Race Report – SMH Half Marathon – 21.1k road

Pre Race: Drove into the city and parked in the car park mentioned in the race pack information which was charging a flat $10 fee for the day.  Followed our noses and the crowd to the start line making a bee line straight for the toilets to get that out of the way.  Sore many CR caps scattered around and while waiting the toilet queue Ellie tapped me on the shoulder and said hi.  Next went over to the baggage drop where we ran into BlkBox, Beki, Gronk and Plodbod.  When we had organized ourselves we headed toward the start area and settled in with Blkbox, Beki and Plodbod about mid-field awaiting the start. 

The Race: Once away there wasn’t much you could do but go with the crowd, and I set a pace which I thought was reasonable only to get swallowed up continually by people coming up from behind.  I lost Rachel49 after about 300m and I spent the next 17k trying to work out if she was behind or in front of me.  I had a Sydney Striders pace wrist band in my pocket for a 2hr race and I had decided I was going to try and keep pace with that, and going past the finish line I thought I was going too slow so picked it up a little.

I was struggling getting into a rhythm running in such a large crowd and must admit I expected it to thin out a little more than it did.  I normally run quite a varying paced race surging when I feel like it etc.  My race plan was to thunder down the hills, and I did most of the time but sometimes it was impossible to get a clear path.

The hill at hunter street was OK on the first lap, but I didn’t know how fast I was going because I was finding it hard to locate kilometer flags.  I ran through 5k down Mrs Maquarie’s Chair on target in 27:40.  Heading back into the city I was starting to feel the blistering pace I had set to keep up with the pace band and I still hadn’t seen Rachel on any of the turn around either in front or behind. I passed a few cool runners on that first lap but could only muster some encouragement to a few of them.

After thundering like a run away train down Hunter Street I set myself for the Argyle Street hill.  It wasn’t too bad and I was strong up it almost laughing when I saw Go CoolRunner written in chalk half way up. When I finally went through the Start area I was unsure of where the 10k was but looking at my watch I thought my pace had slipped and I was behind target.  Soon after I was approaching the finish line and Pat Carroll was calling in the winner in 64mins.  Few, didn’t get lapped, and also got a shout out from Lulu.  For the next couple of kilometers I had resigned myself to the fact that I was stuffed and not going to make 2hrs.  Once I had come to this realization I started up Hunter Street for the second time and for some reason couldn’t get a stupid grin off my face as I cruised up no just looking for a PB (sub 2hr3min).  Not being able to find many kilometer markers was starting to annoy me.Finally at the end of Mrs Maquarie’s chair the second time I saw a flag, and a race clock.  15k and 1hr26min on the clock.  This gave me 35mins (net time) to run 6k for a sub 2hr.  There was a new spring in my step.  I was going to do it.  Just needed 4x6min kms and 2×5:30 min kms to finish, woohoo, easy.  Then the Gorilla ran up next to me.  The steep but short climb out of Mrs Macquarie’s chair on that second lap was by far the hill of the day that took the most out of me and it left me with a stitch which I carried to the finish.  All I had in my mind now was to cruise to the finish in just under 6min/k pace, as my legs had lost all pace and power thanks to that fast first lap.  Then we did that tiny out and back section and I saw Rachel.  She had been chasing me and was catching fast.  I put in one final effort, thundering down Hunter street, but she caught me never the less as we passed the 18k marker.  I told her I was under 2hr pace, which she misinterpreted as going to slow for a 2hr race and so pushed it to the end.  I just hung on, pushing it up Argyle street, but having nothing left to thunder down anymore hills, willing myself not to give into the compulsion to walk and to just keep going for a few more minutes.  Soon the finish line was in sight and Pat was calling people to hurry for a sub 2hr (gun time) but I was too knackered to sprint too hard, so just cruised to the finish line for a 01:59:26 unofficial chip time.  Outstanding.

