Monday, November 7, 2011

Race Report: Hamilton Half Marathon for Hope

My Endurance sport bucket list:

- Hawaii Ironman = done
- Boston Marathon = done
- base camp Everest = never happening
- Trans Alps bike race in France = TBD
- Ride Across America (RAAM) = doubtful, that thing is just nuts!

- NYC Marathon = run this Hamilton race under 1:30 as a 40 year old and voila! Its now or never because the 2013 race that standard moves to 1:23 for a half marathon which was my race speed in 2004...I'm older and slower now, so shut up and put up time!

So, this happened!

After Hawaii I was pretty well cooked. I have been swimming but that is really it. Riding my bike to work for 2 wheels fun but nothing more.  Then, towards end of October I started to feel ok and did 1 treadmill workout to feel what 6:30 to 6:45 per mile pace felt like. Answer? TERRIBLE!

I have learned a very valuable lesson in all this sporting madness. You neve know what's possible unless you try.

So Meredith gave me the go for it and I registered 3 days before the race. I put a quick race plan together as follows:

- first 3 miles at 6:45 pace
- downhill section at 6:15 pace therefore "buying" 90 seconds under the 1:30 cut off I needed
- next 3 miles at 6:45 pace "buying" another 15 seconds
- final 4 miles stick and hold as best I can!

I raced it to perfection except for the final 4 mile part! It is a painful experience to know you are dying a slow death in the running legs, watching your GPS pacer go from 6:34 to 6:36 to 6:40 average pace over the course and then turn right into a headwind knowing it will only get slower!!

Dying, legs like lead; brain fighting nasty thoughts to slow down; side stitches creeping up; shoulder pain start which is the trigger to my diaphram muscle about to convulse uncontrollably...all the tell tale signs I am shutting down fast!! 5KM to go, 4Km to go...come on man, dig in!!! 3KM to go; 2KM to go...this is it mate, 1 final 8 minute mile is all you need so que the key self talk....PUSH, PUSH, BREATH, BREATH....

Turn corner and I am in absolute please end this now mode.....cross line in 1:28:08. Grab water, turn off the finish chute and fall down. Done, Dusted, Cooked. Absolutely 100% spent.

But I'm in. November 4th, 2012 Team Captain Meredith and her stupid, stupid husband are going to THE BIG APPLE to knock another bucket list off-:)

AFter the race, arriving home I spent 4 hours on the couch. Ironically the NYC Marathon was on TV! I watched and the best commentating quote re: racing marathons was this:

"Its easy until it gets hard"

Yeah, it sure is!!