>Racing>Sub 1:30 Half Marathon in 2020
Even in "big" NZ marathons you end up running by yourself.
Christchurch 2015 was OK in that I was lapping the really slow half marathon run-walkers.
Wairarapa 2017 was even smaller than 2020. I was 16 minutes behind the person in front of me. There were people a few minutes behind but I was not really aware of them.
Auckland might be big enough.
Australia is the other option with Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Mark was in a group for maybe the first 30km.
PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)
40+ PRs: 5km 19:31 (Oct 2020), 10km 39:59 (Sep 2020), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018)
Dont worry Mark, we have your marathon future planned out
50+ PBs -
5k 18.25 Tauranga Parkrun Sept 20 81.36 % age grade
10k 38.55 oct 19 strava run
Next race Tauranga city to Surf 11km Nov 1st 2020
Mount Maunganui half 10k 28th nov 2020
" If you don't use it you lose it but if you use it, it wears out.
Somewhere in between is about right "
Race Report: Wairarapa Country Marathon 2020
2020. It's not the race you wanted, but it's the race you got. Hell, it was whatever race was even available.
At the start of the year I was targeting Christchurch Marathon in late May. If that went well, I was considering Melbourne Marathon or even NYC Marathon later in the year. That all seems quite funny now.
The Wairarapa Country Marathon was Plan C for me, after Plan A (Christchurch in May), and Plan B (Rotorua in September) both got kyboshed by Covid. And it felt like I’d been training for ages… 34 straight weeks over 50 miles / 80km, and up until two weeks ago I was pretty sick of marathon training. I realised I'd actually decided to do another marathon over a year ago... that's how long this had been coming.Wairarapa Country Marathon is a small race in Masterton, mostly countryside running on a 2-lap course. There’s two moderate hills, and what turns out to be a deceptively long false flat climbing 5km back into town. In between that it’s pretty much flat, although in hindsight I did underestimate the course a bit (the total elevation gain was 200m / 650 feet). Only 23 runners ran the full last year, this year is a bumper turnout with 43 largely due to the cancellation of the Wellington Marathon and, well, almost everything else.I slept 7 hours which is almost unheard-of for me before a goal race – although I did wake up in the night wondering how much it was going to suck at the tail end of the race. This is only my second full marathon and I’m determined to post a time that shows the progress I’ve made since my first full 3 years ago (2:57).The weather is near perfect, cool temps, but the light winds forecast seem to be more like moderate winds at race start. I chat to Matt Moloney, who plans to start at 3:45/km and pick it up later, so I figure I have company for a while. I’m aiming for 2:38:59 which would be a moose mug. I know I’m quick enough, but I’m hardly a massive volume guy with my weekly volume having topped out at 120km/week, so the endurance is what I might be lacking. But honestly, if I'd trained any more than what I have, something would've probably broken.The race starts on a lime path by the river, for about 1km before turning on to the road. The first km is 3:55, which is good as I’d planned to use that as a warm-up. The wind on Colombo Road is a noticeable headwind, but doesn't last for long before turning right. Matt and I are out in front and hit a nice rhythm around 3:40-3:45/km, which is perfect. He seems like a decent guy and it's good to have some company.
The first 8km wind through farmland on the flat on country roads, it's nice running apart from a brief section on Watsons Road where we turn back into the headwind. I take a first gel around 7km and I'm feeling good and in control. It's feeling pretty easy but you'd hope that was the case at this stage. Km 9 has the first hill, it's not steep but it goes on for a bit, but then it's nice running on the ridgeline.
The second hill is not too far after - a bit shorter and sharper, Matt and I agree they'll feel a lot bigger the second time around. After dropping down this hill, we turn back for the 6km north towards town. This started to feel just a little bit tougher - not hard, but not as easy as it had been. It's a very slow, gradual climb - only around 5 metres (15 feet) per km but just enough to fractionally nudge up the effort level , and I hit a bit of a dark place for the first time as I realise we're not even halfway there.
