Endurance Skating

Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports

Bacchus Half Marathon (run) – Race Report


A friend suggested that we run this half-marathon, where the emphasis is firmly on “Fun and Friends” rather than serious racing. Frankly, it was sold to me almost as a piss up with a bit of exercise thrown in for good measure.  It fitted in perfectly with my Berlin tapering schedule and so I was keen… so a small group of us signed up to do it, including my better half Nati – for both of us, this was be our first ever official half-marathon race!

In the previous 24 hours leading up to the race I had jacked up my carb intake a little as I have been wanting to experiment with trying out a rough version of the OFM (Optimized Fat Metabolism) protocol. A friend’s BBQ the previous day was the perfect opportunity to top up on some starchy vegetables from the salad table. We are NOT talking 60-70%+ high carbo-loading (ie overdosing) here, but just a gentle bump up from the typical ~10% of my regular daily carb intake to something more in the region of 20-25%. The aim is to ensure that you have *some* glycogen stores in the muscles and liver that you can dip into when the intensity picks up.A caramel waffle in addition to breakfast eggs and bacon on the morning of the race and I was ready to go! Whether or not my glycogen stores were totally topped off not I don’t know (I highly suspect not), but I don’t think it really mattered much for a half marathon race.
The Bacchus event itself takes place around a Vineyard or all places, and is probably about as different to a “Big City” race as you can get:

  • Most of the runners appear to do it in fancy dress
  • The number of runners is a tiny fraction of the big city races – approx 1,000 runners in total (compared to approx 40,000 in a city marathon).
  • It’s a trail run around the Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, which is in the countryside about 1hr south of London.
  • They offer you wine at the refreshment stops along the way

As mentioned, this was a trail run, so not really comparable to a road race. This is definitely not the sort of event where you can set a PR. There was about 300m of vertical ascent/descent which was.. a lot. Having said that I was quite pleased with my run and my time overall – I finished in a time of 2:04hrs, with quite a large negative split:

1st half: 1:06
2nd half: 0:58

In reality I made the conscious decision to start from the back of the pack simply because that’s how I sometimes like to run.. taking it easyish on the first half and then stepping it up in the 2nd half. I was picking my way past other runners for much of the first half, which probably contributed to the large negative split. One aspect that I was pleased with was how I paced myself on the climbs and descents – I tended to go a little easier than most people on the climbs, and then a little harder on the descents – training by heart rate teaches you to do that. Result is that I never really red-lined even on the steepest ascents and kept my overall intensity much more even. The last 2km is a steep downhill leading back to the start point where I really motored – I finished the last couple of km at about 4:45/km (7:30/mile) pace, which completely trashed my quads! However I was still strong and smiling at the end!
I’m not sure the additional carbs I consumed really helped or hindered in any way in a race this short – but I felt fine and went around on nothing other than water. I will likely follow the same 20-25% carb consumption for Berlin on both days.

I also took this opportunity to run around with two HRMs and compare my new Mio Alpha HRM to my tried and trusted Garmin HRM. I’ll write a bit more about the Mio Alpha as well as both the Garmin & Polar HRMs I have. They all use different technologies and have their own advantages and disadvantages.

All in all it proved to be a fabulously enjoyable day out, with great friends and great weather. The organisation of the race was exceptional, and I would highly recommend it to anyone! And lastly, especially well done to Nati for completing her first half marathon, still smiling at the end – proud of you, princess! xx


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This entry was posted on September 15, 2014 by in Half Marathon, Race Report, Running and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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