I’m excited to have a race report to write after a couple of months of training through winter and no racing. In hindsight, I should have had a training break after my last ultra (back in March) but with such high levels of motivation, I didn’t feel like I needed one. I’ve been at marathon level fitness, albeit varying degrees for nearly two years without having a decent amount of time off, I didn’t really think I needed it, until recently.
Training in winter
Training through winter this year has been hard and used every ounce of my motivation and dedication. Getting up at 5-6am most days to run in the cold and dark with a head torch really put me to the test! About 6 weeks ago my training load went up and it was a tough few weeks adjusting to running 50-60km per week plus strength training and cross-training sessions in the mix as well.
I’ve had some massive run sessions in the past two months to prepare myself for my first 80km race which is now two weeks away, this included a minimum of 20-30km every weekend and three runs of 4-6 hours, which take a huge amount out of me for the following week.
The racing is what I love, and I’m still learning that I can’t train and be good at every distance and at every event, but that doesn’t stop me from stubbornly trying.
Needing something to look forward to and to snap me out of the dark winter training I entered a couple of events. One was the South Island Half Marathon (21km) and the other a short race 10km (which I didn’t end up doing).
South Island Half Marathon
The South Island Half Marathon took place at Lake Hood in Ashburton, close to Christchurch. The course was three 7km laps around the lake.
The plan was to pace at 4.45min/km for the first half and drop down, if I could at the half-way point and hopefully run sub 1hr 40mins.
That’s not what I did at all (lol) I got excited and ran the first 7km between 4.15 and 4.30, running one of my fastest 5km times ever (not a great idea for a 21km race). Having not raced in a while, I guess I thought I might be fitter than what I was (even though I’ve been training for endurance not speed). All runners are hopeful they will be able to hold a faster-than-fitness pace. Anyway, I got to 7km with WAY to much fatigue in my legs and a through the roof heart rate.
I spent the next two laps (14km) trying to run through fatigue and keep my average pace down, it was horrendously painful, and I’m lucky I’ve been focusing a lot on mental toughness as I was able to push through the pain – probably more than I normally would. I averaged 4.45min/km anyway so should have just paced this from the start! Hard lesson learnt.
I finished in 1hr 40min and 20secs, 20secs over my goal time. Although this was my second fastest half marathon time, I didn’t get a huge amount of satisfaction out of it. I finished the 10th woman and 8th in my age group. Having completed a 6 hour (56km) training run the weekend before, I knew I would struggle to smash out a PB, the coach didn’t really want me to do this race, but I entered it while she was on holiday (haha). So all things considered it wasn’t too bad!
The problem with racing all the time is I’m either tapering before the event and then recovering after, so there’s no solid training time. Then the other way around when you train lots, you can’t race at your best as you are too over-trained or have too much fatigue in your body. So in summary, I probably didn’t need to do this race as it wasn’t what I have been training for.
Shoutout to my friend Kate Peddie who also completed the half – she tells me she would like to do an ultra-marathon as well YAY!
I’m super pumped for my next ultra in two weeks time, and then as reference to what I mentioned above, I’m taking a small, I feel well deserved break!