Sunday, October 11, 2009

Melbourne Marathon 2:34:49

Woke up just before the alarm and had a couple of cups of coffee, a Le Rice and half a banana. I decided to head down to the hotel lobby at 5:30am so that I could get a taxi to the MCG.

I met this lady in the lobby who was looking a little flustered. Her husband who was supposed to be running the marathon with her had been vomiting all night because of food poisoning. She wanted someone to share a cab with so I was happy to oblige.

Upon arrival to the MCG I headed to the media room where the elite athletes were to meet. After getting changed, applying vaseline, etc, we were soon ushered down to the start area. We were able to wear our jackets which was handy as it was quite fresh. These would be returned to the MCG by the elite athlete co-ordinator. Very handy. I met up with my wing-man Sax and we were almost ready.

Deek gave his usual pre-race speech but to be honest I wasn't really listening. I was trying to focus on the job in hand. The weather seemed to be perfect and I was full of nervous anticipation.

The gun went off at 7am precisely and we were off....

It's a bit of an uphill start, and with the crowd at the start, a slow first km is to be expected. Well I spotted the first km marker and the time on my watch was 3:54, perhaps a little too slow but early doors. Settled into a nice group with Sax and didn't spot another km marker until we rolled through the 5km point in 18:21. That seemed about right, felt fairly comfortable, and we were in a nice group of 6-7 runners so everything was looking good.

I enjoyed the section round Albert Park, it's as flat as a pancake, the weather was cool and there was a slight breeze. Excellent for running. The pace must have quickened slightly and that was not intentional. We went through 10km in 36 flat with the group still tightly formed.

The next section had us exiting Albert Park and moving onto Beaconsfield Parade. We were still running in the group, taking turns up the front and we rolled through 15km in 53:19. The turnaround point on the parade was at approx 17km and the change of direction made no difference to the km splits, that was a good sign that wind would not be a factor today. Come 20km we were still tightly grouped and the clock read 1:11:45. Much quicker than planned pace but still feeling comfortable.

Halfway came in 1:15:46. Wow, that was over 30 seconds quicker than the same point in London. Surely I was going to pay for this. At the 25km mark, we were at the southern turnaround point. The time was 1:30:06. My wheels were still attached and I was feeling good.

I've never experienced running in a group like this before. Here we were working together, helping each other out at the drinks stops, it felt like a proper race. In the past I have often found myself running large sections of the race solo. Not today. This was a new experience and made for a more enjoyable race.

The 26km mark was an important one as that was the point in London where it all went ugly. Not today, I was still running smoothly. It was a case of setting mini-targets, and trying to run strong through to these points. So the focus was 28km, still felt okay, then 30km as we moved onto St Kilda Road, still feeling okay. This wasn't normal. The time was 1:49:05. Still way ahead of schedule.

At the 31km mark, the group was still formed, and then the lead 2 females went past. I think that sent a few shockwaves through our group as they looked to be running really strong. At this point I made the decision to try and stick with them. Well the group soon splintered and left me and Sax trying to hang on to the girls. More on this, there was the Japanese runner and Lisa Flint from the NSW team. Lisa was chatting to everyone, looking really strong. She was having a big race and was running just behind the Japanese girl.

Still running fairly well, the 32km mark arrived. So 10km to go in round numbers and time for the countdown home. I can't recall how long we hung on to the lead females, maybe a couple of km. Anyway, they gradually worked away from us and that left myself and Sax as the only survivors from our group.

By 35km, I was still running well under 4 minute kms. We had slowed a bit but not to the extent of my previous 9 marathons. I digress, the time was 2:07:56. I was starting to think sub 2:40 was a real possibility. A quick bit of mental arithmetic, so we have 32 minutes to run the last 7.2km. Surely...

By this stage we were running around the Botanical Gardens. There were a few hills to contend with that I recall, nothing too bad, and quite nice in a strange sort of way. The lead 2 females were still in sight and to my surprise I think I gapped Sax somewhere at this point. Upon exiting the Gardens, we were on the run for home. To my amazement, Sax had worked his way back on to my shoulder. Perhaps I was slowing? The 40km marker passed in 2:26:47. Sax mentioned I still looked strong and that if I felt good I should just go. Good was not a word I would use to describle how I felt at this point....time to grit the teeth and work the last section.