Post Race: took my own chip off my shoe, and got a bit dizzy when I straightened back up.  Rachel was there in the finishing area with a, I can only imaging, smug 😉 Ewen after predicting the outcome of the race.  Straight out of the finishing chute we line up un what looked like a drink line, but didn’t move for at least 2 minutes so made our way around the side to the virtually free drinks table…It definitely is strange how we just assumed people were lining up for a drink, in the end I don’t know what they were all doing.  The finishing area was a bit crazy and it took us a while to find the fruit and power bars as we had been on the left side.  Now where are our bags? Apparently we have to go up those steps…great. 

Collected our gear and enjoyed the view from under the bridge, soon saw some CRs we recognized and shared our triumphs and some disappointments.  We got directions to Palasides before head into the Rocks for some breakfast…after getting some bacon and eggs in me we started up Argyle street for the third time and Rachel suggested we run, but my calves were feeling a little tight by now.  At the Palaside Hotel it was nice to have a frosty cold Coopers Pale Ale on tap and meeting some CRs we had not yet met, Tiger Angel, Gnome, Chunderbolt,
Bristol and hope I didn’t forget anyone. 

We eventually headed for home after a few group photos proudly clutching out finishing medals with all goals met J.

What a long post, should I write more…ok I will…

I think my plan of following the pace wrist band was not for me.  It allowed for a fast start and a slower second lap, where as I like to have an easy first lap and a big negative split, finishing fast and strong.  Kind of like the way Rachel ran the race.  At least I finished with the feeling I couldn’t have gone any harder on the day.  Large crowds aren’t for me, as I found it hard to run the race I wanted to.

What’s Next: I am knocking off my goals now, quickly, sub 55min 10k…Check…sub 2hr HM…check.  Now for a sub 25min 5k and a marathon.  So the next big thing is the Adelaide Marathon in August.  Coming around that second lap yesterday I was wondering “how the hell am I going to make it 42.2km?”, but Marathon training starts now.  Well not now, today is a rest day.  I need to get straight into it and increase my mileage and long runs.  Then there is all the races so I will post a weekend race/long run timetable soon, which I worked out on Friday.  The increase in mileage will come as a result of increasing my running to/from work from 2 to 3 times a week.  For now I am planning a run from Dee Why to Manly and back.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Race Report – SMH Half Marathon – 21.1k road

  1. Excellent effort! Sounds like you had a great race. I always think it’s funny when I read these race reports – they make it sound so easy – lucky I know better 😉 Congratulations.

  2. Well done Simlin, sounds like you had a great race, and fantastic to make it under the 2hours. Would have been a pain to get so close and miss out, so well done!!

  3. Great run & thanks for the inspiring read.

    Sorry to see your race winning streak has come to an end ;).

  4. Gorillas, chalk messages and lots of thundering! What a great race and a new PB too. CONGRATULATIONS!

  5. Sekhmet

    It was great to finally meet you and Rachel yesterday – congratulations on getting your goal in what was a tough race for it 🙂

    That Strider in the gorilla suit was a hoot wasn’t he? LOL

    I also had a chuckle at the Go Coolrunner on Argyle St, I didn’t even see it the first time around. It’s a shame the crowd wasn’t for you, I actually thought it wasn’t too bad considering – I’ve been in a lot worse!

  6. Congrats on a great run, and a great day !

  7. plu

    Great run Simlin.

    You are right about the drinks at the end of a race – always a way to get a drink.

    cheers Plu

  8. wardman

    Tremendous effort mate, Rachel too, cracking 2 hrs is a big accomplishment and you should be well chuffed with your dedication in training as well as your performance on the day. With your rate of progress, is a sub 3:45 on the cards in August for the big one……….????

  9. seescottrun

    Ditto with the congrats Simlin. You set a goal and got it, can’t ask for more than that.

    Enjoy the marathon training, it’s tough but the reward at the end really is worth it. I’ll continue to follow your progress.

  10. I wasn’t smug (well, just a bit), only happy not to lose a six-pack. Actually, I was very pleased you both ran well, and sub-2 hours! Woo hoo!

    I agree that’s a course to run on ‘feel’, rather than schedule. Rachel did it perfectly (just rubbing it in mate).

    Rest up, and all the best with the marathon training!

  11. 🙂 Well Done on the PB.

    That Sydney is a big place to run in esp after your last race here in Adelaide.

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