As we hit the outskirts of town, Matt starts to pick up the pace a bit. We'd been averaging right on (my) target in the low-3:40's/km, and then there's a couple of km's in the mid-3:30's. I decide this is getting a bit hot for me and immediately dial back slightly. This was one of the best decisions I made as I felt better straight away and settled back into a rhythm around 3:45/km.
Until we turn right onto Colombo Road and the wind has picked up. It feels like a NE which is a straight headwind through here and I'm not loving it. Fortunately I see my wife and daughter at the 20km mark and they give me a big cheer, and pass me my Maurten drink. The next km is unpleasant into the wind but the drink mix distracted me - and hey, we're on to lap 2. Halfway there, at least in terms of distance.
Turning right reduces the wind but doesn't remove it entirely as it's a slightly niggly crosswind until the next turn on to Watsons Road. I still hit a nice rhythm averaging goal pace through here, but I realise it's not going to be nice when I hit the end of this section and have to cop the headwind again for around 1km.
It wasn't nice. It was only around 1km but this was where I really started to labour for the first time, around the 27km mark, and 3:58/km on the flat was a bit ugly. My wife and daughter had started following me around the course (one advantage of small races with no road closures!) and they stopped to give me a big cheer here which I badly needed. I can't wait until the right turn on to Stronvar Road, and finally get there. Phew. The pace is still slightly below goal but at least I don't feel quite so crap any more.
Next up are the hills. The family have positioned themselves at the bottom of the first one to give me a big cheer. I took another gel just before here too and the first hill doesn't feel too bad. A slight drop in pace but nothing too serious and I make it up going down the other side.
Along the flat in between the hills, I'm feeling OK but my hamstrings are starting to feel a little tight and I know I still have 11km or so to go. At this point I decide that I've had it with marathons. This is it. I'm not gonna die wondering today, but I run because of the enjoyment it brings and I've already spent too much time feeling miserable in this race - and I know there's more to come. You have dark patches in most races, regardless of distance, but I've always been able to get through those. 32km in and I know the suffering is only getting worse from here.
My wife drives past and slows down to cheer me. "No more marathons", I tell her. "No really, this is it." Counting down the km's just sucks and that's no way to race.
The pace is still holding up OK but the last hill really must've taken it out of me. I held up fine through the hill and recovered a bit down the other side, but turning right on to the main road and the northerly stretch back into town, my legs are really starting to feel heavy. I'm not short of air, my heart rate hasn't spiked, but there's a couple of times I have to remind myself just to put one foot in front of the other as the legs are feeling really heavy now. I do a bit of mental maths and realise that the moose mug is looking unlikely here, maybe sub-2:40 if I can hold around 4:00/km.
To make it worse, the wind has spun around to the north so that means 5km of straight headwind right when I don't need it (with that almost imperceptible climb added into the mix as well).
Much like my first marathon, I never totally hit the wall here. The pace gradually slips from 4:00/km, to 4:10/km, to 4:20/km but doesn't totally blow up - although boy am I ever counting down the kilometres. My wife obviously realised I was flagging as the family are stopping every 2km or so to give me a cheer, and boy does it ever help. The number of times over that stretch I thought "this is miserable", "I could just quit", "why am I doing this?” and so on - but seeing them gives me a lift and reminds me I owe it to them - having dragged them all the way to Masterton - to get over that finish line as best I can. And I owe it to myself too after all that training and preparation. After what seems like an eternity there's the right turn onto Colombo Road and a slight reprieve from the wind.
1km along here, 1km up the river. That's all that's left. A 2:40 finish is starting to look more like 2:41. and as we turn off the road and under the bridge I slow up to avoid tripping on some of the slightly uneven surface here.
That damn northerly is back on that last km up the river. Good old prevailing northerly. I'm glancing up ahead to try and see the finish line as the path winds through the trees, and finally I see it. I cross the line with my family cheering and I'm glad it's over. 2:41:41, second place, job done. It's not a moose mug, but you can't be disappointed with a 16 minute PB.
In hindsight I definitely underestimated the course, particularly when the wind picked up. The overall elevation gain is actually slightly more than Auckland (which is not the fastest course) and that long grind back into town into the wind was a real killer. I made the right call to let Matt go late in the first lap, though.
