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SMH Half – Race Report

On Sunday I ran the SMH Half Marathon. I do like a half marathon. I really do! I had a number of challenges before, during and after the race. As always, there were some happy moments and lessons learned too.

Challenge! Waking up was a challenge. I got myself to bed early, and then I woke up at 12:30, 3:30 and finally 5am. Each time thinking “ok, gotta get up and get to the train!”. I did make it to the train with plenty of time to spare, feeling pretty awesome since I ran there.

Lesson Learned! I travelled very light – just a running bumbag and what I wore during the race. This was shorts, running sleeves, short sleeve tshirt and a small drink bottle. Also on board – keys, phone, headphones, emergency decorum, Opal card, race nutrition and breakfast (aka homemade protein balls). This worked really, really well for me. No bag drop to worry about.

Happy moment! This run was a bit interesting for a few reasons. Its a bit of a smaller, runners’ run than other Sydney events like the City2Surf. I met a couple of cool runners at the start line – I imposed on their conversation after I heard one of them mentioning Glow Worm, and we chatted about various running events around the place.

Spotted! Any race attracts awesome people. This one had a few.

  • There was the power-walking granny who was dressed head-to-to in black lycra and holding…a banana.
  • A victorian gentleman athlete – complete with waxed moustache and straw boater hat.
  • A lone wheelchair chicky wearing a t-shirt inviting “push with me”. I passed her going up a hill, and then was almost run over by her zooming down the other side. She easily wins my “coolest half marathoner ever” trophy.

Urg moment! The SMH Half race course is like a winding snake. I think I was at about the 4 or 5km mark when I started applauding the leader running in the opposite direction. At this point, the leader was 46 minutes into his race and would be running for another 17 before winning the whole thing in only 63 minutes. My last 10km was 62 minutes!! So the point is that I saw the “head” of the snake early in my race. Since I was at the snake’s bum, from then every corner felt like it must be the one where we turn around and go home. But of course it wasn’t. At the very end when my hip flexors had gone on strike, the race detours past the finish line not once, but TWICE. Its cruel.

Happy moment! I managed to bump into a friend from work who was also running the half. Out of 12000 runners, its kinda cool that our paths crossed.

Creepy moment! Feeling social, I spotted a woman who am am SURE I recognised and decided to introduce myself. “Hi don’t I recognise you from xxx run?” No, and no to the 4 other places I felt I might have seen her. Sorry lady – have a good race!

Lesson Learned! This was the first race I used race nutrition. I bought a bunch of GU gels at the race expo 2 days before (and slurped one for a snack to test out it wasn’t going to make me sick). It worked pretty well. They are light to carry and did pick me up at the right times. A GU is no substitute for breakfast though.

 

Despite being under-trained and slightly injured, I had a great time out there. I do love a half marathon. There is an easy atmosphere about it. Runners know its going to be tough. They know they have to take it slow from the start and that finishing is winning. There is a sense of community about it that is different from other races. Unlike the City2Surf, we don’t have Sydney turn out en masse to cheer us on, but we still get out there at 7am to run 21km without the accolades. Its the love of running. The love of distance. The love of pushing just a bit further and just a bit longer.

…and the feeling that you deserve a chocolate laksa afterward.

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