Sub 1:30 Half Marathon in 2019 (Read 526 times)

SteveChCh


Hot Weather Complainer

    Congrats Mark, amazing time.  Just when it looks like you can't get any faster...

    PB:  Christchurch 2016 1:29.25

    Recent Races:  South Island Half-Marathon 2018 1:32.39 Auckland Waterfront Half-Marathon 2019 1:30.49

    Next Race:  South Island Half-Marathon, August 4, 2019

    Marky_Mark_17


      Race report – Dunedin Half Marathon 2019 / NZ Half Marathon Champs

       

      Perfect running weather? Check.

      New Vaporfly Next%’s? Check.

      Alright, let’s do this.

       

      Despite being NZ Half Marathon Champs, the field for the race is a little shallow, possibly because it’s a flight away for most North Island runners in Auckland and Wellington.  Oska Baynes and Toby Gualter are certainties for the top two spots, after that it’s anyone’s guess.  I am gunning for gold in the M35-49 category but figure I will have pretty tough competition from Dwight Grieve and Geoff Ferry – the three of us running almost identical 10km times last weekend in various regional road race championships.

       

      The course has changed a little from last year due to roadworks – on balance it looks like it’s slightly slower with a couple of tricky hills at the start.  But I still reckon it’s a good course for a National Championship race – there are enough hills and turns to add a bit of technical stuff, but still plenty of flat, fast running as well.

       

      I have a brief chat to Dion O’Neale, another Auckland runner, on the start line to pass some time.  He had an awesome run in Hawkes Bay Marathon, taking third in a sub-2:40 time, but is still paying the price a bit for it!  I’d been pretty stressed the days leading up to the race but as soon as I landed in Dunedin on Saturday afternoon I felt relaxed and well-prepared, and on the start line I’m just excited to get running.  The course map looks a bit tricky but it’s really just three different out-and-backs.

       

      Part 1: The Gardens and the almost-course-error

      I don’t even recall there being a gun or a hooter, I think there was just a countdown and we all took off from the carpark outside Forsyth Barr Stadium.  The first km is picturesque, with tree-lined roads around the Caledonian Ground and parkland.  The pace is 3:23, and I’m feeling good.  There is a lead group of three (Oska and two others) and I am just behind them – their pace was just a little quick for me.  There is another group of 4-5 just behind me including Dwight and Geoff.  It looks like it might be another solo race but one thing I’ve learned is that I’m pretty happy doing that.

       

      The second km has a short sharp uphill, then into the Gardens for a brief trail section with a particularly nasty little hill.  I catch a guy in an orange singlet here who has dropped off the lead group.  I was a bit gutted when it popped up at 4:05 on the watch but this was always going to be the slowest part of the race.

       

      This part of the gardens is basically gravel trails through the bush, it’s nice running but not the quickest, and fortunately there are lots of marshalls to prevent wrong turns (more on that later).  Dropping on to the lower trail brings some sharp downhills and I just really tried to roll with these (I may have yelled out ‘woo hoo’ at one point).  At 3:27 for the third km, I didn’t really pick much time back up on the downhill and so I’ve kind of discarded the chance of a PB.  This was never really the course for it anyway and I’m more focused on just running the best race I can.

       

      Coming to the bottom of the Gardens, I know from looking at the course map way-too-many times there should be a left turn back on to the road, but strangely I don’t see any marshalls and I briefly second-guess myself.  At that exact moment, the lead two runners emerge from the right turn and tell me to go left – they’d gone the wrong way.  Oska Baynes is seriously pissed off about it.  There’s no marshall and no clear course marking and it’s an easy error to make.  I remember saving Gene Rand from a wrong turn in a race a few years ago, he went on to pip me for third in a sprint finish, so maybe this is a bit of running karma coming back around.  Thanks, Oska and Toby.  Apparently this wasn't the only course error they made.  Now, I know marshalling is important, but I also know the responsibility is on runners to know the course - and I've spent a LOT of time looking at the course map and getting comfortable with it because I'm still pissed off about making a course error in a race two and a half years ago.

