Tuesday, 15 April 2008
After my last post here, i headed off for a shave and 30 minutes later i was beardless just the feeling i needed for a fast marathon. With a 2 o'clock flight to Canberra there was a rather unsettled feeling as well, i'd have much rather been there or on my way under my own steam. Ultimately ended up having my most relaxed wait for a plane ever !!, made some sandwiches and put them and a towel in my carry on baggage, and walked the 7K's down to Coolangatta, put my other luggage in and checked in and then went over the road to Bilinga Beach and had a paddle (still very iffy about the calf so bathing it in cold water seemed a good idea).
Got back just in time to board more relaxed than usual, very small plane (an E370 holding only 76 passengers first time i've had a seat over the wings but no emergency exit). We actually hit Canberra 15 minutes early, i'd certainly never seen the place from the air before so it was all pretty new to me, was fortunate to bump into a couple of Gold Coast Road Runners as we had a chat and i mentioned i'd forgot to put any heat rub in thankfully he had a tube almost finished i could use.
Picked up the hire car and then listened to the footy as i had a mate from Melbourne coming in 45 minutes later and i was going to give him a lift to the number pick up and expo.
Picked up my number and "bag with stuff" and was a bit embarassed to find i was number 44, definitely not running well enough to be ranked that highly (and one year too young for it to be my age !).
Garry Wise, who had crewed for me at Coast to Kosi in 2005 and was now living near Darwin and had come up by car from Melbourne, was to share the accommodation at my old Quenbeyan "home away from home" The Village Cabins so picked him up and did some shopping before checking in.
Canned Bolognaise Sauce and Spaghetti may noy have been quite gourmet but pretty well exactly what us ultra runners need (as well as a cup of coffee).
Early start and i woke up before the alarm set for 5, and by 6 we were off, we were driving towards rather menacing lighting but i was hoping that it was weather heading away.
Spent the next 45 minutes chatting with people and by the time the 10 minute call came found it was raining, far from ideal.
Started in drizzle and very comfortable conditions (the cloud meaning not too cold) and felt really into it and focussed always a good sign, and was doing a very comfortable (and relatively fast pace), at one point didn't realise i was running in a group with former Olympic Marathon runner Pat Carroll (who is nowadays a coach and was running an hour or so) and when he pointed out to our group that we were running a little too fast and if we just wanted to break 3, i couldn't resist a comment along the lines of "i've never worn a watch in 133 marathons so pacing isn't something i'm interested in" (it may be true but you don't tell that to blokes who have done marathons 40 odd minutes faster than you can !!). Lap of Parliament House and all was still good, was surprised to pass Canberra Legend Trevor Jacobs (winner of the first ever 50K Option - a race put on for him to have a shot at a world record which he achieved) and really felt on my game.
At some point the rain stopped and it suddenly was cooler, this ultimately was my downfall, once cooler my hands were numb with cold and frankly i was feeling ordinary and i knew i was wasting alot of energy trying to stay warm (sometimes a problem for me). This went on for around 5K's and i'd guess i lost a couple of minutes off my time (i'd say i was 20 seconds slower per K), but once the sun came out i was pretty much back to right.
Lots of familiar faces, both in the run and amongst the spectators, gave me a great boost and heading back towards the turn (25K's ?) still appeared to have some speed left.
Was running amongst a group and constantly changing places which was great in the competitive sense as i definitely need to race rather than just run.
With no idea of the time (and apparently no 3 Hour pace group), felt like i was about right, but with the drinks at the 38K mark (just off the bridge) on the other side of the road thought i'd save as much distance as possible and miss out on them, possibly not a great move as i was really drained and in need of a drink at the last aid station, in short my dreams were shattered when i turned the corner (42K) to see 3 Hours just ticking over and i'm sure any pictures of me in that last 195 Metres show me looking pretty miserable (and i'm hoping there are no lip readers as my thoughts uttered as i went up that straight were essentially "F***, F****, You get the idea), i could have sworn i went under the clock in 3:00:19 (possibly i just took my eyes off it and swore from then to the finish line ???), but officially i finished in 3:00:31 (and 7 seconds faster on chip time).
Simply this meant instead of my 134th Marathon i'd be heading off and finishing my 196th Ultra, no option but do the 50K, had no motivation the first couple of K's but ultimately passed one runner and eventually was 12th of 115 in that event in a time of 3:42:47. Best i can say was that it was a 50K PB on that course (which was logical as the previous 3 times i'd done the 50K i'd done slower marathons).
Definitely not happy with the performance as i realised this was more than likely my only realistic shot at a Sub 3 in 2008 (a 4 week rest after Trans Gaule may mean i come back rested, fit and fired up for the Melbourne Marathon but anything can happen in 6 months !).
Chatted with many people (with 1,000 marathon runners get the feeling at least a third new me by name and me them by sight !!) and come the six hour mark the heavens openened up and hail fell, was very thankful i wasn't still running.
On fleeing to the dry of the hall was rather shocked to find i had a trophy waiting for me, third AURA Member in the 50K's (as the above pic shows really i don't need any more trophies just what i did i need was another Sub 3 !!), so in theory the day wasn't a complete waste.
A Cappucino, 2 cheeseburgers and a serve of chips at the Kingston McDonalds and now i was back to feeling good and so off to the Rydges Post Marathon Drinks and my first beer for a week, and a chance to catch up with some other good friends.
Having to leave early as my hire car was due back at 4, had a few hours to kill at the airport but thankfully had a chat with an Adelaide runner and then a fellow and his wife from Melbourne who had helped me at the Frankston to Portsea run in 2004 (and i can't at this point remember their names !!!).
Coolangatta by 9:30 and by the time i'd walked home finally i was feeling more content.
Bodysurf down the beach this morning (and a paddle in the Currumbin Creek Lagoon, many people would pay good money to swim with dolphins, but with one very close to me this morning what was going to be a swim turned into a paddle i'm just not into swimming around dorsal fins !!!) and the body feels good, it'll be a 4 day taper until Saturdays 24 Hour Race.