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COASTAL WATERS FAWCAWST: HAWD AND FAWST! (Part 2)

July 11, 2014

When we last touched base the time for talking and preparing was just about at an end. It was just about time to hit the road to see how much pain this 42km would provide. It was just about time to see just how far away I am from getting within a bulls roar of the best of the best, many of whom were in the elite start zone. Then as if I wasn’t ready enough, Australian marathon legend Rob De Castella decided that an old fashioned rev up was just what we needed. Normally when older legends commandeer the microphone prior to the start, it’s usually a brief Q&A session spoken almost quietly. The manner in which “Deek” decided to use his mic time was almost designed to wake up the neighbours!

 

The route itself seemed simple enough, head south for 15km to Burleigh before returning through the start section, then head north for 5.5km looping through Labrador before returning to the finish chute in Southport. There were no hills to speak of save for a small rise at 30km through the start zones, plus a rise and fall over a couple of bridges. There was not a substantial breeze blowing, which allayed some of my pre-race fears given a large portion of the route incorporated the esplanade through Surfers Paradise (among other areas). What I was surprised at however was some of the narrow stretches of road at the northern end of the course after passing through Broadbeach. The concern I had was that with the narrow road divided to complete the “out and back” course profile, the traffic would be chaotic in the middle of the road where many runners would go to avoid crowding near the gutters and parked vehicles where I assumed many would position themselves.

I was hopeful that the traffic would be reasonably clear by about 10km from where I was starting (just in front of the 4:15 pace group) and fortunately I was able to pace myself to a decent spot near the 4 hour group well before this marker. Energy levels were still at a high level when I mentioned to another runner that we had better keep our eyes peeled for the elite guys passing us in the other direction. At about 12km, after the wheelchair athletes had long passed us (they started about 15 minutes before the able bodied athletes), we saw a couple of cars, a few media bikes, a police car…..and then 13 of the world’s best flash past us in virtually a single group save for a couple close behind obviously tactically saving their energy for the later stages. But there was no time to stop with the turning point not all that far away.

Having run at the pace of the 4 hour group for about 7km, I decided that it was time to slightly increase the tempo. Everything was going well for the next 15km with a nice steady rhythm and pace being churned out and fluids taken at almost every opportunity, a legacy from the cramping that plagued the campaign in Canberra in April. Everything seemed easy, even if a couple of adjustments to the calf bandaging and footwear had to be made at 27km. Then the fatigue set in and the quads started burning. It wasn’t overly inhibiting but it did cause a slowing down in my pace.

Fast forward to the end of the 40th kilometre, and I had unexpected company. Often it is reassuring to be able to run the last section with someone in just as much hurt as myself. It sure makes a difference to Canberra where it was a virtual solo finish anyway. This time, one of the pacers for the 4 hour group had also blown up so badly he had fallen off the pace. Together with someone who was dressed up as a Ghostbuster (and to be honest he probably couldn’t wait for City2Surf in August, either that or he was desperate for 5 minutes on the tube in the news bulletins) we trudged up towards the waiting crowds behind the barriers. Thinking their cheers weren’t exactly loud enough, certainly not in the De Castella pep talk decibel range, I tried to encourage them to make a little more noise with mixed success. At least the crowd in the stand at the finish line was very accommodating when it came to cheering me home.

3 Marathon Medals down, several more to come...God Willing.

3 Marathon Medals down, several more to come…God Willing.

The end result could be considered a mixed blessing for me compared to my goals. The aim of breaking 4 hours once again eluded me, but only narrowly. The net time of a tick over 4:01 at least meant I had run a distance best time by over a quarter of an hour, testament to the positive training sessions throughout this bloc. It may even have been improved if I had done one or two more taper type runs before the marathon, there was a time between the Sunday afternoon and the Friday morning in the week prior where I was inactive, something to learn for next time I suppose! Still, the rewards of a PB, another training shirt and a third marathon medal to add to the collection were more than satisfying.

After the run I didn’t exactly feel that good. The legs were their normal heavy selves so I was expecting that, but I was struggling to stomach the water and gatorade almost 35-40 minutes after the run. Even a trip to the porta-loos didn’t solve the problem, which was only cured by a late lunch. In fact I feel I over re-hydrated with my weight taking a couple of days to return to normality. Training will resume at the start of next week, with more events to look forward to starting with City2Surf in just over a month’s time.

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