       

      Anyway, heading back down the hill, I know I’m in third overall but I’m not silly enough to try and keep up with those two.  Km 4 is quicker at 3:20.  I know it’s nice flat running for the next 10km or so, and I’m feeling like I’ve hit a good groove, so there’s no need to do anything crazy.  Let’s go get that age group gold medal.

       

      More nice road running through parks and tree-lined roads covers the next 2 km (3:28, 3:23) and soon enough we’re back at the stadium.  As much as I’m loving how quick the Vaporflies seem to be so far, I do miss the road-feel that you get in a more traditional racing flat.

      Coming up now is a series of technical turns, and I’m conscious of not screwing this up, having already seen one course error.  Basically, there’s a lot of goofing around with river crossings and looping under bridges and so on.  It’s a bit weird, and slightly slower (km 7 is 3:34), and the Vaporflies do feel a bit weird cornering on the tighter bits, but I don’t screw it up.  Onwards!

       

      Part 2: Industrial waterfront chic

      This part of the course is much more straightforward, and also the fastest part of the race.  Closed flat roads through a waterfront industrial area on a sunny, crisp morning – it’s fast, and it’s fun.  I have no idea how far behind orange singlet guy is, and I don’t intend to look back to see where him or the other Masters competitors are either.  At this point it’s warmed up just a touch so I throw away the cheap gloves I’ve been wearing to keep my hands warm, and  take a gel at km 8 as per normal.

       

      I’d been listening to Overkill’s “Armorist” before the race and the “run run run like you never did run before” refrain popped into my head briefly around here.  Km’s 8-11 are 3:22, 3:25, 3:23 and 3:25 and I started to wonder here if I was going to pay for it later as this is closer to the pace I ran a 10km race last weekend.  But the legs are feeling good, the heart rate is right where it should be, the effort feels about right, and the average pace is ticking steadily closer to the PB mark of 3:30/km.

       

      There’s a tight-turn at the bottom here before the course heads back up a slightly different route.  Still feeling good over the next 2km (3:25, 3:24), and as we hit the waterfront road again, there are half marathon runners heading out in the other direction which is always good for a bit of distraction and the occasional cheer.

       

      Except then the course joins up briefly with the 10km, which I hadn’t realised would happen, and I figure this might involve a bit of weaving through traffic for a bit.  Ugh.  Luckily it wasn’t too bad for the most part (km 14 was 3:25), and as soon as we’re over the SH88 bridge and past the stadium (again), the courses split again.

       

      Part 3: The longer-than-expected Ravensbourne loop which was actually exactly as long as it was supposed to be

      And then it’s the last hill – not a tough one, but it is a gradual climb, so I take my second gel about halfway up, slightly earlier than planned.  Km 15 is 3:32, which is OK as there are no more hills to deal with after this, and my watch is showing 3:29km/average pace.  From the 15km sign I figure my watch is also tracking maybe 70-80m shorter than the course measurements, probably from either the tree cover in the Gardens or the sharp, covered turns under the bridges.  I wonder if maybe a PR is a possibility, but equally, the legs are starting to tire a bit so I keep it simple and just focus on maintaining the effort.

       

      It’s a nice steady downhill on the other side, but when I see the marshalls, I realise the turnaround point has shifted further out from last year.  Ugh.  Bit of a mental trap here, I guess – the course was always 21.1km, it’s just that having to run past last year’s turnaround point made this part feel a lot longer, because I spent the next km or so looking for the damn turnaround point.  There’s also not a lot of space on the roadside between the cones and the grass (this road was still open to traffic) so focusing running a good line also takes up a bit of mental energy.  Or maybe it was a good distraction.  I also convinced myself at this point it felt like there was a headwind, even though there almost certainly wasn’t.  There were other internal conversations about how utterly ridiculous this sport is sometimes, we’re doing this for fun?  This doesn’t feel like fun.  Where is that bloody turnaround? Anyway the pace is still right on track for km’s 16-17 at 3:24, 3:26.

