Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Melbourne - Where it all begun

After the last chiropractor appointment on Friday i was reasonably confident i'd get through the marathon in one piece but i was really unsure just what sort of time i could pull out.
With the cheapest fare possible on Tiger Airways (maximum of 7KG carry on luggage only) i had an easy stroll down to the airport Saturday morning and shock of shocks a plane leaving on time, actually got to Tulla 10 minutes early, maybe things were finally going my way. Ended up at the Marathon Expo and spent quite a bit of time chatting with heaps of familiar faces (familiar faces being the operative word i'm not sure just how many people actually had to tell me their name - sure i knew them by sight :-)). Warm, sunny day in Melbourne certainly looking good for the day ahead although a forecast strong northerly could be an issue.
Gnocchi bolognese was my carbo loading for the night (okay there was a beer or two but still not confident about my back i'll take whatever painkillers i consider necessary).
The luxury of an apartment in Exhibition St (thanks Robert !), meant i could wake at 5:30 have a leisurely breakfast and then casually stroll down to the race, although typically a foreign pre race bed meant i woke up every hour or so.
Was at the G by 7 and wandered off to the Spartans tent to drop off my gear and then off to the start. Such an improvement in organisation this year, just like clockwork making it to the start line. Gidday to a number of people and then we were off, only 7 seconds to cross the starting mat as compared to last years 4 minutes !!.
Feeling good and comfortable early but did waste a little time getting to the outside of the field, really hate running in a crush i should have moved there beforehand !!. Wellington Parade and then St Kilda Rd, just at the back of the 3 Hour pace group really somewhere i didn't want to be.
Was rapt to find sportsdrinks in cups (water bags are a good idea but my teeth are badly aligned courtesy of a broken jaw in 1979 explaining why i just can't bite into an apple to eat it but can take the top off a beer), in a good rhythmn by Fitzroy St and the first of the Coolrunning cheersquads to motivate us. Still unable to run faster than the pace group was frustrating me but wasn't ready to push hard yet.
Just before Beaconsfield Parade, the inevitable happened was beginning to feel my back so eased back to see if that would help, spent the next couple of K's talking to a 79 minute Half Marathon runner who was also having a bad day in the marathon, typical me i guess i ran better on his suffering and once past Fitzroy St had got away from him.
Was now at a comfortable pace but simply could not crank it up and i'd let the pace group slip away, was passed by Coolrunner Tuttle when turning into StKilda St so i was hoping it was him having a real good day not me a sh*t one. By the time we'd hit Brighton Baths we were seeing the leaders running back towards me, somewhat demoralising but i did get a kick out of seeing the Daves (Criniti and Eadie) so close to the lead looked like they were in for good runs. Through the half in 1:31 (strangely no time clock but we had splits on the net on Monday), and basically was now running without backpain but simply not fast and with the wind behind us, this could get ugly on the way back !!!.
At least the Hampton turnaround gave me an idea where everyone was but it also meant we ran straight into the teeth of a gale but was now feeling stronger than earlier and at least passing people (as well as cheering on runners going the other way - saving my biggest cheer for Melbourne Marathon Spartan legend Shirley Young being paced by her husband Ron - was sad to here later she pulled out at 33K's but certainly one runner with nothing at all to prove only hope i'm still running when i'm her age).
Passed Tuttle strangely enough pretty much where he passed me originally and from then on continued passing people (sure beats being passed).
Knew i was struggling against that wind (at 6 foot and 67KG i'm not exactly built for running against the wind), again the Coolrunning cheersquad gave me a great boost as we turned into St Kilda Rd, but i was now beginning to feel the metatarsal in my left foot really strange as the last time i'd had any issues was the second half of Badwater (just can't explain that). Can't honestly say it slowed me down but it did give me something else to think about. St Kilda Rd was looking like a battle field as the weather warmed and a number of runners were strewn over the median strip (definitely not good), still i came home strongly, again buoyed by another CR Cheersquad at Fed Square then the Brissy invasion led by Tess in Jolimont enjoying the run on the G where i outsprinted 2 blokes to the line. 3:09:51 not great but not too bad and even better the back was feeling good, actually until i got of the actual stadium surface and then sore again (weird).
Being one of the earlier Spartans i had the tent to myself for a while (and a couple of cans of Coke) and was happy to sit and watch the runners come in on Brunton Ave.
Caught up with a number of people and time flew, by the time i realised there was a commerative towel to pick up it was 2PM and after a saga picking it up (note to organisers the day was perfect except for the towel pickup, only a minor point but the one thing to improve next year).
Had originally been going to join the runners get together at Transport Bar, but tiredness, back soreness and the fact i was staying with Richard and his family meant i headed off to a barbie and cricket with his boys, probably better from the health point of view (too many anti inflammatories and booze over the last couple of weeks probably not a good thing !!).
Loved the shoes, certainly the right foot was as good as running barefoot but with cushioning though a little mystified by the metatarsal problems and was able to run for 90 minutes in hilly Upper Beaconsfield on Monday morning (less said about my ability and soreness relating to backyard cricket the evening before the better though).
So here i am back home, back not too bad (haven't had any anti inflammatories since, okay the odd bit of alcohol but that's a pleasure not a chore !!), presently tossing up as to whether Great North Walk is a realistic thought as next start ?????


Tesso said...

Tee hee ...

Tesso said...

Whoops ... that comment was supposed to be for another blog!!!

What I wanted to say was congrats. Not sure how you finished so strongly considering not just the back but the bloody weather.

Thanks for giving us something to cheer about :)