Race Report – Lisbon Discoveries Half-marathon 2015/12/06
Planned: sub90 (because 1) it sounds nice, 2) it has been soooo close during the races done during 2015 (close but no cigar…) and 3) I know I can…
Actual: 1:27:45! Definitely sounding nice, definitely showing I could and definitely meaning that I am back on track 🙂
On the top of it, passing the finish line on 4th place, and podium 3rd place for age category do make this race a very good finish for the 2015-with-its-crapy-start…And a clear negative split as well…
Weather conditions were ideal, kind of. Start with fog and no visibility, to nice in the air, wind from time to time and sun shining at arrival. Great feeling at the end, even with enough strength for a smiling-to-the-camera interview 🙂
Place: 4 – all women 🙂 / 3 – category “women 35-44” / 192 all runners 🙂
|Average pace||04.09 min/km|
The day before…
Rehearsal run done on Saturday created misbelieves that 90 minutes would even be enough for this run. The first 2km felt very stiff and taken at 4:45 and 4:30 which made me very much doubt they could be run even slightly faster and despite any BIB attached on the stomach. But it was not all… after a terrific and very controlled downhill of 1km at 4:12 (!) getting back to the main road was welcomed by a side/headwind which made the pace slow down to 4.50-kind of, which made this misbelieve even stronger as having such wind during training and 1,5km is one thing, but having it for 8km and then having 8 more km to go would definitely not make this race the “piece-of-cake-sub90-race” I was actually counting on and hoping for…
BEFORE THE RACE
4:15 am – Woke up during the night, well-rested, but way too early. Back to sleep…
6:00am – Up right before the alarm, breakfast time. Orange juice, croissant-brioche, banana and green mix with a cup of Powerade blue (Yummy!) and back to bed and sleep. Drank every half-hour alternating water and Powerade. No problem sleeping between each zip!
8:00am – OK, the “laying in bed” felt very luxurious, but was probably not too well with a race starting 2 hours later. Up and direction the shower, massage of the legs with tiger balm afterwards (just for the smell to wake up the senses and the cold feeling to definitely not let me getting back to bed!). Hesitated a short moment, but decided to go for chili cream as well on the bum, legs and feet as well as the arms. The weather was not as cold as in Sweden, but looking through the window was showing a visibility of maximum 2-300m and the weather forecast indicated 9ºC and visibility 0 until 10am…Final drink and got race gears on. Cold in the apartment, so it was good to have this warmup chili cream on! Decided to go for the arm sleeves as well. Pink… did not plan very well there, but better be warm and colourful than cold and sorry!
Outfit for the day
08:55am – Waking up E and getting the final touch to my gear. Double-checking the plans for meeting after the race and (very good timing…) writing down on a paper wristband the splits I was hoping for (indeed, writing them on the back of the hand was not possible due to the arm sleeves…). Felt pretty stressed to tape this wrist band. E was half-laughing at the situation. Final kiss, quick pick and on the street for heading to the start.
09:19am – Leaving the apartment 19 minutes (!) later than original plans… Definitely ready for running. Not many people in the streets. The few heading towards the start I would guess. All are very well covered in training outfit…except me. Does not matter. 200m were needed for getting already warm. 1,5km later, arriving at the “Mosteiro dos Jerónimos” Monument, lots of runners everywhere. Feeling good. Still pretty foggy and grey. But not cold. The sunglasses felt quite ok to have (even though it might look a bit too much, I know that if there is a lot of wind or some sunshine, they will be definitely helpful!). Checking the arrival. Looking for Jesper who would run in another group. Smart enough, did not indicate where and when to meet before the race… Hopefully that will work for the after race! More easy run to the start – still no Jesper.
