Monday, 3 October 2011

Galway Bay Half Marathon 1/10/2011

I had originally planned to write this on Saturday after the race, but was feeling bitterly disappointed, groggy and I suspect a bit dehydrated after the race and didn't feel up to much. 

I woke up at about 7:30 am on Saturday, excited that the day had finally come. I had breakfast, yogurt mixed with some muesli, nothing too heavy as I didn't want to be carrying a heavy stomach with me. Was sipping on water as much as I could and headed on into town. 

Pre-race everything was looking good, no niggles, no pains and was feeling good. Got to the start line and was ready to go. We got under way at 11 on the button and up the Grattan Road out onto Salthill,the first thing i noticed was that it was very humid even for October, which i thought was just my mind playing tricks with me (but thankfully verified by another runner later on) and moved along at a nice steady pace trundling along between the 8:35 - 8:40 mark per mile. As we returned from the first loop and passed the 6 mile marker at the 51 minute mark I was thinking at this point that the sub-2 was definitely within reach. 

I went through the 7 mile marker at 1:00:03 and was looking good. But as i approached Blackrock and the hill for the turn to the caravan park again, i started to feel the first serious signs of something not being right. Its hard to explain but my legs were still going and plodding along and when i reached the 11 mile mark at 1:40 my legs just said "enough". At this point I was reduced to a walk for at least a minute to two minutes to try and pull myself together. I went again and attempt to run and made the turn in the park for the small loop and there again i was reduced to a walk -thinking to myself as I saw my sub-2 disappearing from me "f**k it - it's gone". 

I tried to pull myself together and made it on to the Mutton Island causeway and made it down around the turn at the bottom and then again my legs seemed to stop me. Was feeling really dejected at this point and wished for it to be over, the time no longer concerned me. Eventually when I got going again and down the final stretch into South Park (a piece i normally enjoyed) seemed to go on for an eternity as i could hear the announcer calling the runners as they passed over the finish line. 

Eventually i could see the turn and pushed on, apparently according to my better half "looking pretty miserable" coming over the finish line. 2:02:08 was my time, so that explained the look. 

When i eventually got to sit down, i could feel my legs shaking and my head was starting to feel a bit funny. I attempted to pull myself together and get out and get some fresh air - but felt pretty groggy for most the day after. Thankfully its gone now but was a new feeling for me. 

Since then I've had a few days to think about it and have a couple of suspicions as to what happened on the day:     
  • Breakfast, am not sure I had enough, plus it was probably digested after 3 and a 1/2 hours and probably burnt off the remainder midrace - so might have just had nothing left in the tank     
  • Hydration - am not 100% convinced i had taken on enough water the day before and the day of the race.  
Like I said, these are just my suspicions, I don't claim to be an expert. But the one thing I learned on Saturday is "don't disrespect the half marathon" - preparation is everything for a good time, and leave anything to chance you will get caught out.

Location: Galway Bay Half Marathon
Distance: 13.1 miles (21km)
Pace (Avg): 9:19 p/mile
Time: 2:02:08

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