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SMH Half Marathon

I came down with a cold after the HuRTS gate-to-gate session last Thursday so I did nothing Friday/Saturday and tried to get some rest & sleep before the half. A trio of my favourite curries from Surjits on Friday night helped sweat out the bugs and Amanda very kindly gave me a lie-in on Saturday morning. So by Sunday morning I was feeling a lot better but still had low expectations for the race. I wore box-fresh racing flats (Adidas Adizero Adios) which was a gamble but they felt comfortable. Easy Tiger pointed out that I was nuts to race in my usual trainers and he’s right – the difference in weight definitely made a difference.

The race plan was to allow for the inevitable fast 1st km (downhill) and then hold 3:30s for as long as possible. Macca & J-Fen had a similar plan so we hoped to form a bunch and pull each other through. I lined up next to JB and then got squashed back by several rows of poorly seeded slow-starters. John did a good job of fighting his way through  – I tried to follow in his wake but got boxed in and it took a while to find some space. In the midst of the melee I lost sight of J-Fen, and Macca got a sizable gap on me so I just stuck to the plan and focused on staying comfortable. I was relieved to find the cold wasn’t affecting my breathing too much and 2 days rest had given me fresh legs.

I went through 10km in 34:42 feeling good. I traded places with another guy a few times over the second half and we slowly pulled in the group in front as it became harder to maintain pace on the climbs. By 19km I’d caught Macca and a couple of other guys on the downhill to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and went through 20km in 70:29, so 47s slower for the 2nd 10km (I guess this hills count for some of that). I was keeping a bit in reserve for a final sprint to the line when I rounded the last corner and saw they moved the finish line forward! So for the first time in a half-marathon I wasn’t doubled over panting at the finish. Time was 74:33 (25th).

I just scraped into the 3 counters for the HuRT Squad team which won the all male division. Best of all I was a few seconds ahead of Macca, #1 for the Irish in the England-Ireland HuRT Squad challenge! Looking forward to 79 mins and 5 secs of victory drinks and the awarding of the inaugural Churchill/Sands trophy at the Slipp Inn on Friday.

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