I got some new respect for the marathon, she’s a beast.
Being my 6th marathon, and also completing the ultra earlier this year, the distance wasn’t intimidating and feeling fitter that I have ever been – confidence was high. Lesson 1: Never underestimate the marathon.
Training. Buildup for this event has been my best to date. No injuries. Consistent. Good intensity. More targeted/specific training. Some great MEC runs. New 5km / 10km / half-marathon PB’s. The fittest and fastest I have been with my running to date.
Race plan. I have had a goal to get sub-3 for some time, and was committed to having a crack. Planned to run pace of 4:15 min/kms for the entire race, finishing down the chute with 2:59:.. on the clock to the cheers of the crowds… I was committed to this time, I was going to have a crack and blow up before tapering off my pace. For the first time, I had also made it pretty public what my goal was. My normal approach has been conservative in my goal when telling others, to allow for the unknown, share my B goal. Not this time. Cards on the table.
Execution. Settled in to pace. Beautiful day. The first half flew by – feeling good. Great running with Sam Thom for the company, positivity, pacing, and harbour bridge selfies. Mission Bay on the way out – started feeling a little rough. My responses to Sam talking slowed down and eventually stopped. From the turnaround – thoughts turned for the worse. I realised I wasn’t going to hit sub-3, decided to hold the pace for as long as possible for the sliver of possibility I could, but really just to get closer to the end – my mind was struggling. My stomach hadn’t been right and eventually hit spilling point, literally. At 37km I pulled over to the bushes and threw up all the water and powerade in my stomach. The last 5km was a battle, body was ready to lie down, hitting a new PB kept me going and I battled to the finish line averaging around 5 min/kms for the duration. Finishing in 3:06:14. Lesson 2: You can drink too much.
Reflection. My goal was to have a crack at sub-3 and glad I tried. No regrets. Realised how hard this is and a lot more respect for those who can run this pace for this distance, and all who run a marathon. Running with MEC and with Sam during the race made it much more enjoyable, great to have the encouragements and seeing people out there supporting on race day and during the buildup. Lesson 3: Sub-3 hours is a bloody fast time. Well done Mike, Ron and Sam – killed it!