       

      Finally! The turnaround!  The course drops down the hill and then turns back on to the waterfront cycle path – on a day like today this is an awesome section of pavement to finish the race on.  I can see up the hill and orange singlet is ages back, probably well over a minute.

      At this point the legs were really starting to grumble, and my head was a bit tired and feeling a bit crap too.  I think I did some mental arithmetic here and figured that at 4:00/km pace, I’d be almost bang on 1:15.  There was insufficient power available to divert to the brain to adjust that for current pace, other than an initial finding that a PR could be well and truly on.

       

      Only one way to find out.  Much like last year at this point, going up a gear is not an option, but my hamstrings concede that current pace is probably maintainable.

       

      At this point, the course crosses a set of railway tracks.  There’s a carpet laid over it, but the marshall warns me to be careful.  I take one look at the carpet and the tracks, decide that there is no way that I am chancing an ankle on that, and jump over them instead.  I’m probably fortunate that NZ runs narrow-gauge tracks.  After that brief piece of amusement, pretty soon it’s back to the grind.

       

      There is an incredibly welcome distraction at this point – someone has chalked messages all along the footpath and there are various signs up too.  This part of the course is the final section for both the marathon and the half so I guess they figured some motivation might help.  Reading the messages is a great distraction, there are some of the usual ones (“If I collapse, pause my Garmin” ), but one around the 18km mark strikes a particular chord: “You’ve come too far just to come this far”.

       

      I am counting down the distance until we hit the final loop around and into the stadium, but km’s 18-19 are steady at 3:27 (3km to go!) and 3:25 (only 2km to go!).  Over the rail bridge for the last time and at this point there are a few slow 10km runners to weave around, but fortunately there’s plenty of room.

       

      Somehow km 20 was a ridiculous 3:21.  Guess those Vaporflies are everything they’re cracked up to be (even though I still don’t like the way they feel).  Hooray, there’s only 1km and a bit to go.  We’re into the final circuit around the outside of the stadium now.

       

      This is going to be sub-1:14.  This might even be sub-1:13.

       

      Hang on, is this even real?  Is this actually happening?

       

      Focus Mark, there’s some slow 10km runners to avoid again!

       

      The footpaths are wider now and there’s plenty of room.  Having realised that a somewhat ludicrous PB is on the cards, it’s time to empty the tank and I’m powering the legs as hard as I can.  Right turn, follow the cones into the stadium and onto the turf.

       

      I can’t remember what my watch said exactly at this point but it was enough that I realised that sub-1:13 was on the cards if I absolutely hammered it.  Somehow I find a bit more in the legs, the 10km runners I was powering past probably thought I was a bit nuts.  There’s two quick corners before rounding on to the home straight to finish in the middle of the stadium.  I can see the race clock has just ticked past 1:12:30, surely that home straight isn’t 30 seconds long?!

       

      It’s kind of amazing that after the fastest 21km I’ve ever run, a series of digits on a clock 100m in the distance can somehow magically make all the fatigue temporarily disappear.

       

      AFTERBURNERS ON!

       

      Eyes locked on the clock… 1:12:40… 1:12:45 (almost there)… 1:12:50 (just a few more steps)… and over the line!!  I didn’t even slow down for the line as I didn’t want to leave a single split-second out there, which gave the marshalls a bit of a surprise!

       

      According to the GPS data, that last 60m was at roughly 2:30/km pace.  I know for sure that it’s sub-1:13 on the official clock and I am beyond stoked.  Then it dawns on me just how… ludicrous this run was.

       

      I just placed third at the National Half Marathon Champs.

       

      I just won a gold medal and took out the Masters grade.

