On Saturday 9th February (The day after my 27th B’day) I ran the hardest run of my life EVER and here is the story.
So on the 30th March 2013 I will be running my 3rd Two Oceans Half Marathon. It was my first ever half marathon and last year it also became my personal worst. Part of the reason it was my personal worst was because I pretty much had to spend the first 3km walking/jogging behind all the novices/walkers/random glory runners (who only do it to say they’ve done Oceans as this is the most talked about half marathon in South Africa) in the E Group.
The plan for 2013 was to try and avoid that situation by getting out of the E Group (or cattle class, as a running friend of mine called it) and into the D Group. However, this is something easier said than done :) For women to be seeded in the D Group you need to qualify by either running a half marathon in sub 2 hours and 20 minutes or running a 10km race in less the 1 hour and 3 min. With my PB on the half marathon being 2 hours 30 minutes and 20 seconds, there wasn’t much chance of me knocking 11 minutes of that time, especially when I would struggle to take off those pesky 20 seconds. So I was forced to try on the 10k.
My stats on the 10k are as follows : PB of 1 hour 4 minutes on my first every 10km in 2009 and I’ve never come close since. I comfortably run 10km in about 1 hour 8 minutes and the last time I attempted to seed in December I ran it in 1 hour 6 minutes. So chances of a sub 1 hour 3 min 10k were looking unlikely.
Also, I decided I had to basically make a choice between training for the Edinburgh Marathon and getting fast enough to seed. I chose Edinburgh because quite frankly I just hate running fast. However, about a week ago my Coach said I needed to give seeding one last shot. After a little reluctance, I agreed on the basis I’d try and if I failed I’d know that at least I had given it ago.
The plan was that the Monday before the 10K race I’d do interval training, Wednesday would be Time Trial and Thursday was an easy 5km on the mountain. Then Saturday was D-DAY !!! I stuck to that plan, but come Saturday I was still very much doubting the plan would work.
The morning of the was a bit hectic. One of the ladies from the club was meant to be giving me a lift, but she overslept and when she did turn up she was still in her PJs. So that was a little bit nerve-wracking. We did however, make it to the race in Athlone in good time.
At the start line the weather was a little overcast and it started to drizzle slightly. Perfect running weather. Then the gun went off.
So the aim of the game was to cross the line before the 1hr 3min cut-off for seeding. We were told to actual aim to come in at 60 minutes, which would then give us 3 minutes to play with. So thats 6 minutes a km. Way too fast. The plan was also to to split the race into 4 parts – a 1km warm up and then 3km sets. We pretty much managed to run as a group of 5 girls till we got to around 5km. Andrea was our time keeper as she was the only one running with the watch. We were pretty much running each km in just over 6 mins up until the 5k mark.
At 5k two of the faster ones sped up. Than at around 6k Marlit dropped back (she’ll be running her 10th Two Oceans Half this year, so is automatically C-Seeded so wasn’t really under much pressure) and Christine stuck with me (she is a super fast runner and qualified long ago).
There was so many times I wanted to give up on this race, not give up in the sense of stop, turn around and go home but slow down and run at my comfy pace. I was getting in a strop about EVERYTHING. The lack of water (that was my biggest thing), the boring route (not that I would have had time or energy look around) and the fact that I didn’t have a man literally pushing me all the way to the finish to help me break the time.
Christine was awesome though, she should be a professional pacer. She knew exactly when to make me speed (I never need to be told to slow down) and she didn’t even let me stop for water. Instead she would stop to collect the water sachets and catch me up. She talked to me the whole time to keep me motivated (although sometimes I wanted to tell her to shut up and stop tempting fate).
The problem that running at such a speed for me isn’t leg pain but rather the fact that my heart feels like it is going to burst and I can’t breathe properly. Seriously amazed I didn’t have a heart attack. The last 4k was agony and the last km was a non-stop sprint for the finish. I have to say there was no better feeling than coming across the finish line and seeing the clock read 01.01.29 (especially because I was expecting to see something more like 01.03.01 and having to cry at the fact that I’d missed the seeding cut-off)
All that is left to say is that I’ve run Personal Bests (2011) and Personal Worsts (2012) and so I hope that the D-Group delivers something special.