A few weeks ago I ran in the Great Barrier Reef half marathon in Port Douglas. I've done a few half marathons before but only as 'fun runs' where I didn't train and just ran a bit walked a bit.
This time I wanted to train and be able to run the whole way.
It was early November and very hot and humid - even at the start time of 6.30 am.
The run started with around 5 km along the beach - good hard sand and a beautiful setting. The course then turned in through the houses and out onto the main road out of town. Under a bridge and onto a track through the cane fields and back out onto a small road to the halfway turnaround point.
Coming back the same way along the track to the main road into town, which we then followed alongside basically all the way back and finished by the beach again.
I was so pleased that I managed to run the whole way which was my goal. The last couple of kilometres I may have been faster to walk and run but that wasn't the point! It was a hard slog mentally, to just keep going and not stop.
I'd only gone 17 km non-stop running in training, so when it got hard in the race before the 17 km mark, I kept telling myself I couldn't stop because I knew I'd done at least 17 km before. Then once I'd passed that mark, it was only 4 km to go, and out of 21 km, that's a short way, and I wouldn't let myself stop then. Good logic!
I've done 18 km trail runs before (see my train race report from a few weeks earlier). But that's hard in a different way as there are up and downhills and lots of concentration on where you're putting your feet, so you tend to think less about the 'keeping going' part.
In this half marathon race, it was a straightforward flat run, so mentally the tough part was to just keep going - there were few distractions from the hard slog!
I finished in a time of 2:09.28, which was 21st in my age category.
I'm pretty happy with that - and with the beautiful medal we got at the end, which is also a fridge magnet and a bottle opener!!
Now I'd like to try a half marathon race in winter when it's not quite so hot and humid! And my new time goal is to go under 2 hours!
I'll be entering this race again in 2015.
It was so well organised, great to be a part of - a beautiful place to run, lovely running shirt and as I mentioned - a very cool medal!