That's it for me, with marathons. I've got a time on the board that is more like a fair reflection of my marathon ability and I want to get back to the half marathons and 10km races that I really enjoy - and that I'm good at. Crossing the line, I had more of a sense of relief than anything else. But I know when I nail it, when I've really enjoyed a race, there’s satisfaction, elation. But that's 2020. It wasn't the race you wanted, it was the race that you got.
And to be honest, assuming I recover OK over the next couple of weeks, I'm a lot more excited at the prospect of NZ Road Race (10k) Champs in 4 weeks time, and the Mt. Maunganui Half Marathon 3 weeks after that. It'll just be great to go out and have fun again.
5,000m: 15:39 (Dec-19) | 10,000m: 32:34 (Mar-20) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19)
HM: 1:10:46 (Nov-19) | FM: 2:41:41 (Oct-20)
Last race: Wairarapa Country Marathon, 11 Oct, 2:41:41 (PB)
Up next: NZ Road Race Champs (10k), 7 Nov (I hope!)
"CONSISTENCY IS KING"
Mark - nice RR. Most people found that home stretch surprisingly hard. I thought you had a 9.x km race a few months ago?
I've had 7 races over the last four months, which is pretty rare right now.
Steve - on the first page, my 15/8/2020 race should be updated as being cancelled.
Sort of. It was basically a time trial though - they had the timing mats out and you just chose when you wanted to run it. It was not really a race, nor did it satisfy the Darkwave criteria for a race.
King of pastries
Darkwave - yeah, there was a big area for warm up, 300 to 400m long. So plenty of space.
That’s a very impressive week, it looks like you’re back in business despite your non standard ligaments and tendons.
Piwi - I attribute it to excellent coaching which is allowing me to be consistent in my training. I’m finally reaping rewards from one training block (09/2019 to 02/2020) in another, even with the lockdown pause.
Awesome to hear about the racing calendar!
Steve - Ah, that’s new Zealands Linkin Park then .
James - I’m glad to hear the kiddo is well.
Mark - Thanks for the race report. We seem to share a similar experience with marathons. I hated my 3 marathons and 2 50ks. I have no idea why I've ran them, Jeebus I got passed while walking in one of them, I was in such a bad shape at that point.
That said, the allure is there, now many years later I keep thinking what-if, but honestly I'm not going to try them until I have higher mileage under my belt. Also, around our age, it's still worth to try to go up in level with our speed, while we still have a bit of speed.
Me - You kiwis should all gather for the Christchurch park run, you only live like 10km away from each other anyway
Fun facts from the race:
1 - I’ve out-sprinted a guy to the finish line finishing well ahead. But it didn’t mean anything cause he started the race later than me so he still beat me by 15 seconds. Maybe that’s why he didn’t think the sprint was worth it? I’ll never know.
2 - Apparently they will send out age group prizes to the first 10 in the AG 40-49M, via the post office. And I’ve entered my previous address during registration, so my prize will likely go to the wrong place. I did write them an email asking to send to a different address, I’ll report back if I do get the prize (whatever it is, for all I know it could be a bag of Nutella biscuits, which would be very well received, by the way).
PRs: 1500m 4:54 (2019) 3K 10:34 (2019) 5K 18:02 (2020) 9.86K 36:40 (2020) HM 1:23:30 (2020)
Up next: 5k Cinque Mila del NoviSad 2020-11-01
Tool to generate Strava weekly
Live music?? You kiwis really have it good!
DPS good luck with the sleep debt of a newborn! It sounds like you've managed to keep training so you must have something figured out better than I ever did!
James - I'm going to give you the advice I tell myself but never ever take. A lot of that hamstring pain requires rest and strengthening. Since there are no races right now, you'll never have a better chance to rest up. The work to rest ratio looks right for VO2 type work, that's a nice step forward in 2 weeks. I hope you're son is ok!
Watson - stellar race, I'm looking forward to the RRs.