       

      I just ran a PB by well over a minute.

       

      Did that actually just happen?

       

      *checks official results*

       

      Hang on, it’s only got the first two guys there so far.  Oh god I better not have gotten a faulty chip or something.

       

      *hits refresh*

       

      1:12:54 official.

       

      Yes, yes it did happen.  Whoa.  Ludicrous.

       

      I catch up with a few other runners after they’ve finished, including Dion, and Geoff Ferry (who pipped Dwight Grieve for silver in a sprint finish), and a guy who spots my Takapuna singlet and explains how he filled in for us at Road Relays at short notice a few years ago.

       

      In summary:

      • Dunedin is the greatest city in the world
      • Vaporflies are everything they’re cracked up to be, even if they have zero road feel
      • I am still carrying my gold medal around with me
      • If I never beat this time, I’m all good with that.  It was a helluva race, and I'm damn proud of it.

      5000m: 16:03 (Dec-18) | 5km: 16:24 (Nov-18) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) HM: 1:12:54 (Sep-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

      Last race: NZ Road Race Champs (10km), 15 Sep, 33:15 (PB)

      Up next: NZ Road Relays, 5 Oct

      "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

      watsonc123


        Mark - nice RR.  Race endorphins are obviously still there with you Dunedin is the best city in the world .  Interesting that you don't like the Vaporly feel - is it the softness or the rocking?  Would you race a 5k or 10k in them?  I am considering buying a pair early next year.

        PRs: 5km 18:43 (Dec 2015), 10km 40:28 (Aug 2019), half 1:26:16 (Sep 2016), full 3:09:28 (Jun 2015)

         

        40+ PRs: 5km 20:34 (Jan 2019), 10km 40:28 (Aug 2019), half 1:29:39 (Jun 2018)

         

        2019 aims: Unlike 2017 & 2018, be consistent.  So get 40+ weeks of 40+ miles incl. two quality sessions (5 weeks achieved so far).

        Marky_Mark_17


          Watson - it's really just the softness of the Vaporfly.  I prefer a racing flat with more road feel.  But there's no arguing with the results.  I'd consider them for a 10km if it was a goal race, but probably not a 5km.  I get the sense they are better suited to longer races where the efficiency benefits have more time to shine.

          5000m: 16:03 (Dec-18) | 5km: 16:24 (Nov-18) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) HM: 1:12:54 (Sep-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

          Last race: NZ Road Race Champs (10km), 15 Sep, 33:15 (PB)

          Up next: NZ Road Relays, 5 Oct

          "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

          SteveChCh


          Hot Weather Complainer

            https://www.odt.co.nz/sport/athletics/inkster-baynes-wins-half-marathon-achieve-rare-national-title-double?fbclid=IwAR0qS3fYbIPC4T4AggtW0_14tMpTuFU_RJ7MVffGxrJ7OssVMnvfBhyY30I

             

            Three wrong turns in the national champs.  Overseas readers must think NZ races are amateur hour with incorrect measurements and issues like this.  We do have fast runners though!

             

            Toby Gualter running a 1:09 at 18 in his first race.  Potential star there.

            PB:  Christchurch 2016 1:29.25

            Recent Races:  South Island Half-Marathon 2018 1:32.39 Auckland Waterfront Half-Marathon 2019 1:30.49

            Next Race:  South Island Half-Marathon, August 4, 2019

            dpschumacher


              Amazing race Mark!!!!

              2019 Goal: Run every day

              2019 Goal: Get to 165 lbs

              2019 Goal: Get in shape to be able to run 2 marathons in 2020

              paul2432


                Great race and race report Mark.  It’s a rare thing, but when a race totally comes together like that is truly magical, and what a great place for it.

