*Edit* For official results and race pic - taken from here
As I didn't want to aggravate the knee pains that have been nagging me for the past few weeks, I did NO RUNNING in the week up to this Perth Half Marathon... been just swimming everyday, clocking about 3000m to 3500m in each 1 hour session.
I also decided to wear the 2XU compression leggings so that not to leave my knee exposed. It was probably a good decision too, as the weather conditions on race day was just HORRENDOUS! Showers came and went, with some pretty strong winds.
I arrived at WA Marathon Clubrooms in Burswood at 7.30am for 8am start. Gobbled down a Powerbar Performance bar with a bottle of Powerade. I did some warm up runs around the compound for about 12 minutes, couldn't run outside as it was already pouring. I met a guy who I used to see running around my area and gave him a smile (from hereon, shall be called Smiley Guy).
5 minutes to 8am, the crowd were slowly inching towards the start, but not many wanted to leave the shade. I wanted to move as close to the start because from memory, the electronic timing doesn't take into account the time you take from the line up to the starting point (yes, I am an accuracy-freak... even seconds count!).
Gun-off... and I find myself dashing along with the front runners. It wasn't long until I realised that I have forgotten something... yes, I left my Powergel belt in my bag! Oh well, another thing to experiment... as it was a cool, wet weather, I supposed I won't be needing much electrolytes.
Reached the 1st km marker at 4:10! But from memory, I recall the first two markers were slightly shorter. I kept the same pace as it was fairly comfortable. Reached the 2nd one at 4:15. The course route was covered with puddles of water. We had to do a bit of manoeuvering. We were mainly running on bike paths too, so they were a bit slippery.
I maintained about a 4:20-4:25 per km pace. It was somewhere around the 5th km where I felt some slight soreness around my left toes. Might be the wet socks. I tried to ignore it but it did affect my pace a bit. And it didn't help that we had to do a bit of uphill when we crossed the Narrows Bridge. I slowed down to a 4:30 per km pace.
After we crossed the bridge, we were practically just next to Mounts Bay road, with the Swan River on our left. The cars passing by us weren't very courteous. They splashed water at us as they zoomed past. Managed to see two dolphins swimming in the river though.
Running up to the turnaround point at Hackett Drive, UWA... the top runners were making their way back. I would say I was about 4kms away from them. Smiley Guy was not too far from the front pack. I didn't know he could run so fast!
Reached the turnaround point, they were giving out Carboshotz gel. Well, this was an experimental race all the way, so I just grabbed one in case I needed it. As it was a wet day, I didn't feel the need to stop at any of the water stations. I don't normally drink during my usual 20km run anyway.
The soreness from my left toes were going away, I managed to bring my pace back to 4:20-4:25 per km again. Passing halfway points are great... you know that you are less than half way from the finishing, so you pick up the pace! I was sitting behind a guy and a girl running together. I overtook them but wasn't fast enough, so they overtook me back. The girl actually chided me for not picking up the pace after overtaking... sorry!
But having them as my barricade against the strong wind for a while, I found the strength to overtake them once more and picked up the pace... no looking back! At the 16km mark, I was just under 1:10. I did some rough calculations... if I could do the next 5.1km in 22 minutes, I would actually finish in sub 1:32 (originally targeted 1:33.30)!
But the last few kms went through some strong headwinds. I hovered around the 4:25 pace. I was still holding onto the Carboshotz gel. Was contemplating downing it but I don't think there were any more water stations on the way, for me to wash it down. So I decided against it.
Sighting the 20km mark was like almost heaven... reaching the 21km WAS HEAVEN! Only 100m left to go, sprinted with whatever strength I had left... reached the finishing at 1:32.12 (average 4:22 per km)... so close to a sub 1:32... but it is an improvement of 4 minutes from last year's race, so I am pretty happy!
Here are my splits and lap times.
5km 0:21.37 21.37
10km 0:43.36 21.59
15km 1:05.30 21.54
20km 1:27.24 21.54
Positioned 79 out of 647 runners. For full results, see here.
I was all drenched. Slip-slopping around in my wet shoes. I didn't see a photographer at the finishing chute like last year... I guessed he/she didn't want to be in the rain either.
While waiting for the prize presentation, I did my stretches and got changed into my tracksuit. I soon caught up with Smiley Guy to have a chat. His name is Gavin and he does intervals training with the WA Marathon Club once a week. On other days, he runs on his own.
There was a 5km event also. Apparently, the overall winner broke the course record... 15:04! Maybe this sort of weather is pretty conducive after all.
The overall winner for the half marathon is a top athlete but he actually competes in 5-10km runs. So this is actually his first 21.1km... and he did it in 1:12!
Didn't win any lucky draws this time... some of the prizes were Suunto heart rate monitors, Ryders eyewear and Brooks running shoes. Well, maybe next time.
I drove home after that in the pouring rain... looking forward to the Perth Marathon in 3 weeks time.
I think it is time I pay my entry fee for Ironman Langkawi :)