The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon: An experiment in running on tired legs

Today was the 22nd running of the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon. Nearly 11 000 runners crossed the finish line in Sydney’s Hyde Park in near-perfect running conditions.

This was the second year I had entered this event. Last year, I was in the red group, definetly the middle of the pack runners. This year I had moved up into the blue group. The qualifying cut-off time for this group was 1 hour 45 minutes. WOW, what a difference your start group can make! The top starting group was not nearly as crowded as the group behind. And, by just cruising along and keeping up with the runners around me, I was pretty much guaranteed a time under 1:45, meaning I would beat my time from last year, which was my main goal for the day.

As I mentioned in my previous post (The Anti-Taper), I had run over 100km in the week leading up to today’s event, and not had any rest days.  So how did it go? Well it was an interesting experiment. Certainly not a path to a half marathon PB. But that’s OK, that was not my goal. The first 10km went pretty well, just cruising along with the crowd. At around the 15km mark, my legs were starting to feel very fatigued, particularly in the quads. In the last kilometre, I started to get that ‘jellylegs’ feeling, and my calves were tightening up. By the time I crossed the finish line, my legs felt like they had just ran a marathon.

I think this little experiment was a good way to get practice on running on tired legs. The more I can practice that, The stronger I feel my marathon finishes will become.

In the end, I beat my time from last year by 2 minutes, and ran 1 hour 43 minutes, so I’ll automatically get into the blue group again next year. It’s a great event, I love the location, the atmosphere, and the course. I forgot about the hills! I thought that after doing 6 Foot Track marathon and Wild Endurance recently, that I would not even notice these hills. But they were short and sharp little hills around Pyrmont, so they weren’t too bad.

Also big congrats to Cheryl Hayward for another PB today too, 1 hour 37 minutes. I look forward to running with you again up at the Gold Coast soon for your debut marathon!

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