Sunday, July 13, 2008


North Shore City Half Marathon (Run Auckland Race 6) - DONE!

First things first totally wrapped to have snuck under 1:40:00 on my first half marathon. The course kicked my ass a bit near the end though. Pleased to beat the running calculator prediction of 1:39:39 by a good margin.

The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. and there was the biggest turnout I had seen all season. I think the sheer numbers overwhelmed the organisers a bit - the actual start was probably closer to 7:45 and the drink stations were a bit random (only went through 2).

The actual start was a bit sudden didn't see a countdown we were all just off.

The course itself was great - pretty tough - and was an interesting mix. Some roads, some sand, some grass. Running on sand is pretty tough.

0-7km: This was essentially flat around suburban streets a loop around Lake Pupuke but I never got to see the lake! Lots of people running in this section it reminded me a lot of the volume at the Auckland Quarter Marathon 2007. I overtook a reasonable number of people at this phase having started slowish due to congestion and settled into what "felt" like 4:30 min/km pace. I'm coming off a cold from last week (no pushups or running) so that feeling may have been a bit out.

7-14km: This took in a roughly 1km stretch along Takapuna beach running on the sand. I found the sand quite tough to run. Around 10km I was being tailed quite close by another runner. Not sure if he was trying to slip stream or what. Round the 10km mark we struck up a bit of a conversation - he reckoned we were on time for a 1:40 and hoped he didn't mind using me as a pacer! Apparently I was looking "quite comfortable" - ha thats probably because doing 14km is a distance I had done a fair amount of training runs at. The hard yards were yet to come.

Figured since we could talk just a little it was about right. The hill at North head was tough though. North head is a pretty interesting place in its own right - there are tunnels and a Cannon or two from World War 2 when the country was worried about invasion by the Japanese. Absolutely brilliant view.

The far point of the run skirted this cannon.

14km-21km: Back down North-head and the way we came. Business time. 17 through 20 were pretty slow on the uphills and flats. Cardio wasn't too bad what was starting to tell were tired legs and calves. My pacer friend started to break away at around 19.5km but I didn't have that much gas left to stay with them.

20 to 21km was back along Takapuna beach (damn sand again!) and the finish. Got passed by 3 people on the beach which in hindsight wasn't as bad as it could be. The last 100m was on grass and down the chute. After the sand I felt I finished relatively strong - noticed a camera set up but I think that photo is going to be a shocker! Still will post the moment of glory if I can get a copy.

It felt really great to have finished the distance.

Got a handshake and pat on the back from the pacer - turns out he came in around 30s ahead of me. It was quite good having some company on the run in the middle to end stages.

A lesson I'll take away from today is to be better prepared for the last 2-3 tough kms. Part of this is experience and having my body now know what the distance is like.

Now for a few days off and then back into it. Finishing a half was a fitness goal for me at the start of the year. Have to reassess where to from here. A full marathon one day might be a long-term plan but more short-term I'm thinking another half towards the end of the year might be something. Now I have a target time to beat...


carla said...

wow smart lifegoal and lifegoal.

impressive that you finished and did so well.
SMART youre taking time off!

my lifegoal is to do a half!

my *lifegoal* is to make it to where you reside :)


Andrew(ajh) said...

Excellent effort Aaron - that is a great time for your first half! Well done - you deserve that rest!

Andrew is getting fit said...

I forgot that it was your first half marathon. That's a damn impressive time. Well done.

Running up North Head - I'm glad I missed that bit!

And I'm really glad I wasn't the only one who thought running on the beach was tough!

See you at the Auckland Marathon!

Bruce said...

Well done on Sunday. For a first timer that was a fast time time.