Flavio - Great time and dry heaving just means you emptied the tank =) Shame about the distance. I sympathize with your recollection of the course, that's usually what I remember unless I've run the course multiple times. p.s. I don't think I've ever run a mile or 5k and not dry heaved after, so consider yourself lucky. 10ks are 50/50. Hopefully you get your Nutella biscuits and they settle the stomach next time.
Steve - that's a hell of a progression, nice work.
DW - mad respect for the pool running. I tried that twice .... and I just can't. So boring, so awkward. Solid week, looks like you're back at full volume.
Mark -- what a race, especially for a guy who doesn't love marathons. I think every marathon I've ran I've sworn them off and it takes a year before I consider one again. Honestly though, a slight uphill into the wind... to only fade :20/km is pretty phenomenal. You earned that huge PB
1600 - 5:23 (2018), 5k - 19:33 (2018), 10k - 45:24 (2017), half - 1:38:57 (2018), Mary - 3:37:17 (2018)
Mon - 7.5 mile progression from 8:50 -> 7:20 / mile. My legs just don't want to turn over quickly yet. Oh well.
PM: Bodyweight workTue - 20 min spin into a 5.5 mile run
PM: 1100m swim
Wed - 5.2 mi easy - first time this week a run felt blah due to poor sleep the night before, but not the last
PM - hour bike ride with my boys (super easy)
Thur - 8.2 w/ 20 min @ tempo (7:15/mi) + bodyweight work
PM - 40 min bike ride w/ 3x4x:30 sprints / :30 ez, min between sets. Ouch
Fri - 40 min swim which was almost all drills with really long recoveries so I could hang on the edge of the pool and practice "early vertical forearm position" .... or maybe I just needed an easy day.
PM - 3.7 mi recovery run
Sat - 11 mile / 1:40:00 run. Longest run post injury and wow my legs were not ready for that. + weights
Sun - Easy 5km because of a virtual race for breast cancer research that work paid for.
PM - 7.5 mile ride with the oldest son.
6:31 / 44 mi running
61 min / 1.5mi swimming
A good week but the legs are heavy (and so am I :171 lbs, I was 161 pre-derecho but I hit 176 a month back so things are trending correctly). Hopefully another similar week this week keeping the intensity in the workouts down but still doing some work..
Mark - enjoyed your race report immensely, even if you didn't enjoy the race. I know the marathon is the right distance for me when I read about your pain in the race and thought "I can't wait to run another one."
So the up and down training definitely hurt. You effectively tapered for 5 weeks or so. Additionally, I would hate marathon training if I did it for as long as you did! I can do an intense 12-15 weeks, but after that, I would be completely burned out. You had probably the worst possible experience with training (too long) and tapering (training leading into it not ideal). You also haven't raced in months. No wonder you hated it.
I definitely think you should keep plugging away at the shorter distances. The thing with the marathon is that it will be the last distance that "goes" for you, i.e. where age finally catches up. Keep running the shorter stuff and if the PRs end there, that 2:41 will always be yours for grabbing.
But hey - if you ever want to run NYC, you let me know and I will immediately sign up for it
5K: 16:42 (9/20) | 10K: 34:49 (10/19) | HM: 1:15:28 (3/20) | FM: 2:36:31 (12/19)
Next Race: Whatever COVID-19 will allow me to run
In case any of you were wondering what the hell that "checkerboard pattern" was at the start line:
Aspiring Hobby Jogger
Mark - Excellent job on the huge PR! Good RR.
Watson - Great job with how you hung in there. Uphill and upwind to the finish isn't fun.
Flavio - Awesome effort on that 9.86k! I enjoyed the RR, too. Maybe one of these days I'll be Flavio Fast®. Perhaps that should be my next goal...
Steve - Good week.
DWave - Great to hear that you're seeing so much improvement.
