Walk Run the line
The start of the 2014 Auckland marathon was easy, and the finish was hard. Trite but true. It was mild and overcast at 6am and as Ron and I ran together our pace goal of 4:10 min/ks felt very comfortable. That was a good sign, and meant that the hoped for 2:55 and PR was a possibility. I found myself wanting to speed up the race ie fast forward time so I could arrive at the St Heliers turnaround, where I felt the race proper would begin. But we were diligent in our pace setting – not overly structured or dominated by the watch, just holding a very constant effort. It meant that uphill we seemed to get overtaken by our bunch, who we would then fly past on the downhill.
Running down the bridge is so fun. It’s a lovely gradient, and the cityscape on our left was a real treat to take in. Through halfway in 1:27 something – about predicted, feeling good. Check. The conversation flowed as we made our way westward along the waterfront. By the time we pulled into St Heliers, chatter was a bit less frequent, but still there. It had been like a training run with extra tempo.
We saw Ron’s entourage at the turnaround and gave them a smile and wave. I pulled out the ipod and turned on my beats. “Lets do this, Ron!” I called as we started to pick up the tempo. I drew some satisfaction as a runner (probably a good guy) who had tail-gated us for the last half hour dropped off. I think I got carried away though because I went to running 3:45s, which was well above the target pace. The plan was to increase pace at St Heliers, but I think i should have turned it up a half notch instead of a full because although I cleared out on my own and caught all of our original bunch, within a couple of ks I was feeling tight and tiring. I was now back at the same 4:10s but my heart rate was a good 10 beats higher as I worked hard to maintain what previously was easy. Oh well, the dice had rolled and now I had to play. So I dug in, and counted down the remaining kilometres to Victoria Park.
Despite the increasing effort I maintained the pace, albeit for periods where I would falter a bit, and then recorrect. These were getting more and more frequent and by the time I hit Quay Street I lost the battle for even pace. I had picked up another tail-gater courtesy of my swinging pace and when he pulled away at the Ferry Building I had nothing to give. My elapsed time still gave me hope that I could make low 2:55s and so I kept working as best I could. I saw Todd and Jaz outside the PWC building which was a great lift (although puzzling to see Todd who I thought was running behind me). Their video shows me looking a bit grey as my short strides move me along at that point. A few checks over my shoulder reassured me that I wasn’t going to be swallowed, and I ground out the last k, crossing officially in 2:56:44 – my second best time (and best for 10 years). For me: a good result, and nearly a great one.
First Half 1:27:48 Second Half 1:28:53 Net time 2:56:41