Success, after coming so close back in 2016 with a time of 1:30:09 at the Gold Coast I’ve long had the goal of cracking 90mins for the half marathon.
Today that finally happened… 1:29:15 🏃♂️💨
To get there I changed my training regime and worked on becoming more consistent in my training in 2020 by trying to keep a higher base fitness rather than the perpetual event focused build fitness. After my 2021 attempt was delayed due to COVID and then was unlucky with the weather on the day on the rescheduled date I decided that Gold Coast was the place to do it again.
Fast forward to 2022 and after planning to follow the same lead up events that I followed in 2016 I sadly strained my calf in the days leading up to Noosa 10km which meant training had to be creative. That was just 4 weeks ago.
Race week presented a possible weather hurdle with heavy rain forecasted after having clear weather for what seemed a long time.
Today started with an early alarm and a drive down the coast, I aimed to arrive early to secure a Carpark near the race precinct. It was raining 🙄. Great 👍. 4.30am. 90mins till race time. We planned for this, it’s all good, I tell my head. Grabbed the raincoat and hit the portaloos. No queue. Hooray.
Back to the car for a bit more relaxing and people watching.
5.30am start thinking about another portaloo visit (just in case), it’s stopped raining… what the! Get the race shoes out of the boot and lace up. Poncho on and terrible selfie 🤳 and head to the queue. Multiple lines at the loos, which one is the shortest I try and figure out. Make the call and line up.
Waiting waiting waiting, what the hell are people doing. It’s not 9mins from race start and I’m still 500m from the start line. 🤦♂️ Next minute the loo service people push in line and start stocking up the toilets. I’ve never seen a bunch of runners nearly go lynch mob before but I imagine those service workers might have feared for their lives…
4mins to start time. I’m out and start sprinting to the start line, flapping in the breeze with my poncho. No warm up, no drills, no strides, this wasn’t in the plan. Got closer to the start and nearly had to push people out of the way. I spied a gap in the fence, ripped my poncho off and jumped through. Let’s go. Hang on I’m in the under 90min zone, not my start zone, whoops, I’ll take it as an omen. Without warning, 3, 2, 1, Bang. Gun goes and we are off.
Target 4.14-4.15 min/km. First km 4.06min/km. Oops. Cool the jets. Next 2kms 4.10’s. Feeling good. Let’s just keep rolling. Next 4kms 3x4.08’s and a 4.15. 9-12km starting to slow but still on pace. Must be time for a gel. 41:49 for the first 10km and about 50secs banked. Maurten Caffeine Gel had just after half way.
15-19km was just a grind, slight headwind, tried to tuck in behind people but they just weren’t running a good pace for me. Averaged 4.16-4.19’s. Still on target.
Decided to just hold pace till 20km and then give it a final push. 4.19 pace.
Ok last 1.1km let’s push. Around the final corner before hitting the club tents. Keep focused.
Fly past the club tents to a few shout outs and around the corner into the final 250m. Hammer down. Finish line ahead, time clock just clicks over 1:29, I know I’ve done it, just gotta get across the line now. I throw up the arms to celebrate just before the line and cross at 1:29:15. You beauty!! Feeling a touch emotional, not sure if it’s because I’ve finally done it or is it because I’m just completely knackered.
Big thanks for my Coach Luke from Run Strong, the guidance, the adjustments to program and the general wisdom for getting me to the start line fit and ready.
Also to my previous Coach Gemma as well whom I started this #sub90 project back in 2020.
Huge thanks for Paul from Balanced Runner for all the running form advice too.
Big thanks to my clubs Southbank Tri Club and Fortius Running Club and all my training buddies.
And especially massive thanks to my darling Mel who is there as my number 1 supporter and puts up with me getting up early all the time and creating piles of sweaty activewear.
What’s next? Stay tuned…
Simon Brooker is an accredited Multisport and Running Coach based in Brisbane, Australia