most race-friendly weather 😦 But, this time the temperatures and humidity had dropped a fair bit so I knew that I would be having a better run no matter what.

I had one goal in mind – stick to the average pace that I’d set for myself. About 3km’s into the race, a pair of runners came up next to me, and then went just ahead of me. I stayed behind them for a bit and when I realised that they were doing a few seconds faster per km than my initial planned pace, I decided to stick with them.

At about 8km’s I came up next to them as I noticed that they’d dropped by a couple of seconds per km and were now running slightly slower than my planned pace… but I decided to not get too full of myself and surge on ahead. Instead I kept them just behind me, keeping an eye on their shadow in my peripheral vision. And then at about 11km’s they came up next to me once again, and then just slightly in front 🙂 Once again, I fell in behind them and kept up with their now slightly increased pace.

We continued like this once again until at about 14km’s – only 2 to go! – and I realised that they were once again dropping by a few seconds so I decided to just surge on… it’s the home stretch! And so I opened up my run and crossed the finish line feeling extremely strong, knocking about 6 minutes off the race a month ago – and placing fourth in my age group!!!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this! So I immediately clicked on my name to have a look at my race breakdown:

I absolutely smashed this run! I was in second place at 11.5km’s!! If only I’d surged on ahead at 8km’s a bit more… but being only halfway into the race I made the (probably wise) decision to not overdo things and preserve my energy for the end. But maybe a bit too preserved?!

Regardless, it was a great race. I’m supremely chuffed with myself as I’ve never come that close to a podium finish! And I definitely would have had enough juice in the legs to keep me going for another 5km’s at that pace when it’s half marathon time… which is a good sign for breaking the 2 hour barrier this season!

Coming in strong 🙂

I’m now looking into the next company run – likely to be February 2018 – and the staff are all rather excited about it! I’ve converted them! 🙂