It's all downhill (not)

20 November 2011

My goal was to break 1:35:00, and whilst this is a new personal record, I didn’t achieve that goal. But don’t get me wrong, it was fun.

So, why do I think I missed my target. It would be easy (but wrong) to blame my performance on the fact that the organisers promised a coffee cart at the start, but it turned up too late … us runners were being corralled before they got into production.

The real reason is a little more complicated. I tend to run and to judge/balance my effort from the pace feedback I get from RunMeter. This iPhone app tracks my progress using GPS and provides me with real-time updates on my pace. For this race, I wanted to ease gently into my “marathon pace’, which I wanted to be 4:30.

Alas, I failed to correctly set-up RunMeter, so the feedback it gave was both not very helpful, and it ended prematurely. So, I did most of the run with updates only every 1Km. As a result, I found I was running far to fast (sub 4:00 pace) for a large portion of the middle of the race. Consequently, I ran out of puff in the later stages.

Although the race is described as generally down hill, the first third of the race is a series of long, mainly gentle, up hills. The rest is undulating downhills—some quite steep. The massage therapist could tell that my quads had worked harder than my hams …

The spectators were great; they offered a lot of encouragement, and many pointed out that “It’s all downhill from here”. That might have been true, in general, but the undulating nature of the course meant that there was also going to be some kind of uphill after each of the downhills.

Peter Smith's results from the 2011 Kerikeri

There were some competitors in wheelchairs. One, was dressed as a gorilla and could really motor downhill (and he wasn’t too shabby going up hill either). What an inspiration, especially given the heat. (Oh, and yes, he did beat me.)

As I mentioned, I was doing this race (amongst other reasons) to raise money for EB. So, Lisa Callagher was also their, and she did a great job in the half-marathon walk. Actually, it was a great time for her first walking race. I managed to raise about 1,200 for EB. Now to collect that money …