I should have known it was going to be a tough day when I woke up with a headache, and feeling decidedly under par – knowing I had to run the Twilight half marathon at 5pm later in the day. I hadn’t been too well in the week leading up to the race and hadn’t run all week so I knew I was going to face a battle on the road – but I wanted to do the race!
I have been training for the past few months with my friend Sam (and a couple of times Penny) and I was excited about the race, and being a member of Intraining I felt it was almost a right of passage to have to run it, and the lovely running vest you get for entering was an extra incentive!
I don’t tend to enter races in summer as I am not too good with the heat but I figured a race that started at 5pm at night would be a good option. It did get rained off last year but the weather forecast was good. Sam picked me up and we drove to St Lucia to the Uni and I did my usual two trips to the toilet before the race (it’s a ritual! can’t not!).
We stood in the line up both quite nervous and I intended to just run at an easy pace and run the race – not going for a time considering the last week and being ill. There was a sea of Twilight tops as well as Intraining, Springfield Runners and others that I didn’t recognise. Everyone was excited and pumped for the race to start and busy chatting, nervously glancing at their watches. The 10k and the half started at the same time so I had to make sure I didn’t get pulled along with those 10k runners running fast race!
We started running and there was a bit of a scrum so Sam and I got slightly separated but weren’t too far apart, and I relaxed into the steady pace and tuned into my music, and started the race.
Sam had mentioned to watch out for the hills and we went up one slight incline and I thought – wow was that it….no alas it was not! We went down the hill we were to later come up and it was a fairly steep incline. I don’t think that would have been an issue had we not had to do two laps of the course as the first time I ran up it I didn’t feel too bad.
Most of the route was flat and I haven’t run around St Lucia much before so it was nice to see a new area. The km points were well placed and I was feeling quite good watching each km go past. Seeing the front runners fly by was incredible – I was one side and they were flying back the other way – it amazes me that pretty much they were running twice the speed that I was running.
I found with it being two loops my brain started to play mind games on me and when we got back to the start which was where the 10k runners turned off to finish that was when it started…. my body suddenly wanted to slow down and finish and I took a gel to pump me up a bit and pushed myself to push on and then started counting down. I had seen my Intraining coach Paula and knew she would be at the 16/17k ish mark second time round so I started counting down and telling myself once I saw her I only had 4-5km left.
It was dark by this point and there wasn’t much lighting but thankfully there were a few people in front of me and a couple behind so I didn’t feel alone, and I just kept pushing towards that 16/17 mark. By the time I got there I was tired and I think I managed a quick look up to Paula and then it was head down push on to finish.
Coming in to Finish
That last 4k seemed to go on forever but I was determined not to stop and just keep pushing. I didn’t take on much water in the race as I noticed there were only one lot of toilets that I had spotted anyway.
I think I must have started my watch slightly early as it was ahead of the km signs in the race each time so I felt psychologically like I was having to run further each time even though that wasn’t the case. I had 1km left and I started to try and pick up the pace, and at about 500m left I felt a hand on my shoulder – there was Sam just when I needed her!! We pushed and ran together and then I saw the finish line and sprinted.
It’s funny that I was exhausted yet I had the energy to sprint finish!
I staggered over the line and there was Margot Manning – one of the owners of Intraining and she had a microphone in her hand. Sam took off and I stood there wobbling all over the place whilst she asked me a couple of questions. I can’t 100% remember what she asked me – I think it was something about how was the race – and I remember saying something like ‘It was hot and it was hard!’ not quite sure if that was the answer she was looking for but at that point I was willing my body not to throw up by her feet – I’m very glad I didn’t!
I got home and was sick! I think I had used every last ounce of energy and my body melted down. I literally had a shower, half a bagel, a gulp of water and was back to the toilet and then straight to bed! So I know I worked as hard as I could!
The race in my opinion was really well organised. Maybe a few more toilets on the course but it is tricky when it goes along residential areas. The running vests are great compared to some I have had in the past and it was a lovely atmosphere of supportive runners and spectators.
I think if I was to do it again I might do the 10k as the half in summer was a bit too much for me! When the sun went down I did cool down but I don’t think I will ever get used to the Queensland heat!