I registered for the Gold Coast half marathon with a bit confidence after running 1.25 at the SMH half marathon. After a slightly sporadic month of training in June, I arrived at the start line happy to just do whatever I could on the day.
I travelled with two friends, Kate and Tony, and we arrived on Friday night with time to get dinner and have drinks, before an early start on Saturday for the 10km event. Even though we were up early, Kate and I relaxed while Tony ran his first 10km in a year, but by 4am on Sunday morning it was our turn. Despite some issues with the transport, we made it to the start line with a bit of time to spare.
My plan was to start at 3.55 pace, and make sure I didn’t get caught up in the fast course and go out too hard. It worked well for the first few kilometres, before I started to notice I was running a little bit faster than I had planned. I was caught in between feeling really good, and wanting to conserve energy, but as the kilometres ticked over and I found myself enjoying the pace I decided to go for it and see what I could do.
My favourite part of out and back courses is that you get to see people during the run. At about 12km, I saw Kate, and while I was feeling good, it was her acrobatic cheering that got a smile out of me. Not long later, I saw another friend, whole told me I was around 20th female.
Heading in to the last third of the race, I heard two guys chatting away behind me. They came up next to me at about the 15km mark, and a quick glance at my watch showing 3.56 pace convinced me that I was slowing down. Looking at my splits after the run suggest I may not have been, a good reminder that a single moment on your garmin might not reflect your overall pace! It worked to my advantage though, because I decided I needed to stick with them to avoid slowing down.
Leading up to the 16km mark, one dropped off and the other, realising I was trying to keep up with them, started to chat and offer a bit of encouragement. With about 4km to go, I was working hard to keep up with him, and it made sense why when I went through the 19th km not far off my 5km pace! Being ahead of the 1.24 pacer, I knew if I could hang on I would run a PB.
At 20km, the guy I was running with disappeared off to the side. It turned out he wasn’t even officially in the race! I briefly realised I wouldn’t be able to say thank you since he wouldn’t be at the end, then turned my focus back to the long stretch of road ahead to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 1.22.13 and 19th female, taking almost 3 minutes off my time from SMH.
The funniest part of the day came after Kate had finished (in PB time as well!), and I said how much I wanted to go in the spa back at the hotel. Tony pointed out that cold water was probably better, and to highlight the point we noticed groups of people standing in the water next to the finish area. After laughing over how funny it was, we decided to join them! I think my legs definitely appreciated it.
I enjoyed this event and the fast course is a definite plus. Gold Coast marathon might be on the cards in the future!