                 

                My week:

                Monday - 3.5 easy TM

                Tuesday - 6 easy trails

                Wednesday - 3.5 easy TM

                Thursday- rest

                Friday - 6 easy TM

                Saturday - 10 easy roads with some 30 second strides

                Sunday - 8.5 trails, hot, lots of climbing

                 

                Total- 37.5 miles

                 

                Things starting to feel back to normal.

                Marky_Mark_17


                  https://www.odt.co.nz/sport/athletics/inkster-baynes-wins-half-marathon-achieve-rare-national-title-double?fbclid=IwAR0qS3fYbIPC4T4AggtW0_14tMpTuFU_RJ7MVffGxrJ7OssVMnvfBhyY30I

                   

                  Three wrong turns in the national champs.  Overseas readers must think NZ races are amateur hour with incorrect measurements and issues like this.  We do have fast runners though!

                   

                  Toby Gualter running a 1:09 at 18 in his first race.  Potential star there.

                   

                  I see your point, and kind of agree, but the onus is on runners to know the course.  That first turn they missed was an obvious left if they'd checked the course map.  I have no idea how they got two more wrong turns.  The cones and marshalling were pretty good for the rest of the course.

                  5000m: 16:03 (Dec-18) | 5km: 16:24 (Nov-18) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) HM: 1:12:54 (Sep-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

                  Last race: NZ Road Race Champs (10km), 15 Sep, 33:15 (PB)

                  Up next: NZ Road Relays, 5 Oct

                  "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

                    Yeah great race report Mark I could visualize every detail you mentioned, it was quite exciting.

                    You aren't the unknown guy anymore and your competition will be googling you 

                    50+ PBs5k 18:29 Tauranga Parkrun May18   

                    10k 40:16 June 18

                    " I have a plan to make my legs longer by wearing shorter shorts "      

                     

                    SteveChCh


                    Hot Weather Complainer

                       

                      I see your point, and kind of agree, but the onus is on runners to know the course.  That first turn they missed was an obvious left if they'd checked the course map.  I have no idea how they got two more wrong turns.  The cones and marshalling were pretty good for the rest of the course.

                       

                      Not that I would know but surely if you're in first place in the NZ champs you can expect a marshal to direct you

                      PB:  Christchurch 2016 1:29.25

                      Recent Races:  South Island Half-Marathon 2018 1:32.39 Auckland Waterfront Half-Marathon 2019 1:30.49

                      Next Race:  South Island Half-Marathon, August 4, 2019

                      Marky_Mark_17


                         

                        Not that I would know but surely if you're in first place in the NZ champs you can expect a marshal to direct you

                         

                        Fair point, often there would be a lead bike in this situation (for big races like Auckland there's a lead motorbike for both the 1st male and 1st female).  I don't know why there wasn't one here.  The only part of the course that would've been tough for a bike would be the trails through the Gardens, but that was basically a 2km loop that ended pretty close to where it started so the bike could've just waited for them at the bottom.  It was impossible to get lost through there anyway, there were marshalls everywhere.

                         

                        Put it this way, Omaha HM (which I think had like 700 entrants?!) had a lead bike, and the poor guy had to get off his bike and carry it up/down stairs at two points - and he managed fine!

                        5000m: 16:03 (Dec-18) | 5km: 16:24 (Nov-18) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) HM: 1:12:54 (Sep-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

                        Last race: NZ Road Race Champs (10km), 15 Sep, 33:15 (PB)

                        Up next: NZ Road Relays, 5 Oct

                        "CONSISTENCY IS KING"


                        Elite Jogger

                          Marky - That was mega and huge congrats!  I think your strength training background has really helped your progress in not getting injured and you obviously have a lot of natural talent. You’ve been running for less than 7 years which means that you have the joy of looking forward to further improvements! 👍

                          5k - 17:53 (2019)   10k - 37:53 (2018)   Half - 1:23:18 (2019)   Full - 2:50:43 (2019)

                          dpschumacher


                            36:29 chip (36:32 gun) time in the 10k today. Surprise with the half marathon turn around. Guess I need to move my 10 mile goal to sub 60:00 in October.

