race day: danesfort half marathon

BVSC crew post-suffering at Danesfort

A rather relaxed approach to race day for a change, as all roads led to Kilkenny for the JJ Reddy Danesfort Half Marathon. Start time for the race was 1200h so I could even enjoy a longer rest in bed – lazy! It was a long week this week. I would have 70+ miles completed by the time the race finished. Knowing this, I made the decision last week that to not ‘race’ Danesfort. Instead I would try to run a sub marathon pace time that would have been a PB one month ago. 1:35:00 was the goal.

breakdown

The first thing I have to confess is that I did not do my homework. No, not at all. I knew Danesfort was a hilly route but hills normally don’t bother me. I saw a rough elevation chart with just 4 climbs and thought that’s ok. What I didn’t pay attention to was that between the primary climbs was a quick drop and then more climbing. I also didn’t pay attention to the fact that the worst of the climbs were part of a 2-lap loop for the race. When did I realise this? Oh, that would have been when I passed the marker for mile-3 and saw that it was also mile-10!

“Enough moaning”, I said to myself, “you’re here to get one job done – nail that 1:35:00”. I’d like to say that I settled into a happy pace and skipped through the miles but that was not the case. I found myself working hard from about mile-5 onwards. Suddenly my prescribed 7:15/mile pace target that I had let my Clonmel Half PB-fuelled ego convince me was going to be reasonably ok, seemed like a real challenge. Race day became race day again – this was no steady state run.

analysis

For the race day that wasn’t I didn’t expect to come home with a zone chart like that below. The hills however… “fail to prepare” and all that. Despite running well and having secured a significant PB in Clonmel a few weeks back, 7:15/mile was not a comfortable pace for this route. I would have known that had I been more diligent in my preparation. Instead, I was cavalier and negligent.

from not a race day to mayday mayday – lesson learned in goal preparation
from not a race day to mayday mayday – lesson learned in goal preparation

While not the lesser effort I had hoped for, I was happy with how I dug in and stuck to my goal. Pacing throughout the run was reasonably consistent until the hills really took their toll.

7:15/mile was the race day target pace, miles 12 and 7 were off the boil
7:15/mile was the race day target pace, miles 12 and 7 were off the boil

I didn’t use the chest strap for the race so my wrist-based heart rate may not be as accurate as it could have been. However, the sensor appears to have worked based on the appearance of the chart. A steady increase in heart rate throughout the run with some ghastly peaks on the hills in the latter half.

a reasonable average but some terrible peaks but that Performance Condition chart!
a reasonable average but some terrible peaks but that Performance Condition chart!

reflection

1:35:00 was the goal. 1:35:05 was the official time with a slight suspicion of the course being a fraction short (or measured by somebody with a Polar watch! 😉). However, that’s of little consequence. I suffered greatly in my failure to prepare properly and should perhaps have run this at 1:40 pace or 7:37/mile. I dug in and got the job done though, on very tired legs, after a big week. Physically I’m tired. Mentally I’m stronger for knowing I did this. The most boring marathon ever is coming!

we just want to cash the cheque not buy a lottery ticket

I don’t normally pay much attention to cadence in my analysis but I think that the resultant chart from this race is worth having a look at for comedic value.

it's like I painted the entire chart with a wide brush!
it’s like I painted the entire chart with a wide brush!

A nice medal, a fantastic goodie bag, a credit to the race organisers on a perfectly run event. Now, thank god it’s time for a rest day or two!

job done: got the medal and the time but at a much higher price than expected
job done: got the medal and the time but at a much higher price than expected

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