09:35am – Still time left… decide to get a bit more warm-up as recommended by Olivier A. Running back the track of the race. Finding a little inside square for final pitstop (I know… but the queues were not long really, but could not wait that long) and finally running easy back to the start. Stopped for doing my lunges matrix. Getting looks from people and happily giving back some. Cheering from a Swedish gal leaving in Lisbon and running. Checking the BIB and colour of some runners just to know who I would be following 🙂 I am in the grey start (1:15-1:30), right behind the red start (which corresponded to less than 1:15…). A last 400m with accelerations and now the legs want to run for real and have to be tamed…
09:50am –In the corral. Finding my way to the front of the corral while other runners (all male!) are doing warm-up exercises with the speaker. Spotting four ladies in the red corral and one in my corral. OK…here goes the 5 first places, I thought. Just make it to the arrival before the last “grey” and that would do (is the next thought). A guy with a “1:30” flag is entering our corral… OK…new plan: always have this guy in my sight or even better, having him NOT in my sight and right behind me… Sounding good. He will probably be ahead of me for the first 5-6km and I count on whatever will I may have then to pass him afterwards. Sounds like a plan. If any plan…
09:57am – OK, now I seriously doubt I will make it to the end without being run over totally. Flashbacks from Semi de Paris starts with men running and pushing everywhere and everyone ain’t really what I was needing then… Fixing my laces again. Taking two Dextrosol. Checking my brand new watch. Setting the correct music to the ear to be started in a short while. Closing my mind completely.
09:59am – Smiling (at least inside), countdown has started, feeling the tension all around me aaaaaand…
10:00am – GOOOOO!… Feeling the pushing in front of me, on the sides and behind me. Don’t even have to move, the wave is carrying me forward. Almost forgetting to start my watch (for a millisecond or so). Deciding to start it when I think the start was given. Then I see that I am passing a mat. OK, at least my time will be accurate when looking to the clocks on the course. It feels like in a dream really. Like a déjà-vu… I was there yesterday, running on this same asphalt but it was empty of people. And now I cannot even see where my feet are going (better not looking down anyway…I would probably fall…). Turn left. The 1:30-guy is a few meters before me. All good…well no. because some guys are sticking to his shoes and don’t bother me really (or all the other runners). I got pushed back during this second short stretch (yes, not even run 300m!) and run strangely on a hole in the street. Great L Turn right, follow this guy is the only thought I have. The music started a bit before and is nice to have. Cobblestones, construction area and one more turn to the left are however NOT nice to have. Once more, I am forced to slow down and almost walk (!) in order to avoid falling. Great start… and the slope is not even started yet… The 1:30-guy is taking a few meters more from me…Easy I think. Let him take this slope at 4:16 and I will get him in the downhill… hoping he will still remain at 4:16-tempo there… Beeep from the watch. Don’t even dare to check. Have been running on the left and it was actually quite nice and calm. Most runners spread along the street, but I knew better 🙂 The next turn is on the left, and I am not going to run a cm too many on this hill! OK, Avenida Restelo. Here I come. Passed by many still, but a lot have slowed down already. Quick check on the watch, preparing myself to cry… what? 4:18?…and yes, the 1:30-guy is a few meters ahead of me. Cannot be wrong. OK, concentration to get back. Avoiding the cobblestones of the bus station, adding a few centimeters (?) to my run and then we reach the roundabout to the lovely downhill. The 1:30-guy is probably 4-50m ahead of me now. With a pack of 5-6 men all around. Finding myself stuck there and I really do not want to take this downhill at 4:16-tempo! I make myself pass the guys, almost hitting a car parked on the side of the road. Feeling a bit cocky to pass all those guys. They are probably smiling and thinking “This chick gonna be dead tired in a few miles. Let her pass!” Refraining from those stupid thoughts, focusing on HR recommendation for running downhill : “forward and well-controlled, no slowing down”. By the time I recall fully the advises, we have turned left on…cobblestones street again (I was hoping yesterday that we would avoid this street…). Quite stable, passing km3 in 3:51. Satisfied. Not too fast, just enough to balance