Monday, April 15, 2013

Fitness Fridays (on a Monday) - Bunbury Three Waters Half Marathon

In the very rough system that drives my Fitness Friday posts, I would have posted on a fitness-themed topic last Friday. However, as those of you who follow me on facebook may have seen, yesterday was the Bunbury Three Waters Half Marathon. I have been training for the event since the start of the year, and my superstitious self didn't have the confidence to post about it two days ahead of time. I also couldn't bring myself to do a fitness post on something else as, frankly, everything else seemed trivial last Friday.

And so, we have a post today instead.

Finish line from afar (courtesy of Mr Bite)

I first mentioned this half marathon when I did my post on 2013 goals. In 2012, I'd hedged my bets, setting a goal of doing a half marathon (21.1km) or a shorter distance. Coming out of injuries in early 2012, I went for the shorter distance, a 14km fun run. This year, there was no hedging! I signed up for this race way back in November last year, giving myself lots of time to prepare.

I spoke about my preparation and training plan in my last Fitness Friday post, so I won't reiterate it here. The key aspects are that I built my long runs up over a period of about 4 months, and the longest distances I did ahead of yesterday were 18km and 18.5km.

Packing essentials: Black strap molasses (I eat it before long runs), dates (I eat them during long runs),
Nuun electrolyte tablets (two tubes, just in case!), and my running water bottle.

After four months of working towards the 21.1km, I was feeling prepared for the run. Or at least, I was feeling prepared up until the middle of last week, when I started to doubt my capabilities. Those doubts peaked on Saturday and I had some rather intense periods of nervousness during that day. I also dreamed about missing the start on Saturday night, so I would say my nerves continued right up until Sunday morning!

Fortunately, on Sunday morning I did feel ready. I wanted to run it. The weather was cool at the start (about 16'C). I wasn't nursing any injuries. The course was brilliant for a first half marathon, being mostly flat and incorporating three distinct 'sections', which broke the distance down mentally. The course is also an attractive one, being almost entirely alongside water, generating the Three Waters name. The panorama photos below pretty much show the length of the course, starting in the far left of the top photo, wrapping around to the far right of the last photo. The course then loops around, covering some of the same paths and some new ones, to return and finish at the start.





I have a tendency to go out too fast in organised running events, swept along by the atmosphere and enthusiasm. Knowing that tendency, I tried to moderate my pace through the first sections, but still ran a faster first half than second half overall. Given I finished in a time that matches my training pace, I'm wasn't too concerned in the end, but I would like to master a negative split (faster second half than first half) one day.

As it was, my first 14km felt really good. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the course, found a semi-regular rhythm (I was still trying to moderate my speed, but otherwise it was fine), and felt strong. The stretch from 14km to 18-19km was harder, but still manageable. It matched how I've felt in training runs. The last 2-3km were, however, extremely tough! I was hot, I felt like my legs were made of lead, and if there had been a steep hill in the final stretches I suspect I would have slowed to walking pace. Luckily the only hill was a small one and I reached the finish line in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 51 seconds. That equates to an average pace of 10.05 km / hour (5.58 minutes / km), or 6.24 miles / hour (9.36 minutes / mile). Not fast, but spot on what I've been training at.

Various stretches of the course (taken ahead of time except for the finish line.)

Whilst the weekend was mostly about the race, we also incorporated other things into the trip. Bunbury is 2 hours south of Perth, so we elected to drive down on Saturday and have the night there, returning home yesterday.

On the trip down, we stopped for a picnic lunch at Pinjarra, finding an interesting couch nestled between the Murray river and a playground. It reminds me (on a much smaller scale) of the Victorian playground furniture Johanna posted about on Saturday.


After arriving in Bunbury, we collected my race pack and examined various stretches of the course, before climbing the tower that afforded the panoramic photos above, and making the most of dusk lighting on Bunbury's beaches.


