21 September, 2012

Running around in circles

On Sunday in near perfect running conditions, I ran my 5th official half marathon. In many ways it was the same and yet different. As with the others, the race was staged by the Geelong Cross Country Club but came without the fanfare and the numbers of competitors of the Geelong Half Marathon which is held on the first Sunday after Easter each year.
This race was a little more intimate as the field was much smaller and for those members of the Cross Country Club who ran, it was a handicap race. For the rest of us (invitational runners) it was a scratch race.
I was delivered to the start line in enough time to collect my race kit - number and chip only no promotional freebies, caps or t-shirts here, this was definitely the economy version half. It didn't take long to find my fellow Geelong Runners and after a bit of a chat and a pre-race briefing we were off.

Start of the DeGrandi Cycle and Sport Half Marathon, 16th September 2012
This race was quite different for me in several respects. Firstly, the route, whilst still around the Barwon River Trail, was a loop course consisting of a short out and back section followed by two laps of a roughly 9.5km circuit starting just downstream of the Moorabool St Bridge. The loop took us down to Breakwater and over the old bridge, back up to Princes Bridge on the east and north bank of the river before crossing again to the opposite bank and heading back to Moorabool St. Whilst it was not perhaps as scenic as the full course run in the race after Easter, this was a slightly easier run as it included only the flattest section of the trail.
DeGrandi Cycle and Sport Half marathon about 2km into the race
Secondly, I have never competed in a race whilst running in company before. This meant that the first several kilometres were spent chatting and settling into what turned out to be a very comfortable pace before we each found our rhythm and spread out a little. Also in contrast to previous runs, I did all the right things. I settled for a comfortable pace from the start, I carried a gel for later in the race to fend off those lead-legs which I knew from experience were waiting for me somewhere near the 16km mark, I slowed down enough to drink all the water in the cup at the drink stations and just generally stuck to my own pace.
It felt like a really good run and I certainly enjoyed it - until I crossed the finish line and saw my time which was my slowest official time by some 35 seconds. Somehow, I had managed to run faster over the significantly warmer and slightly more uneven course in April than I did on Sunday. No wonder it felt so comfortable! Despite telling myself prior to the race that the time didn't matter, that I hadn't run the full half marathon distance since the race at Easter and that I was only doing the run as a warm up for the planned run in from Queenscliff to Geelong the following Sunday (stay tuned...) I was still unimpressed!
Clearly I have not achieved that final aim outlined in my last blog post and a good deal more therapy is still required. I'm hoping some of it will come in the form of an entertaining concept in charity fun runs which is about to hit Australia's shores. This is the Color Run Australia which has just arrived from the US.
Photo of Color Runners from the US taken from the Color Run website
The basic concept is that you start a 5km race in white clothes and each time you pass a kilometre marker, you are bombarded with (guaranteed non-toxic) paint powder. The colour is different at each kilometre so by the end you come out looking rather like the victim of a very colourful explosion.
Color Run events are planned for most capital cities and some of the larger regional towns across the country in the coming months. The date for Melbourne has just been announced as 25th November, 2012 and registrations are now open.
This should be one fun run where posting a good time is not even vaguely important!

1 comment:

  1. "a good deal more therapy is required"... Classic :-) .