Monday, 27 August 2007

Greater Shepparton Marathon and then at last some joy (A Richmond win !)

Saturday headed off to Shepparton for the 10th Marathon there, my 8th Start there having missed with France last year and illness in 2004, really this was going to be my make or break run as i still had no idea really how what sort of shape my body was in racingwise. First time i'd stayed in Shepparton the night before since my DNF in the 100K there in 1995 so call me superstitious, but a lovely 22 degree day awaited me which sounded way more tempting than a drive up in the dead of the morning. Put my entry in that afternoon (quite a bargain $50 for a full marathon) and then walked a lap of the course in the afternoon sun.
For me strangely a good nights sleep only waking twice (as opposed to my usual hourly wake to look at the clock most times pre race at unfamiliar motels), so good a sleep and not helped by me typically trying to relax so reading, that i only got to the race start with 5 minutes to spare. Large number of runners there, 38 in the Marathon but the field boosted by 68 in the half and 67 in the 10K looked even bigger as we huddled around the start line. Heaps of familiar faces but not much time to exchange greetings, although seeing Sydney Coolrunner Wriggler (Guy Doulman) i reckon i had a pretty fair idea who the winner of my event would be.
Thankfully we started a couple of minutes late, and i soon got into a decent stride, for the first time since the Sri Chinmoy 30K (and the first time i'd tried to run fast since then - the Ultras being totally different events) i felt the calf early on. Still trying to push along as hard as possible as this was pretty much the event that would determine what i'd do between now and Melbourne Marathon, so put thoughts of pain out of my head and just kept on chasing. 4K mark had my first drink, and as sometimes happens to me, the Powerade just seemed to sit on my stomach so next time i was having to have water and try the Powerade again a little later on, by 7K's i'd caught up with Coolrunner FitPT (Chris MacTaggart) and we had a chat for a while i was hoping that may relax me a bit (don't often chat as i'm usually to focussed but i knew now it was going to be a struggle as calf, followed by Powerade indigestion didn't really augur well). Eventually Chris pulled away and i was being pushed along by footsteps of another couple of runners, eventually went through the first lap in 1:01:?? so it wasn't looking good at all (in the back of my mind i feared this was possible all along). Next lap ran along with the the other two but they eventually just slipped away, not like me at all on a second lap, so really it was a case of just focussing on getting through and ignoring any negativity, at least this time the Powerade did the trick or at least didn't sit on my gut, still i was struggling in the cold headwind (was enjoying the heat otherwise), and went through that lap with the clock almost at 2:06 so had slowed considerably.
Was hoping that the third lap would fire me up, but just seemed to be plodding making up a little ground on those in front but otherwise slowing down (not totally convinced the the Nike Air Zoom's i'd bought for Runaway Bay 24 Hour were really working for me either), was taken aback to be passed 5K's into the last lap, definitely something i'm not used to being passed 33 K's into a marathon, and more shocked when i just couldn't go with him. By then it was just a case of finishing without getting too shocking a time.
Results are here
3:13:26 My slowest since Medoc last year (and that had the good excuse of Trans Gaule before it !!), and probably my worst Marathon performance since Portland Three Bays in October 2004.
Think that only goes to show that my body at this point needs a rest more than a race or a run, maybe a good time to end this blog too !!.
Anyway Guy won (he'd been running 3rd when i last saw him but was running much better than the leading two so it looked inevitable to me), and i was a very ordinary 7th, also a PB to Robert Boyce (who's been having a great year Ultra wise), and 35 finishers overall. A big thanks to the organisers for another top event, shame my running wasn't in the same class. Have to admit when i was out there i just couldn't work out what enjoyment Peter Gray was getting from his running nowadays as he struggled to another sub 6 Hour finish (believe me i was getting minimal enjoyment out there running the time i did couldn't imagine any all from an hour or more longer out there).
After a good feed of sandwiches and cake (and a return to pick up my certificate), was off to the Ardmona Factory outlet (where i bumped into a couple of other runners) and then to the MCG.
I could say i enjoyed the drive, until i finally got to the MCG, me and 88,467 others, finally got a spot a good mile away and then realised just how stiff and sore my body was.

The pictures above give some idea just how high in the Olympic Stand i was, definitely a hard climb post Marathon (although i was sick of people going past complaining that where they were going they'd need an oxygen mask - bet they hadn't run marathons that day !!).
Far from a high standard match, but i'll take any Richmond win and the first time this year i've been able to belt out the club song (knowing my singing the less chances i get to sing the better).
Then all the hullabaloo for Sheeds and Hird, post match, a lap of honour for each and fireworks, i'll admit i was there partly as respect for Sheeds (i'd happily have him as Richmond coach but know that financially we can't dispense of Terry Wallace still can always hope he'll come back to the side he played 251 games for at some point - after all twice i'd met him at Richmond matches when he was a guest of the club and he always come across as a good bloke). Certainly James Hird had been a good player over the years and had overcome many career threatening injuries and deserved a good send off but for mine this was way over the top, i could easily name at least 20 players that i had seen who were actually better than him and had done more in their career but only a small quibble.
As for the drive home, totally impossible to avod traffic jammed roads, so would have been better off (and faster) walking home, but doubted i'd get back early enough Monday to pick the car and avoid parking rstrictions, certainly a long day.

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