Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sri Chinmoy Half Marathon - Williamstown

Google Map of course

Well, what an amazing race. In short, I could not have imagined running so well. Against a target pace of 1:38.07 (which I thought was ambitious) I have run a 1:33.20. Unbelievable!

Lead Up
My training for the last three months has been more consistent than ever. For 14 weeks I have averaged 33km with no fewer than three runs per week. This may not seem like much, but it means that I have run more to the end of May than for each of the last 5 years in total!

I think the biggest thing was getting onto the Furman FIRST program. This has given me highly specific sessions and target paces and, more importantly, a distance and frequency regime that my body could handle.

With all this additional training it is not unexpected that my 40+ year old body should have a share of niggles. Early on it was sore calves. Really sore at first then after a month or so dissipating to being tender to the touch. Thankfully it has not bothered me too much.

Of more concern has been the plantar fasciitis (self-diagnosed) which I first thought was a sore heel. This still bothers me - like most people first thing in the morning is worst (which is no good for morning run sessions and races) - but it has not been a great hindrance to my running. I think I'll need to get more on top of it for the marathon training program.

Finally, in race week, I managed to get a cold. It has not been too bad but I have been sneezing and spluttering which is not good when you are trying to focus on a big race. Thankfully too it did not seem to bother me much during the race.

Race Day
It was pretty cool down at Williamstown this morning. Probably ideal for running though an extra couple of degrees would not have gone astray. There was no sun, a small breath of wind and a mighty big fog!

My intent was to go out steady for 15km (till the turn at West Gate Bridge) then go harder if possible for the last 6km. I even wore a wrist band with my target splits on it (at 4.39/km pace).

The first km went by in 4.26 which had me a bit worried. It felt very easy but was substantially faster than plan. When the next couple of km ran 4.19 and 4.27 I was still concerned, but my heart rate was very steady and around 165 so I thought I'd just go with it and see what happened.

For the first 4.5km or so you are running with folks doing a 10km race so it is not till they turn off that you truly know who is running the half. It was also at that time that the fog was at its thickest so you couldn't really see much anyway! Especially if you are wearing glasses like myself and they get completed fogged over!

At around 7km I hooked in behind a bloke doing my pace. I figured the segment up to West Gate would be into whatever breeze there was so it was better to spend this part tucked in out of the way. (This was good till just after the 13km mark when he dropped down the pace.)

I went through 10km in 44.15 (4.26/8.45/13.12/-/22.02/26.27/30.50/35.19/39.43/44.15) which was nearly 45sec faster than my previous Sri Chinmoy 10km in March at Richmond. Felt great, heart rate still steady at 165 or so, and was confident for the next 10km.

By 14km I was running on my own as the course zig-zags along the bike path towards the bridge. After making the turn I let the pace ramp up a little covering the next 4km in 17.28 (4.22 pace). By this stage I had picked up my own "passenger" and had made the turn back up to the finish line.

The second 10km was in 44.24 (48.45/53.17/57.45/1.02.20/1.06.44/1.11.06/1.15.32/1.19.52/1.24.12/1.28.39) so no real pace differential to the first ten.

I cruised into the track and around to the finish line, hardly believing my eyes at the time on the clock. 1:33.20. An all-time half marathon PB and nearly five minutes ahead of plan. It felt great with my form remaining good all the way around. I could not be more pleased.

Bring on October and the big one!!

Heart Rate graph: dead flat course (lower line) and dead flat HR (upper line)


  1. Hi PB RodN here from Cool Running. Like your blog alot keep up the good work. Also had a good read of the FIRST training program as I can only normally manage a few 'key' runs a week too so thanks for the link on cool running.

  2. Paul congratulation to this run.

    Richard / Germany

  3. Awesome effort.
    Conditions were perfect.
    5min ahead of schedule is fantastic.


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