For those who have an intricate experience with leg 7 or anyone as fascinated by mathematical splits as I, perhaps you’ll enjoy the below comparison between my performance this Saturday and the target I had set (90 minutes) as well as my (faster) run in 2009.
The table shows what was obvious to me: that the real damage was done from kilometre twelve onwards. Ninety minutes could have been achievable if I had reacted better to the start pace (I was only thirty-eight seconds down with nine kilometres to go). Clearly, the opposite happened for whatever reason, e.g. injury, wrong breakfast, fitness loss in last three weeks, poor pacing, lack of hill race sharpness, or downhill conditioning.
In hindsight, a safer tactic would have been to try to match my performance exactly of 2009 until the foot of the climb on kilometre thirteen and then having attempted to make up the 6:25 on the latter part rather than trying to steal time from the gun.
This tactic would have meant Gary Condon would arrived, having clawed forty seconds back at the ford, rather than no seconds, yet this scenario would eventually have extended our lead to over eight minutes by the time of the hand-over.
If you look at the splits on the left they are not unachievable: Kilometre 14 and 15 would be tough targets but the remaining kilometres would be standard fare for a half-marathoner in the 80-84 minutes bracket at that point of a race (properly paced) and most of these are downhill or flat.
Some definitive food for thought here, as my calculations in 2009 suggest, you could gain significantly to your overall time by “throwing” around a minute on the first part of the route so any future time-gains planned on leg 7 should probably be sought at the end of the race rather than spread over the entirety of the distance. An experiment for 2012 perhaps..