the lost seconds of the first 2 km. Just 18km to go now. Awaiting for the wind to strike after getting back to the main road. But nothing. Well, ok, no “nothing”. It was a bit windy. But nothing compared to the previous day. Trying to find a group to run with. No chick in sight apart from two. Completing the previous plan with “don’t let those chick out of your sight”. And as the visibility is quite limited anyway because of the fog (can see probably 1-2km ahead, but not much more I would guess), this seems like a good deal. With a bit of chance they will get tired…eventually…some time… (although this is mostly working on marathon distance, because on half.marathon I know I can be beaten before the end, without being tired myself). Finding a very good group of guys to run with and we are passing the 5K. Checking quickly the clock and my wristband. Looking good. Not for an 85-race, but definitely in good track for sub90. Just keep smiling, hold on to those guys and all gonna be fine. We have been passing 10K-runners heading to their arrival on the other side of the road (they started at 9:30am). We even still have many on our side of the road. Which is not really practical as we have to pass them right or left or in the middle. Accelerating a bit before km6 as I see a little silhouette in black. Trying to whistle but it is definitely not easy to run at this pace and whistle. So I shout a bit and get a huge smile from E on the other side of the road. And cheering. And surely I burn there some extra strength which I probably will miss later on in the race, but it was worth this smile! Back to the pack. Surrounded on my right by the guy with the red singlet with Clube Vodafone (will spend most of the run thinking that there is a mistyping on his singlet and that I probably should tell him that “Club” has no “e” at the end… Yes…the mind wanders sometimes during races…) and another guy with white singlet and great smile on the left. A few check from time to time to the watch and the indication of 4:09-pace is very reassuring. For being even more sure that disappointment won’t come at the end, I am adding 1-2sec/km. So it is still a very decent 1:28-tempo I am holding. With a bit of margin. Around km8 happens what should NEVER happen. Still well-surrounded, I feel like drifting slightly to the right, still a bit from “Clube Vodafone”-guy. But THEN I feel that my legs are hit by something, everything goes really fast, a guy in our group was trying to pass between me and “Clube Vodafone” and got into my footsteps, a bit of light screaming, feeling that my “white singlet and big smile” is catching me, that “Clube Vodafone” is catching me too on the other side and our third mysterious guy behind is as well holding so I am not falling (or that we ALL are not falling together). Lots of thanks all around, a bit of laugh and excuses and we just continue. Nothing noted on the pace (or maybe this km would have been even faster without this “almost falling” incident… who knows?…). Back on track, cheering from a bunch of guys in Portuguese around km9. Not understanding a single word. Comments from my “white singlet and big smile” friend and he gets back a thanks and let’s go from me on the top of a smile. Km10 is finally passed. Under 42minutes J on good track for sub90. Keep smiling and moving those legs! Taking my grey gel. Not that it is needed, but because it is annoying me in the backpocket of my hotpants. Quick water drinking as well. Nice!
Halfway is reached without really noticing…there is no mark for it (or there was one and I did not see it. All km-marks are having a different little funny drawing. KM11 is having legs added to the figures, like they were running. Another km-mark (nr 8?) was having a little sun hat and I think I saw one with sunglasses (and NOT I have not been drinking anything else than water!)). Have reached Cais de Sobrés, which is the station where we took the tram to get home on Friday… Now I know we could have run instead 😛 More running. A bit of people now, and it is feeling really foggy. Not that the fog is low and visibility zero, but it is so extremely grey and feeling almost that the skies are not existing at all. That we are running on a road painted in a city painted and that somehow the canvas behind the painting is actually grey. Yapp…still wandering mind. Have caught up the gal before me with the Garmin singlet. OK, this one I won’t let her go. Hearing the cheering from Olivier A from the RIL race, but then there were only a few km left. Now we are having 9 or so. Everything can happen! The turning point is slightly before km13, so when I start seeing the runners from the front on the other side of the road, I stop swearing on