I always follow the same routine the night before a race, and the night before the Central Coast Half marathon was no exception; pin race number on shirt, eat a large pasta dinner, check kit about ten times, alarm set for stupid O’clock in the morning, check kit again.
Friends (non-running friends) think I’m crazy; why would anyone willingly sacrifice a few glasses of wine on a Saturday night and swap a lazy Sunday sleep-in for a middle-of-the-night wake up call, just to go and run 21.1km? But you all know that it’s worth it once you’ve crossed that finish line, checked off another race and maybe even nailed yourself a new PB.
Flat, Fast and Scenic
Held at The Entrance—a small coastal town about 100km North of Sydney—the Central Coast Half Marathon certainly doesn’t have the large crowd support that you find in big city events. What it lacks in atmosphere however, it makes up for with its scenic out-and-back route. A flat and fast course, it offers runners a good chance to get a new PB and, with only 700 entrants the course spreads out pretty evenly within the first few hundred meters.
I have to be honest, I don’t usually like out-and-back routes. They’re pretty boring and repetitive and make that second half all the more painstakingly difficult–as if it wasn’t hard enough knowing that you still have another 10km ahead of you before you can drown yourself in a gallon of water.
Maybe it was running through the forest and along the water’s edge, but I didn’t seem to realise I was running the same part of the route twice, and it was good camaraderie amongst competitors running on the other side shouting their support.
Chasing a PB
Aside from hoping to nail a new PB (under 1:39) and possibly even trying for 90 minutes, I didn’t really have much of a plan for this race. For marathons, I’m a big fan of running negative splits. I did think about splitting the race pace between 10km and meticulously calculating what pace I would need to ensure a new PB, but that meant working out percentages, factoring in the heat and other potential likely variables that would have required the use of my brain. I decided to throw all caution and calculations to the wind and just run!
Bloody Blisters and Blazing Heat
Possibly not the smartest move. I ran a solid first half, averaging around 4:15/km–on target for getting 1:29. Then my brain soon caught up with my body and decided to let it know that it is not a machine but is in fact suffering from chafing, blisters and bloody hell, did I not yet mention how hot it was?!
The most disappointing part of this half marathon is that it is held at the same time as the 10km race, so when you reach the final 5km of the run you are held up with some of the mid-pack 10km runners. It didn’t help that the water hose at the final drink station was facing towards the 10km runners (at their 3km mark) and away from the half marathon runners (at our 18km mark). It was kind of like teasing the half marathoner’s with ‘here’s what you could have had’, and just made the heat even more unbearable.
Aside from the congestion at the end and the water hose facing the wrong set of runners, the event is pretty good as far as small community races go. If you’re looking for a new PB and live relatively close to the area, it’s worth the effort.
Although I didn’t manage to make my 90 minute goal, I did manage a new PB and made it in 1:35. Finishing up as the 9th female and 4th finisher in my age category, the run was definitely worth my 4:30am wake-up call, and the beer at the end was certainly worth the Saturday night sacrifice.