Nothing but short, easy runs from me this week, complete with the shortest and worst LR (13.25mi) I've done in a LONG time. I was feeling firmly "middle of the road" to start, but ended up with zero energy and a desire to call a ride to get home. Unfortunately for me when that feeling hit I was 5 miles from the house and without my phone. I'm fighting what I'm 98.7% certain are tight adductors (left leg) and what may or may not be a lack of motivation to run. The addutors may or may not be tight in the morning (haven't figured out what leads to this yet), and if they are they usually take a bit to loosen up but don't hurt when running. Getting up in the morning has been really hard, but once I'm out on the road things are better and I frequently wish I had the time to get in an extra couple miles.
5k: 18:25 10/19 (solo track TT) │ 10k: 38:56 4/18 │ HM: 1:24:16 11/19 │ M: 3:04:13 11/18
Upcoming Races (?):
8/29 Moore War 5k
9/5 - Tunnel to Towers 5k
9/27 - Run Elk City 5k
10/4 - Wurst Race Half - Ran it!
10/18 - Hot Chocolate 15k (Pacing)
Mark - Nice race report and congrats on the PR. I'm hoping to eventually run at least one marathon but I suspect that I'll prefer the shorter distances as you do. That half marathon I did last month felt like a great distance.
As for me, I'm still weighing whether to try another half marathon time trial before winter sets in. I'd love to get my average mile time below 7:30 (it was 7:34 last month) and experimented a bit yesterday with an 8 miler that I ran in 59:16 for a 7:25 pace. I have no residual effects today and didn't feel like I pushed all that hard. I know a half is 5 miles longer but I think beating 7:30 is quite doable fairly soon.
5K - 20:18 ran in August 2019
10K - 41:15 ran in September 1990
Half Marathon - 1:39:06 ran in September 2020
Keen - think I've said to you before, but taking 2 weeks completely off may help. You seem in a complete funk. Sometimes you need away time to realize how much you like running (and also heal physically!)
Flavio - some races around here are doing that.
NYRR is being ridiculous. They not only require you to do that at the start, you must wear a mask the entire race. Why would anyone ever sign up for that? It's like running a time trial, but without the ability to breathe. How could you finish a 5K strong in a mask? I'm going to pay $30 to do that? Pass. I'll stick with my time trials for now.
Flavio - sorry for the delayed response, but great job on the race. Been travelling so I had a window to write up the RR on the plane but didn't get a chance to catch up on everything else on the thread. Frustrating about the short course but really positive signs and it will be great for your confidence. I almost dry-heaved after National Road Relays which was around a 10km leg both times - it happens!
JMac - I pretty much agree with everything you said. The training block ended up being too long, and so was the taper. I probably should've taken a down week in the middle somewhere, but if Rotorua had gone ahead that may not have been necessary. When I look back on when I felt like I was really nailing it in training and racing over the second half of last year, there were blocks of 8-9 weeks where I'd push the volume up around the 55 miles/90km mark, then coming up to races drop the volume back and really push the intensity. I feel like that's probably the right balance for me - lower volume, higher intensity.
Anyway I'll humbly to defer to you as the thread marathon king for the foreseeable future. I'm even more impressed by your 2:36 after my experience on Sunday. And who knows, maybe I will take you up on that NYC offer at some point!
Also, masking for an entire race is just a ridiculous idea (I understand why you might want them at the start). I wouldn't bother with that either.
Keen - sorry to hear that it sounds like things have gone sideways (or backwards) again.
Steve - nice week, sounds like a bit of vehicular drama though, lucky you missed that!
James - hope those niggles are better soon.
Piwi - gotta say, I'm really looking forward to Mt. Maunganui now!
Watson - that last stretch home was really tough. You should take some real confidence out of our time - it's not as quick a course as I thought, particularly not in those conditions.
Jason - thanks, there's a saying "the marathon always wins" which I think is pretty true. Nice job on that 8 mile effort.
JMac - I kinda am in a funk, and I do think I'll drop down to just a few miles per day for a couple weeks (with the exception of this Saturday/Sunday...). I don't know about entirely stopping - running is very much my "me" time...
I do agree with the ridiculousness regarding the NYRR and masks. I'm guessing they don't have any requirements about mask construction, though... Any chance you could make one out of a very thin, highly porous fabric to beat them at their own game??