the stupid cobblestones we are now running on. SO NOT FAIR! I was getting in a very good pace before this. Now I have to actually LOOK where I am setting my feet. Focus is as well on trying to spot the number of gals passing on the other side of the road and how far I am from them (or rightly said: how far before me they are…). Seeing the first guy and the second one, very close to each other. Probably 2-3km before me then (and if it is wrong, I’ll blame my mathematics ability being down when I run…cannot focus on everything!), then a pack of few runners….and another one…and more male runners…where are the females?!?!? And here comes one. Almost missing her! She runs so extremely easy and nice. OK. One before me. Plus the Garmin lady. That means two. And there was another one before the Garmin lady, who had disappeared from sight after km8 or so. Which means three. Must be a bunch of chicks in the middle surely….I thought… Have passed to km12 and getting closer to the turning point when I see the second gal. Hmmm I think. Isn’t it the one before the Garmin lady? And here I see the turning point and the Garmin chick before me and I am turning then (well… I am WALKING to get this done. Because I am so close to the pavement in the middle and surrounded by guys, that it is just impossible to run. Here goes the precious seconds for sub90 I thought. Screw the time! Get the place now (as Olivier had said wisely three months ago. So I listen to this little voice and accelerate a bit). Focus focus focus while running on the cobblestones again. Heading towards the pavement, slippery but better than the stones. Km13 is beeping at…4:09?!?!? With this walking part?!?! Aaaaahhh if only we would have run straight and on asphalt… happy still to have this pace at this moment in the race and not feeling any fatigue. Focus. Focus focus. Just.Don’t.Fall. When I hear my name on the other side of the road! Jesper has been catching up with me! Yoohoo! Raising the hand, hopefully I smiled too. Great boost to the strengths…if only we were running on pavement! Have lost my “White singlet and great smile” since Cais do Sobré, but “Clube Vodafone” is still around. The Garmin lady is a few meters in front of me. Trying to run on the grass but it feels that I will probably break my ankle there so I go back to the stones. Please please please make them stop! Finally the turn left back on the pavement: I know I have slow down very much. But the watch is indicating an even faster pace. Km 14 completed in 4:03… OK. Shoot! There is only 7km to go and one place on the podium to win (or loose…). Tactic is going back and forth in my head. Better to pass the girl now and hope she won’t catch up afterwards or better to keep in her feet and be to the mercy of HER pace and still hope she will crash at the end and that at the same time I will have an extra boost of energy to pass her before the finish line… Passing km15 mark and “Clube Vodafone” is on my side and smiling to me 🙂 and saying something encouraging (I guess, because I do not understand what he is saying). And there…comes…another km15…with a mat… Eeeeeeehhhh what?!?!? I passed it already! Like 500m earlier. Starting to doubt fully on my watch, on my sight having seen km15 when it must have been km14…and really starting to despair that I am one more km further from the finish than I thought… L Not fun at all. Have taken a water bottle which I empty to the half as usual, drink a little and throw the rest on my head. Time to wake up! Especially if I start mixing the km-marks and hallucinating in thinking I am one km further than where I actually am! I see the bridge ahead soon. And the more than welcome km16 is arriving. The bridge means 2.2km to home, which is 1.5km to the start which is 200m to the finish. Good with some maths to occupy the head now. And surely this means I’ll see E soon. Thinking at the same time that I might miss him if I am running faster than what I said and that he misses the meeting point…Nooooo not a chance I am faster than expected. By km14 my average pace had dropped to 4:10 and I even see briefly a 4:11… (WHY am I looking at my watch while running? I don’t know…) But in front of me the Garmin lady is showing clear signs of fatigue and hole on the side. She is holding herself pretty badly. OK. What was the plan then? I try to keep a close distance with her, but “Clube Vodafone” is having a better pace for my taste and we are passing her. Now I just have to keep this pace or faster and hope she won’t catch up with me. Good. I feel warm and have lifted my singlet for getting a bit of air on my bare stomach. Nice! But not really comfortable with the HR pulseband. Which is dropping a bit from time to