"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Monday, 12 April 2010

Slow-Mag Half Marathon Race Report

This was one of the best races I attended in a long time. Everything was good. The organization, water tables, route and even the weather was great. Someone mentioned a few weeks back that this race always reminds us that summer is over and she was absolutely right. It was overcast with the temperature at 15°C (59F) the whole way. Perfect!

I’ve been recovering from flu and decided to take this run very easy. I wanted to have a comfortable run and still feel comfortable at the finish. I estimated that this would give me a time just below 02:30. As I never look at my watch during a run I was pleased to finish in 02:27:24. Everything was perfect all the time and I ran and finished feeling very comfortable.

There was a huge field as many runners wanted to use the marathon to qualify for this year’s Comrades marathon. Although I was feeling good I was still glad to run one lap only. A second lap would have been difficult.

The route was great and fairly easy. I’ve run this race many times before but the last time was in 2004. The race has always been quite easy with a bit of a sting in the tail over the last 5km. I remember some tough times in the last few kilometers especially on the full marathon. I soon realized the route has changed completely, but wasn’t sure what the finish would be like. I held back a bit for those last few kilometers.

The first 9km were mainly downhill. At 9km we entered a golf estate and ran around the golf course and lakes. This was a very pleasant part of the route. As I entered the estate I looked at some of the front runners exiting at the same entrance. When I reached the exit I realized those runners were already 5.5km ahead of me at that point. In fact, the leader of the full marathon just approached the golf estate for the second time as I went through the exit. I love watching these guys run, so effortless!

I missed the 13km marker along the way so I was happy to see 14km when I expected 13. At 16km I was still feeling great and wondered about the last few kilometers. Will this new route still have a sting in the tail? It turned out not. I was glad about this but could have gone a bit faster if I knew how easy the last 2 – 3km was. I was feeling very good and knew I’m finally over the flu…yeah!

I was stopped for traffic twice in the last 1.5km and this cost me at least a minute. I was very surprised when at the first stop Eric Wright pulled up next to me. He was 2nd in a 10 day circuit race that finished a week ago and ran 815km in the 10 days for his second place. He said he was still a bit tired and was just taking it easy. So was I, but I didn’t run 815km a week ago! Some runners are just incredible.

The first runner in the marathon passed me when I was at 20km and I had about 25m to do when the second marathon athlete finished. Johannesburg is at altitude (2000m / 5661ft) and most marathons are won in about 02:20 here. I finished feeling very good and happy that I achieved exactly what I wanted. All in all a great race with a nice medal and t-shirt.

I’ll be on a business presentations course Tuesday and Wednesday with no time to run so I went for a 15.1km run this morning. I was surprised that I didn’t feel yesterday’s half marathon in my legs at all…nothing! I had a great run this morning! This is very good news for me. I’m slowly getting back into high distance form.


Black Knight said...

Mission accomplished: a comfortable run under the estimated final time. Congrats.
Thanks for the cheers on the Giorgio's running blog.

ajh said...

I have to say I LOVE the t-shirt! Good job!

Julie said...

Hi Johann,
Nice work on your half marathon!! You always end up with the best medals:) I agree with ajh...I love the shirt too!! Enjoy your week Johann!

Running Through Life said...

Glad to hear all went well. Nice shirt and medal.

Christina said...

Nicely done and that is a cool t-shirt.

Giorgio said...

Hi Johann,
I think you made the right choice to run a slower paced run when you are not feeling well!
You got a nice red t-shirt of the Slow-Mag Half Marathon Race. I've seen that the 5th of June the Big Five Marathon is starting in South Africa.
Have a nice training.

misszippy said...

Nice job! I agree, the temperature and course sound nice, and great shirt. And I love when you miss a mile (or k in your case) marker and are happily surprised to find you are farther along than expected.

Sherri said...

That sounds perfect! I hope to be in the kind of shape that even if I am under the weather, I can still run a half marathon. For me right now that would be a 5k! You are an inspiration...and I always enjoy your blog posts! =)
I love that shirt!

ajh said...

They were in Tanzania. THe animals they saw were amazing.It must have been great to see the spotted owl. I love owls but rarely see them. Today the sand was hard!!!