Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Melbourne Marathon 11th October 2009

With my 24th successive Melbourne Marathon my next race i was stuck with a strange quandary simply i had no idea what sort of shape i was in for a race of that distance.
The previous weekend had been spent bushwalking on Fraser Island and whilst that showed my fitness it was hardly speedwork, i guess in all honesty my most recent speedwork had been doing the Warwick Half Marathon back in May !!.

At least the forecast was good, looked as though Melbourne was putting on good weather for the race, so at least it wasnt going to be a case of re acclimatizing.
I was staying with Robert and family at Chirnside Park so it was to be an early start with apparently no parking at the MCG and with a 7AM race start this (with daylight saving) seemed like a real early 6AM and meant i was up very early.
Ultimately as we drove past the MCG we saw that the car park was open so were actually there over an hour early, meaning there was even time for a high priced coffee from the vendors setting up stall.
Dropped my gear off at the Spartans Tent and decided with the slightly cool weather i'd stick to the Yellow Buff Bandanna rather than my headband.
It was then a 10 minute walk to the start and time to catch up with a few mates, a few nerves (as usual) but essentially i was going to have to run this one by ear.
For a race with over 4,000 starters was pretty happy to make it over the start line in 10 seconds or so but then found the next few K's to be simply a case of finding a bit of room to run and get a good stride going.
Once we'd headed off StKilda Road decided it was time to finally use a drink stop, but the crowds meant i took the easy option in Aughtie Drive and just grabbed a waterbag, not a great waterbag user but have more or less worked them out by now.
I hadn't taken much notice of the webpostings about the course changes (well i was hardly going to get lost in a field that size), but it was soon evident we'd be spending more time in Albert Park, not ideal but still the scene of my first Sub 3 back in 1991 so hardly too much of a drama, this also meant i got an idea where other runners were in relation to me.
Finally i was getting some good running room and getting a good pace up but could see the Sub 3 Bus was well in front so i was still going to keep improving if i was to get the result i dreamed of.
After what seemed to be just running loops we were then back out onto Fitzroy St and then down to Beaconsfield Parade now we were getting somewhere, and i was beginning to make up ground on some familiar faces, chatted with one fellow just before half way and i'd apparently made up 5 minutes since Albert Park however the split was 90.5 Minutes so i'd have to do what i've never done before and negative split.
Heading towards Elwood was feeling good but was bemused by the fact they sent us around the Elwood Life Saving Club carpark just to get some extra distance in !!!, still a little further on and a 180 degree turn and we were heading home.
Once i hit Fitzroy St i did my maths and wondered just how we were going to make extra distance up, by now my bandanna was being used as a headband only, sun was out and it was a glorious day, just wondered where the hell we were going !!!.
Once we got towards Aughtie Drive i was in for a shock a herd of half marathon (and i think also) 10K runners, not a few but hundreds, frankly i thought this sort of stupidity in race organisation had died out in the 90's when the last few K's of the Gold Coast Marathon would bring you upon a wall of 10K walkers oblivious to everyone around them so absorbed they'd usually be in conversation !!!.
Less said about from there and along St Kilda Road the better, i spent most of my time cursing inwardly and i'm sure if there were photographers about there would have been steam coming out of my ears, from being near 3 hours i was rapidly self destructing, plenty of energy but nowhere to move as i sprinted between runners often sideways, when would they be out the way ???, finally we went under the Arts Centre and back now on the Tan section we got our split, way too late to make up all the ground i lost but i certainly ran hard just to get the frustration out of my system !!!.
Down Domain Road and soon again back amongst the other events, more frustration, from then on it was sprint look for a gap and so on, no way of getting a good rhythm and very frustrating, eventually onto the MCG but even there we were running in big herds certainly i vented my annoyance by taking in the longest outside course and ducking in sharply when sent into finishing lanes, not a good way to end (and a time of 3:05:27 and 261 according to the Herald Sun two days later, still cant get the website to work for official online results ???).
Not sure what to say about this one, was pleased how i'd run myself into a position for a good time after an ordinary start but frankly once we hit the other runners at 31 K's that was about it, couldnt get a clear run and to some degree self destructed with frustration, think i've still got a fast marathon in me this year but not sure what that'll be (Marysville logically but not sure what the first time course will be like), having spent most of the next week in bed with a cold Toowoomba was ruled out, so we'll see what happens.

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