City to Surf 12km – 2014 Race Report

This was my second City to Surf. Once again, my goal was sub-60min. Training had been going well, up till 3 weeks to go, where a combination of fatigue and schedule-related issues got in the way of solid training. Having done a 1:01 at Run for a Reason in May (a much flatter course) the sub hour goal was still a ‘stretch goal’.

Conditions were quite mild, it wasn’t as cold as last year – so I left the classy tracksuit pants at home.  The nicer weather was also helped by the race start for the 12km being pushed back to 9:05 AM this year.

I had a quick carbohydrate drink (32GI) at work (I was planning on drinking only water, if anything, during the race) and jogged to the start line as a warm up (about 1km). I managed to find a gap in the start pen, and moved myself to some empty space about 5 metres from the start line. Well, if I wasn’t going to finish near the leaders, I may as well have a couple of minutes near the front! The wave starts were a bit better this year, there was no waiting and preamble stroll to the start line.

I set of and completed the first km at 4:50 pace, including the solid hill up Malcom St to Kings Park. Possibly this was a little quick, but my heart rate was fine, so I wasn’t too concerned.

As the race progressed, I stayed close to the 5min pace average, by gaining time on the downhills. On the flats I was pretty close to 5:02, but the uphills I simply lost too much time. The first few hills I gained enough on those downhills, but as the race progressed, it took more and more effort to speed up on those downhills.

I pushed pretty hard for a final km of 4:20, but this wasn’t enough to pull it back under the hour. I had thought if I was a minute behind I might be able to get it back, but as I was over 2 minutes down on target time with 1.5km to go, it was clear sub-hour was unachievable.

My ‘B’ goal was just to beat last year’s time (1:03). Which I managed to do by 1 min 18 sec. Looking at my race stats on Strava, I kept my heart rate in threshold or higher for a greater majority of the race – I seem to be able to tolerate that kind of HR better now.

This year I didn’t have quite as an extreme sprint finish, as my brother was in a different wave to me, so was nowhere in sight. Last year it was neck and neck to the line. I crossed the line, but my brother hat a better chip time, as he crossed the start timing mat 3 seconds later.

At the finish , I was moving at a decent pace, and passed quite a few people in the final 500m, but it wasn’t a full on sprint, because I didn’t have much left in the tank due to racing at such a high heart rate for the whole distance.

Overall it was another fun race – though it would be nice to get below 1 hour! Next year I’ll have to do it again, and maybe the half marathon the year after that.

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