time. We.are.underneath.the.bridge! Would have been nice to be ON the bridge and running or even being in San Francisco and running on the real and original bridge, rather than under its Portuguese copy. But fast is disappearing those thoughts. I want this to finish. I am not tired. I have to get tired. I get my final gels in the back of my sport bra. Stupid place AGAIN. Cannot reach them at all! Pulling from the back and finally getting them out. Yellow one first. Don’t even recognize the taste. Don’t’ care. Just focus and run. Look in front of you. NOBODY! (well, this means “NO LADY IN SIGHT”!). Run run run. And a guy is passing me and “Clube Vodafone”…and on his footstep…Noooooooo! The Garmin lady! She has recovered. I press myself directly behind her and run (dangerously close) in her footstep. Red gel. Can’t remember where, when, how I got it to my mouth, but I know I did. She is just there. Not 50, not 30, 2 meters in front of me! This is really mocking me, right? And I see she is actually tired, but the guy is pushing her very hard. I see my lovely cheering squad on the side and push even more. The power of a smile is NOT to be underestimated! “Clube Vodafone” is keeping up with me and the pace has increased, I know it. The gal in front of me has now taken a bit more distance. Her friend is even looking back for checking where I am (I don’t know that for sure…but I am pretty sure of it!). And there right before km20 happens something cool, VERY cool… A guy that was in front of us comes back (!), exchange a few words with “Clube Vodafone” and the little I understand is that it is about me (I understand “fourth” and “woman”, they cannot be talking about the weather!). The guy is passing behind me (!) and set himself on my right side and explaining that the finish is close (well, this is what my mind think he is telling me). He is definitely there for me (and if in reality he is not, well… nope. This is the reality. He came back for me). We are getting close to the start area. He is showing me with his hand where the arrival is. OMG! I just want so much to stop and pee! Perfect timing! Less than 500m to go! Turn right and getting to the final stretch. Gosh this is just crazily empowering: I cannot hear the crowd (which I know is cheering), I cannot see “Clube Vodafone” any longer. I feel only my new friend on the side. I just want this to be finished and actually feel TIRED at the end! Passing the first mark to the end, then I see the clock. It shows 1:27:xx. NOT A CHANCE I LET IT TURN TO 1:28! Push push push, Not sure I am smiling but at least I think I am. And pushing my stop button on my watch. D.O.N.E!!!
AFTER THE FINISH LINE
Daring to give a look on my watch…1:27:47!!! (looked twice actually!!!). The Garmin gal is hardly recovering her breathing, bent over the fence, looking to her feet. I try to congratulate her, but get no response. SHE is tired. I feel indecently fit, after 21.1km and the final sprint to the finish line. Smiling J I turn left and fall into the arms of a cameraman and another guy. Congratulate me and ask if I can say a few words. Not realizing really what is happening, I find myself holding a mic in front of a camera and telling the World (well, the cameraman and the other guy at least) how much fun I had during the race. Great! Feeling that the sweat is coming now. The whole outfit is wet. Getting cheering from guys passing by, some I recognize other I don’t. I just smile. I made it. Under 90 minutes. I knew I could. I knew the body was ready. No pressure. No pushing (apart from final stretch to the finish as usual). I can do another one right now!
Getting my nice medal, my after race little bag, walking towards the meeting point to get E. Soooo happy to see him. He even accept a hug despite the sweat! Nice pic in front of the museum and back to the massage tent. Get a ticket…30 numbers to wait. Enough time to strip from my sweaty race gear into dry shorts and singlet, clean socks and slightly more comfy running shoes. Niiiice! We check the arrival of the other runners then, hoping to see Jesper’s arrival. He thought about 1:50, but I feel that way under is more likely. We see the clock ticking. No Jesper. After 2:00, we decide we have missed him and text. Then I hear my name (!) on the speakers… What? Who is calling me? I am heading to the podium and yes! I am actually called for the age category podium! Yooohooo! Oh my! Where is E? I just went and hope he would come along. And here he is. Smiiiiiiling big! Cool to get on the podium, nice trophée and flowers. And the sun is showing itself too! Meeting Jesper finally. Back to the massage tent. Getting a 20 (twenty!) minutes massage. Nothing really relaxing, but soooo worth the wait!
