Unlike last year I made it to the start line, my mother is on the Gold Coast today with a full complement of blood pressure medication so there was nothing stopping me from running today.
As I have been bitching and moaning about for a week I am not myself right now, however after a 2km warm up I was feeling more OK than I thought I would so I was ready to try and have a good run. I caught up with Jo and Andrew pretty quickly and we trotted off for more of a warm up, ended up being a pretty short one though as all the dang walkers kept getting in the way. In between dodging slow moving people and helping aggressive men with a pressing need to pee we also bumped into John. As I had let go of my usual anal retentive ways I was at the start line a mere 30 minutes from the beginning, not 24 hours prior as is my usual habit (you know, just in case), therefore as the 4 of us shuffled off to pop ourselves into the Blue Zone we only had to cool our heels and make small talk for about 10 minutes or so.
With a whimper rather than a bang we were off, the horn was a bit sad sounding and a shout of “come on, you’re off” over the load speaker had us all shuffling towards to the start line. True to form John took off like a shot and that was the last we saw of him, we are assuming he finished roughly 56 minutes later and hopefully his well rehearsed son had a “Go Daddy” for him at the finish line.
Jo, Andrew and I set off at a more conservative pace and started working our way though the crowd. Once in the tunnel we took advantage of the decline and picked up some speed, I was desperate to get out because it was hot and I suffer from claustrophobia. Running up the incline coming out of the tunnel was tough and I told the other 2 that I might drop back and just jog it out. Phooey, once on the flat again I had recovered and was able to pick up the pace again. It was at this point I spotted Lee and Rupert and the 5 minute Km pace balloons and set about reeling them in, mostly as a distraction and mini goals help me push though. We caught them both and then left them behind, obviously with the intention of not having them pass us for the rest of the race (they didn’t!).
The Bolte Bridge was another tough spot, when I ran the inaugural event in 2006 we did the Bolte from the opposite direction so I had forgotten that there was a steady uphill to tackle. Here is where I felt the low iron stores the most, my gut started to cramp and it was hard for me to fill my lungs. I mentioned to Jo that I thought I was going to hurl, she felt the same, Andrew was doing alright so we put our heads down and got stuck in.
Thank god for the gentle decline down the other side, I just let the legs roll over and caught my breath, again it took me longer to recover than it usually would. We were able to get back on pace once over the bridge and I even made it to the 10km mark with a new PB (47 something, still soft) so was on course for better than 70 minutes. There was a bit of chat between Jo and I, generally stating how shit we were feeling, especially after another short rise up Collins Street. Then again the fact that we could talk to express these feelings was probably an indication that we were not working hard enough
The last 4km was tough, but not the hardest thing I had ever done. We hit a bit of a bottle neck as the course narrowed up Flinders Street, this was kind of annoying as I was ready to open up and just get the thing over with but I had to duck and weave again. The finish came up very quickly though as I was unsure of where the finish line was, there were some very cool African Drummers that helped me step up a bit and I was able to pick up my pace with relative comfort.
Next thing I knew we were racing around to the left, more dodging people, and I shouted to Jo that it was time for us to go for it, we bolted for the finish and although all 3 of us did not cross together we did finish within seconds of each other. The fact that I was unsure of where the finish line was helped me overcome the stomach cramps I usually get when my iron is down, I was distracted and caught up in racing to the line.
Though the finish chute I saw Mark and then just past the spot where they check your race number I saw Stu with a big smile, this is the best part, I am always on a high at the end and I love seeing a friendly face or two, especially after a season on the side lines
My final time was 67:26
Yes, I am mighty happy about this, a few weeks ago I was aiming for 70 minutes and that’s when I was feeling good! I was surprised that I was able to do it, the support of a couple of mates was invaluable, we really helped each other though and it made for a really enjoyable experience. Afterwards we took off to the pub for a post mortem and some much deserved rehydration (just lemonade for me, still can’t quite face alcohol).
For what it’s worth here are my splits, I had my stride sensor set to auto lap because I knew I would miss some of the markers. It read 14.24 Km, the course was set at 14.1 Km so I am satisfied that my sensor was pretty accurate because you never run the measured line of the course.
1 – 5:11 (5:11)
2 – 4:41 (9:52)
3 – 4:58 (14:50)
4 – 4:55 (19:45)
5 – 4:43 (24:29)
6 – 4:38 (29:07)
7 – 4:49 (33:57)
8 – 5:02 (38:59) – Bolte Bridge
9 – 4:22 (43:22)
10 – 4:28 (47:51)
11 – 4:32 (52:23)
12 – 4:48 (57:12)
13 – 4:33 (61:44)
14 – 4:39 (66:24)
240 – 61 seconds (67:26)
Oh yeah, I also ran a lazy 7km as a cool down, I was going to run 10km, but, well, I didn’t
This finishes a great week for me, just shy of 70km which is my biggest running week in I don’t know how long and off only 5 days running. My legs are tired but I have a huge sense of satisfaction, 80 to 90km weeks will be back on the agenda over winter
ALIGNMENT – yes I know!
My attention to detail is appalling when I am tired, I need to change my spell checker from US English to Australian English and stop blindly accepting corrections as gospel.