2017 Lake Macquarie Half Marathon Race Report – Arnold Bartlett
Race Date: August 27th Results: 2017
The Lakemac Running Festival - it’s a goal race for many but historically, not mine. My Lake Macquarie Running Festival journey ends with a time of 1.13.29. But to learn about how I began this journey we need to go way back to the very beginning.
I had run the festival 3 times and 3 times I have enjoyed the day. In 2013 I ran the 10.5, the half in 2015 and in 2016 I ran a relaxed half in preparation for a marathon.
My proper attempt at the half distance in 2015 was a bit of an eye opener as I was a long way behind the Matt Hutton’s and John Doyle’s of this world. That year I really believed I could keep up with them but looking back my training volume was neither enough nor consistent enough to be truly competitive. My results and training this year had me thinking that I could dispel some of those memories and run a PB and hold my own with the best of them.
This race had fallen into my block of marathon training which is being overseen and coached by Ben Toomey. This has resulted in me racing off an average weekly training load around 95km’s for 12 weeks prior to and including the week of the race.
Week to week training can be found on my strava profile: www.strava.com/athletes/2168159
Some people have asked about nutrition for me, I do not consume a Michael Phelps volume of food or follow a specific diet. Like any good Asian I eat my fair share of meals with rice and tend to eat whatever is put in front of me. The night before I had home cooked spag bol and garlic bread and didn’t over eat as I have done previous years. On race day I ate a piece of rye toast with jam, a small banana and about 250mls of water, I did not consume anything during the race other than 20mls of electrolyte.
I slept 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep the night before the race but usually I find it hard to get to sleep and wake multiple times through the night. This year I’ve put races and the hunt for PB’s in perspective, they don’t happen all the time and a race really isn’t so important that it should stop you getting sleep.
Race morning is here and the conditions are cool with only a breath of wind, I warm up for at least 15 minutes and then line up to start the race. The field of runners is strong and to highlight this John Doyle tells me that 7th place has never run as fast as he did.
I shake hands with the other runners that will be near me during the race wishing them good luck but hoping not so much luck that they beat me in the race.
We take off on the gun and form a pack of 5 runners; the pack stays very close and runs in the low 3.30’s. Mutton (Matt Hutton) makes joke comments in the early stages, probably in an attempt to gain a mental advantage over the other runners, it fails on 1.
I focus hard on my breathing and attempt to stay as tall as I can to stay relaxed and conserve energy for the latter parts of the race. Incredibly the first 17kms were probably the best I have ever felt in a half and my heart rate during the race probably reflects this. The group pushes through the elevated road sections and then the rhythm is a little broken during the park section, we then recover at the quarter way turn around and head home.
Here I dropped back a bit and let some of the other runners lead the way for a bit, we all tend to have our turns but I felt here would be a good time to drop back in the pack and let others set the pace. During this time we started to edge below 3.30 pace and you could tell by the elevated breathing noise all around.
By the time we hit the park again after passing through half way Mutton had took lead of the pack and was bellowing and barging his way through runners. At this point a few of the racers were starting to show signs of fatigue, running postures were failing and heavy breathing was audibly apparent.
Out of the park and into the 3 quarter turn around I started to pick the pace up and decide to lead. At this point I was a little fearful that I wouldn’t be able to sustain my lead or pace which had crept down to 3.23.
I continued this pace until race finish only once turning around at 19.5ks to see who had followed me and in this case that was Mutton. In the last km knowing that I was running 2nd I manically asked anyone I knew how far Mutton was behind me, Coach Toomey guaranteed 2nd was mine and to finish strong.
Upon crossing the line I saw my race time for the first time and realised that it was huge PB of nearly 2 minutes for me.
The rest of the pack and lots of fellow flyers followed and there were some truly epic results from all of our club and fellow Newcastle runners. I think it’s brilliant that we have a lot of quality runners around which is making this the most competitive period of running that I have been involved in for a long time.