Will Thames

swim, bike, run, tech

Twilight Half Race Report

I’ve become less diligent at writing race reports over the past few years, particularly for races that aren’t super special to me. However, there are a few things worth noting from this race.

This was my first race of the Twilight series. I’ve been wanting to do another half marathon for a while, but this seems to have been the first one that has suited me.

Due to the upcoming North Face race in less than two months, which really is my absolute priority A race of the year, I couldn’t let this race distract me. Obviously if you’re training for a 100km race, a side effect of that is that a 21km race shouldn’t be a problem endurance wise - in fact the weekend before I did a 4 hour 32 km hilly trail run which was probably marathon level effort.

I also decided to experiment a little. Normally I’d taper for a race and reduce volume significantly in the lead up to the run. This time I decided that I’d reduce intensity a little and only do flat runs in the week before, but I still did 42km in the week of the race.

The day leading up to the race itself was pretty uneventful. I decided I’d go with another experiment, and use Tailwind energy drink in the hours before the race to give myself extra fuel. I went for public transport rather than car, and caught the train to Park Road and then walked across the footbridge to the Boggo Road bus station (I have no idea why they can’t just choose one name!) and then a quick bus ride on the busway to University of Queensland St Lucia campus.

I meandered my way across campus following the herd of people to the start (I figured if I followed the majority of runner-looking people, that would likely work) and found the Parkrun tents and had a chat with various runner friends - Jo, Kim and Neil from Sandgate, Andy from Bunyaville.

The max temperature of the day was supposedly 31C but by about 4pm it was very comfortable in the shade, so I just had to hope the course wasn’t too exposed before sunset.

After the 1km race had got underway, I found a spot in a suitable position (between the 1:35 and 1:45 pacers) and got ready to set off. After the usual preliminaries and preamble, we were off!

My strategy was to run comfortably for the first 16km and then allow myself to get out of breath. There were a couple of exceptions on some of the hills but mostly that worked well. I definitely remember thinking the first couple of kms were quicker than I expected, but I settled into a rhythm after that and my pace wasn’t a concern. I just tried to enjoy the sensation of running well within myself and avoid working too hard.

I was very impressed with the volunteers - the girls of Clayfield College were out in strength, in Mexican costume giving out water effectively and being very supportive.

I found the temperature perfectly workable - I might have benefitted from being a little bit cooler, it’s always difficult to say, but I never felt like I couldn’t keep cool - the water stations certainly helped with my thirst and keeping cool.

Once I’d got to the 16km point I knew I could open up a little if able - but by that point maintaining current pace was all I could really do - i.e. I was having to work harder and breathe harder to stay constant. But that was fine.

In the last km I noticed lots of people trying to overtake, like they’d suddenly been unleashed. However, I still found a little in the tank to finish strong, and certainly the last full km was the second fastest of the race (after the 2nd km), and the last 200m was very fast indeed (sub 4:00/km!). So perhaps I could have paced it slightly better, but that’s easy to say with hindsight.

After the race I had one of the most expensive ice coffees I’ve ever had ($7 - but it tasted worth every cent at the time), caught up with other runners and then headed back to the bus station for a relatively straightforward journey home.

I think my fuelling, tapering and transport decisions were all well-judged. That’s not to say that none of them could be improved but I’m not unhappy with any of them.

In all, given how I prepared, I think I was fortunate to do so well for this race, and wonder how I’d do if I actually tapered, and did some actual speedwork - I shaved 1m30s off my PB, but how much more potential is there - perhaps I’ll try and find out for Twilight bayside at Wynnum in Spring.

Final result: 1:39:35 race data