                             

                            It was a very fast course that was an out and back.  Ran -6:00 min mile pace until turn around point. Tries to hammer it on way back, but did 5:40, 5:50, 5:53 on way back so I started the hammer a little too aggressively. Pushed hard on the last .2 and passed a few guys in the last 50 ft.

                             

                            2nd to last for our track club, but I may actually be some good next year. I was just 10 seconds behind a few guys in the club.

                            2019 Goal: Run every day

                            2019 Goal: Get to 165 lbs

                            2019 Goal: Get in shape to be able to run 2 marathons in 2020

                            Marky_Mark_17


                              DPS - Awesome job on the 10k.  It looked like a good course but I wouldn't underestimate your performance either.  You paced it well and still had enough left that the last km was relatively quick.

                               

                              Mikkey - cheers!  The way training has gone over the last 3 months, I thought I had a good race in me... but not quite that good.  I'm more and more starting to think I need to work on that marathon time of mine, perhaps next year.  I've almost managed to get the Department of Wife over the line on that one too.

                               

                              You'd have to count me as a Vaporfly convert now too.  Like I said in the RR, I don't really like the feel of them but no questioning the result.  One interesting thing is that, normally my calves are pretty trashed after a goal race.  With the VF's, my calves feel totally fine, it's the quads and hamstrings that are really feeling it!

                               

                              Paul - yeah not every race goes like that so you really have to enjoy the ones that do.  Good that the body is starting to feel back to normal.

                               

                              Marco- look forward to hearing how the race went.  41 could still be enough for a sub-1:30 given you've had plenty of marathon training in the legs too.

                               

                              Flavio - nice week and all the best for the mile! I know you've been preparing a lot for this and I'm keen to see how it goes.  Thanks for the heads-up on the World Masters Athletics champs too - I'd heard of them but will have to investigate.

                               

                              Corey - great to see you logging consistent mileage again.

                               

                              Piwi - that was probably fueling.  I used to get that sometimes in evening runs where I hadn't eaten much since lunchtime.

                               

                              Me - forgot to post my week because, you know, long-winded race report.

                               

                              M: 5.5km easy/recovery

                              T: 10.6km w/ a few sprints

                              W: 9.3km easy

                              T: 9km w/ 4x1km (moderate, moderate, mod-hard, hard)

                              F: day off

                              S: 7.5km pre-race usual

                              S: 23.1km incl. Dunedin Half Marathon

                              Total: 64.9km

                              5000m: 16:03 (Dec-18) | 5km: 16:24 (Nov-18) | 10km: 33:15 (Sep-19) HM: 1:12:54 (Sep-19) | FM: 2:57:36 (Oct-17)

                              Last race: NZ Road Race Champs (10km), 15 Sep, 33:15 (PB)

                              Up next: NZ Road Relays, 5 Oct

                              "CONSISTENCY IS KING"

                              flavio1980


                              weight loss complainer

                                Piwi - LOL yeah, it’s been pretty low, but doesn’t the saying go like:

                                The best training is the one that you can do

                                I hope all the strength training I did will pay off, I really need at least 4 or 4 breakthroughs in strength to become an average runner.

                                 

                                Mark - I’m impressed by how well you handle pacing. I’m trying to remember a race where you bonked, apart from the marathon, and I can’t remember any.

                                 

                                Marco - I’m impressed how you can be so fast on the shorter stuff but you don’t do so well on the longer stuff. Maybe you’re a sprinter at heart.

                                That said, hang in there, hopefully that crazy schedule of yours allows you to stay consistent, sub 40 will come.

                                 

                                Dps - huge congrats on the 10k pr, now that HM PR is looking very, very soft 

                                PRs: 1500m 4:54.1 3K 10:34 5K 18:05 HM 1:24:25 - Up next: Chase the HM PR