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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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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RAK 2017 in the bag

Another RAK half marathon isΒ done and dusted… but this time I was not able to get a PB on the run. I’m a little upset at myself for not getting it, but I know that I have not put in the proper training and amount of mileage needed in order to get that PB, so considering that I at least managed to finish faster than my half in November, I’m satisfied with the outcome.

As always, I spent Thursday night in RAK (this time with Nat) and got a good night’s sleep in a comfy hotel bed before the big day!

We were up bright and early, eating our oats for breakfast and then met up with friends who were running in their first half marathon! Exciting!!!

Our hotel was only 1.1 km’s from the start / finish line so we walked across, and headed straight for our start chute, and waited for the gun to go off and set us all on our way.

My plan was to aim for 5:30 – 5:40 km pace, for as much as possible, knowing that at that pace I was certain to get a sub-2 hour finish time. And my first 10 km’s were bang on!

But once I was just past 10 km’s I felt uneasy in my breathing and had to take a short walk break. I picked it up again after only a few meters, but by the time I got to 12 km’s, based on how I’d slowed down in that time, I knew I was not likely to get under 2 hours…. but if I could just stick to under 6 minutes per km, I was sure that I would still be in line for a PB.

I kept at it, but once again somewhere after 13 km’s I had to stop and walk again. I grew frustrated at myself here but knew that I had a very long way to go, and I was not going to let this race get the better of me. All I had to do was make sure I slowed down and kept to a steady pace… slow and steady.

With the new layout of the course, the 15 km mark is on the opposite side of the road to the start / finish line, so as I was coming up to that mark there were tons of spectators around, giving off such a fantastic vibe (even though it was mostly for the runners on the other side of the road who were crossing the finish line), but I then heard my name and turned to see a friend standing there, cheering for me πŸ™‚ What a way to give a girl her second wind! I immediately felt strength surge through my legs and lungs and off I went.

I got to about 17 km’s and felt the wheels loosen a bit again… another small walk break was needed. And then I was off again, turning the corner, only 3 km’s to go. You’ve got this!

Er, no you don’t. Only a few hundred meters along and yet another walk break was needed 😦

This was just before 19 km’s and I then told myself that it’s just 2 km’s to go – you can run the rest of the way! Go girl!

But once again a tiny walk break was needed while I still could not see the finish line, but then, not far ahead of me I could see the 20 km mark – I was not going to be walking when I reached that, and there was no way that I would walk within this last km!

I shoved out all bad thoughts and put one foot in front of the other, gave the 20 km mark a high five as I ran past – once again hearing my friend cheer me on from the side line πŸ™‚ – and pushed my way over that finish line, managing a strong (almost) sprint for the last hundred meters or so, and finished in a time of 2:05:15 πŸ™‚

About to cross the finish line

About to cross the finish line

Done and dusted!

Done and dusted!

Week 52 – Goodbye 2016!

Not exactly the blog post I’d have imagined my final Something New for 2016 to be, however there’s been nothing new that I’ve done this week.

So, to keep things alive for the very last few days of this year, I thought I’d wrap up on what’s happened in 2016 – which is something that I’ve never done before πŸ™‚

And boy what a year it has been – from the deaths of some great music legends (Prince, David Bowie, George Michael to name a few), to some big names in celeb-ville (Mohammad Ali, Allan Rickman, Gene Wilder a.k.a Willy Wonka, and even Fidel Castro!), it’s been a shocker of a year!

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But, it’s thankfully not been all doom and gloom. While it’s not necessarily been a great year for me, it hasn’t been outright awful and I’ve accomplished some greats in my running, and ticked a few things off the bucket list πŸ™‚

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I’ve spent the year surrounded by fantastic friends, travelled to some great places and have spent some real quality time with my family too.

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These last few days of 2016 are going to also be spent surrounded by some fabulous friends sharing my birthday with me, and seeing the new year in the only way I know how – having a huge party, ending with a bang, and spending 1 January lying on the couch, watching marnie re-runs and stuffing our faces with pizza πŸ˜‰

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And so I end this post off wishing all of my readers a super Happy New Year for 2017! May it bring you happiness, love, laughter and friendship ❀

happy-new-year-2017-old-year-retired