Summary? Very surprised by the outcome, especially considering the low expectations set after the rehearsal run the day before. No fast and furious. Felt well-disposed, no easy-peasy pace, but decent and comfortable. Body felt good (apart from a slight ache around km8 which I summon to keep quiet!), mentally feeling good and strong, enough for actually accelerating during the last 8km stretch. The weather was not what I expected (18ºC and sunny) but was better for the race (9ºC and foggy!). Definitely not an “all-in” race. Felt that strengths were left at the end. Mind very focused. Music in the ear helped (?) to keep the pace steady probably. Still wondering a bit if I could have got sliiiiightly faster at the end for skipping those 10seconds separating me from the Garmin lady, but this I will never know. Give a double distance and something can definitely be done at the end! 😛
Great race. And definitely what was needed to finish a 2015-year with a pretty crappy start. Great finish! Gladly seeing the legs kept on moving and the mind kept on focusing. Just what was needed for this day!
Weather: 8.9ºC, Feels like 8.9ºC, 5 kph NE wind, Humidity 100% – definitely good conditions for running. Foggy and no visibility at start, mostly grey during the run and definitely humid in the air throughout the run. Sun shining after the race was highly appreciated!
Food: 8:00am green mix + red juice and orange juice + banana + croissant/bricoche + mint tea&honey // right after the race: 1 apple, 1 water bottle, 1 little sport drink, 1 tea // 60min later (?): late lunch (veal, rice and potatoes, coke)
During: Dextrosol 2 at start and 1 at km4. km9+ grey gel + little water // km17+ – yellow gel and a bit after red gel // water at almost every 5K water-station (zipping more than drinking)
Gear: SWE hotpants and singlets, arm sleeves pink, sunglasses. Shoes were just OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD! Light and fast, comfortable and steady. Just what was needed! Loving them!
Shoes: ADIDAS AdiZero Adios Boost purple (Swifty) : 1st race and what a race! Those are fast shoes and really glad I have them onboard!
14/ Cannot tell the effort level was very high. It was decent throughout the race. Even the first 2km were (thanks to adrenaline quick from the start…) not reaching much more than a 12-13. Never really reached a 15-effort level, not even at the end where it felt that there were anyway strengths left, so as good to use them. Great use of the strengths. Definitely easier than RIL and the other races this year. Probably felt “easier” on the effort level than the last long run done the week before the race.
AFTER THE RACE
Walking easy towards home. Chatting without stopping until the restaurant for eating late lunch. Then leaving Jesper and heading back to buy Pasteis de Belem (no queue!) and then back home finally. Loooooong hot well-deserved shower. Massage (again) with cold after-race cream. Freezing for the hours following. Sitting on the sofa in front of Xmen –movie and resting the legs up. Later in the evening, went to the centre of Lisbon for celebrating with Jesper & his wife. Great restaurant, great meat, wonderful dessert and even a little wine to get with the dinner. Final hugs before we move towards our bus stop…to see our bus leaving. 27 minutes to wait for next one… E and I decided to walk back home then…the six km that separated us from the centre of the city. Great exercise after running a half-marathon in the morning! Perfect finish of the day! Tired after that? For sure!
A few “after-race thoughts”
NOTE: warmup? FINALLY! Could have a decent warmup before a half-marathon race and still start with a good spot close to the start line. Thanks for great advice to Olivier A once again!
NOTE: Corral change at the pickup of the BIB? Great to have negotiated to move from group “no colour” to “grey colour” (which was 1:15-1:30). It felt a bit cocky to ask for this group at the moment, but it was definitely the correct one!
NOTE: gel in the back of the sport bra? Not working this time. Have to work on this…again!
NOTE: Energy intake during half-marathon… well, don’t know if that was really needed. But I really wanted to feel a difference from “this is a normal long run” and “this is a race”. Not sure it helped (apart from the kick at the end, which could definitely have come from the adrenaline kick of being close to the end or the cheering from the guy at the end. Who knows!)
NOTE: Shoes are just to be kept. Should probably order a bunch of them before they disappear from the market!
GREAT RACE TO FINISH THIS YEAR!
(and a few seconds of fame… here…24minutes and 25seconds into the movie…)