They call it magical lighting for a reason. I also snapped photos of Mr Bite grimacing at the cold water, and chatting to a friendly dog, but in the interests of his privacy I'm leaving them off!

In all, it was quite a milestone of a weekend. I still can't quite grasp that I have really and truly run a half marathon, but am so glad I did it and that I've built running into my life. I don't yet have the urge to do a full marathon (quite the opposite actually, after finding the half distance long enough) but would like to break a 2 hour time for this distance eventually.

Have there been things (athletic or non-athletic) you've done that have surprised you?
Or do you have any half marathon stories of your own to share?

34 comments:

  1. You're insane.... ;-) BUT AWESOME!!!! Good on you! :-)

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  2. That's absolutely amazing, seriously well done!! I've only ever done a 10k and it practically killed me, so well done for doing so well with yours!!

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    Replies
    1. I used to imagine running 10km would be impossible so it goes to show what time and slow training can do! Thank you :)

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  3. I am so impressed but I'll watch from afar. I need to be able to walk to the corner first. :)

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    Replies
    1. Teehee...there were plenty of others watching from afar on the day, so you'd have good company (Mr B among them!).

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  4. Wow, well done you! Congratulations on making it through your milestone, and with no major mishaps, and on target for your pace overall! Are you taking a few days off, or is it straight back into running?

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    Replies
    1. I didn't do much today! I would usually run tomorrow but think I'll do something less intense...which means my next run will probably be Thursday :) I had thought to take a week off but actually feel okay and I think a few days of low intensity activity will see me back in the swing of things. I don't have any more long runs of the 15km+ distance planned though!

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  5. Congratulations on the successful run! It's great to hear that everything went smoothly and that you were satisfied with your time.

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  6. Way to go, Kari!! So proud of you!! What a huge accomplishment!! I've never run a marathon, but I hope to someday. RIght now, I'm trying my hardest to stay away from cardio training. So far my body's been very happy resting ;). Hope you continue to get plenty of rest! I love how supportive Mr. Bite is, and I'm glad that you guys enjoyed a lil' getaway!

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    Replies
    1. Resting is definitely important too :-) The marathon will be there waiting for you when you're ready for it! And thank you xo

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  7. Well done Kari - just completing a half marathon is a real achievement - it doesn't really matter what time you do.

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  8. Congratulations Kari!!!!! I am so proud of you!!!!!! :-)

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    1. I thought of you on the day, with your amazing times :-) I still have no idea how you do it but can now agree that the half marathon is a great distance!

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  9. congratulations on the marathon again - I was very excited for you to see it on facebook (I am still keeping my "friends" to family at the moment so don't use it too much but it is good to be able to follow blogs like yours). And I was also excited to see that couch by the playground - wish there were more about - they have a lovely surreal quality to them.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Johanna, and for your comment on facebook. I completely understand about keeping 'friends' to family too - that is a sensible way to manage what can otherwise blow out very quickly. And I was really delighted to see your post on a whole park of furniture after our one chair, I'm now wondering how many more pieces are around!

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  10. Girl, you TOTALLY ROCKED the race!! That's so awesome!! And wouldn't we all like to master the negative split...someday...

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    Replies
    1. Ah yes...it seems so elusive! Thank you :)

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  11. Wow so amazing!! Great accomplishment!

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  12. Congratulations! But please, after the events of today, and although I know it's irrational, I would like for you and all of my other marathon-running friends to not run marathons ever again. Let's just have dance parties in our houses together, okay? x

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    Replies
    1. Somehow it hits home even more after being at a (small scale) running event so recently. My heart hurts. I don't understand the world. Dance parties do indeed sound safer.

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  13. Great job, very impressive! Does Mr. Bite ever join you on your runs?

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    Replies
    1. I laughed a little at your question, which may give you your answer ;) Not at this stage! But he did get to the finish line with 15 minutes to spare in order to welcome me, so I'm happy with the arrangement :)

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