I'm doing a double post today as the mantra's for yesterday and today both will relate to this post.
Yesterday's mantra: Don't talk yourself out of it, talk yourself into it.
Today's mantra: Take pride in how far you've come; have faith in how far you can go.
Most of this post will relate to yesterday's events because both mantra's are relating so well to what I did yesterday.
Yesterday started at 4am when I got up and started getting ready to head down to South West Rocks for the Macleay River Marathon where I was taking part in the half marathon (21.1km for those not in the know).
It was pretty cold when I arrived there and it took me a while to locate some people I know that were doing the half, 10k and 5k runs.
The full marathon got on it's way at 7am and my race was to begin at 7.30am. A friend and I did a bit of a warm up (really so I could get rid of my jacket) and then it was on.
I should back up a bit. This was the first time I actually ate more than a banana before a race. You see the half I did back in March (my first) I really felt the lack of energy around the 17k mark and I had only had a banana to eat. Yesterday I had half a bread roll with peanut butter and honey - so I was feeling fuelled.
I promised myself to take it slow on the way out (this race was an out and back - the Port Macquarie half back in March was a 3 lap course - good for spectators but not so good psychologically for the runner) and then put a bit more effort in on the way home.
The start sees a bit of a an uphill followed by a long down hill (and in your head you are thinking, I have to run back up that to finish). Then a flat and a beautiful scenic run along a foot path that goes through some bush and past houses and the beach. I really enjoyed it and it was out of the sun so not too hot.
You then head up another hill, down and then out along the main street into South West Rocks, past the shopping centre and out into the "farm" bit. Not many spectators but one or two people that gave everyone a "pat on the back" as you passed them.
I was feeling really good on the way out. However, the turnaround seemed to take for ever. I had looked at the map and did a street view of the route the night before, but I think the turn around was a bit further out than marked on the map. There were 4 drink stations out and the same 4 back - I took a drink at every second one - actually there must have been more than 4. Anyway, I had about 3 drinks as well as what I was carrying myself - I don't like to drink too much because I get stitch.
So I was a bit put out by how far the turn around point was - bit stupid but I think once you head back you think you are on the home stretch even if you have another 10.55k to go. The other thing that can play on your mind is the fact you have run over a few hills and you know you have to run over them on the way back!
Heading back was where I noted that the hill repeats I had been doing with the running girls leading up to this event really paid off. It was here that I over took the odd runner or two and I almost felt like turning to them and saying "you should've done more hill repeats!!" But instead I said "going great!"
Around the 16-17k mark I hit the point where I think I should stop and walk (which to me makes it a bit harder to keep going which is why I don't stop for drinks too often - but perhaps I need to practice the stop to walk and start again). And here is where mantra one kicks in: Don't talk yourself out of it, talk yourself into it. So I do just that. I look at my Garmin GPS Running Watch and see that really there is just over 4k to go and think about how far 4k is using visuals from my runs around home - well you know that is only from the soccer field to the surf club etc. Then I look at my other wrist that has Miss A's loom band bracelet she made for me the day before for me to wear during the race so I could think of her cheering me on from home - and it gave me a boost. I can do this. 4k is nothing!!
So I continue - by this time my legs become separated from me and just go on auto pilot - it's really your head that plays games with you. I knew the end would be tough with the uphill finish but I also knew that I had done harder hills many times over in my training. Piece of piss as we boot camp girls say!
And the hill came and I overtook another person on the hill and powered away. And you know what, that hill wasn't really that bad. I would say the surf club hill that I do hill repeats on is way worse. While this hill does carry on for a while, it does flatten out a little so it's not effort all the way. That said, I knew the end was 1k away so effort kicked in. I could hear the run caller announcing other runners crossing the line and I wanted that strong finish.
So down the hill and across the finish line - I didn't throw my arms up (no finish line photographer you see) but I powered across that line so strong that I almost missed taking my finishers medal from the ladies waiting to hand them out. Yes I had done it - quick turn off the Garmin to note your time!! Garmin off and it tells me I've broken a record - YES!! I took 3 minutes off my first half marathon time!!! Second mantra breaks in: take pride in how far you've come; have faith in how far you can go.
I am always guilty of playing down my achievements as I do not want to come across as a show off. But I have to admit, while I didn't want to think about times leading into this run, I secretly was hoping I could break the 1hr 53min I did at Port. And I did - 1hr 50mins!!
The final stats: 78th out of 159 finishers, 22nd out of 65 female finishers and 8th out of 17 females in my age category 30-39.
My next run is the Urunga Little Athletics Fun Run on Sunday 22 June and will be a 10km. Then it will be my race of the year the Ipswich Park2Park half marathon on Sunday 27 July. This one is special for me because it is in my home town and I think it will be a very challenging run. It is basically up hill and down hill, up hill and down hill with maybe one flat bit with 4 laps.
As mentioned before the Port run was laps and the run yesterday was out and back. I really think that psychologically the Port run was harder because of the laps - it was great for spectators who could stay in one spot and see you a few times but for the runner, it was an endless race. Ipswich will be hard but good because I hope to have lots of family and friends there to cheer me on.
Have faith in how far you can go!