When you can see the MCG, you get a lift. Here we were, Sax and I, still running stride for stride. The 41km mark quickly passed and at this point Sax got away from me slightly. I think he could sense that the Japanese girl was slowing. As we approached the tunnel for the "G", I put in a real effort to catch the both of them. The 3 of us pretty much ran onto the oval together. At this point Sax seemed to take off and I was left to savour the final run home.

Coming round the oval I had gapped the Japenese runner and I could soon see the finishing clock. It started with a 2 and then a 34. I had the seconds on my side so I could do some show-boating and still sneak under 2:35. So the Freddie Flintoff celebration was on show and boy did that last 100m feel good. The time as I crossed the line read 2:34:49.

So that's it. Goal achieved. Sub 2:40. But the time, wow. To run a sub 2:35 was something I never dreamt was possible. I still can't quite believe it.

Here is a quick summary of the 5km splits:

5 00:18:21 00:18:21
10 00:17:39 00:36:00
15 00:17:19 00:53:19
20 00:18:26 01:11:45
25 00:18:21 01:30:06
30 00:18:59 01:49:05
35 00:18:51 02:07:56
40 00:18:51 02:26:47
42.2 00:08:02 02:34:49

Here are the weekly training kms in the 12 weeks up to and including the marathon:

1 77.6 kms
2 76.4 kms
3 57.6 kms
4 70.5 kms
5 93.0 kms
6 97.3 kms
7 88.2 kms
8 100.8 kms
9 70.3 kms
10 92.9 kms
11 67.8 kms
12 64.2 kms

Total 956.6 kms
Average 79.7 kms per week

My nutrition was spot on for this race. I ate much more than I normally would in the couple of days preceding the race and I think this made a huge difference. On race day I took a Powerade gel 30 minutes before the race, then during the race I took a further 4 of these at roughly 30 minute intervals. I only consumed water on the course and stayed clear of the sports drinks. Worked a treat.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


My chiro apt went well. My hips were fine but he had to make a slight adjustment to the lumber in the small of my back. Something like that anyway.

Another pasta lunch and then I travelled to Melbourne. That went well apart from losing my boarding card in the departure lounge!

Upon arrival in Melbourne I took it easy. I went out early for more pasta then a few provisions for the morning. In bed in the hotel by 9pm ready for the marathon the next day.

The weather seemed good and the plan was still going to be to run low 1:17 at halfway, then try and maintain that pace for as long as possible. My "A" goal was sub 2:38, my "B" goal was sub 2:40, and my "C" goal was sub 2:41:21 (my current PB).

Friday, October 09, 2009

Easier Friday

Back to the gym for a very gentle 4km just to turn the legs over. Time 20:00.

I've made an apt with the chiro tomorrow to check my hip alignment as I've had a touch of sciatica the last few days. I'm pretty sure it is nothing to worry about.

The carbo load started with a huge feed of pasta for tea. I'm going all out to eat plenty the next few days as looking back at my London experience, I may have not taken enough carbs on board.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Easy Thursday

I went to the gym and ran 9km easy on the treadmill in 40:22 so that's 4:29/km. Started really slow and wound the pace up a bit towards the end.

Felt pretty good. I had a good stretch afterwards and took it easy the rest of the day.

Another early night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nice 'n' easy

I pulled up okay after the 3km race. Phew.

Rested all day and an early night.

Getting close now, only 4 more sleeps...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Last serious hit-out

I'd heard on the grapevine that the quicks at tonight's 3km were only going to race the first 2km. Plus a couple of my normal sparring partners were injured/sick. Their 2km pace was too quick for me so I was left with the prospect of an out and out time trial running Hans Solo...

I did a 4km warm-up and caught up with Baz for a chat. I changed into my spikes and ran some strides and before long we were under starters orders.

Lets go back a step, I was thinking low 9 for tonight. Conditions were pretty good with a bit of a headwind on the back straight. As always, there was some sub 9 banter before the race with the lads but I was very much talking it down. I'd go out hard the first km and see what happens....

A quick first 200m in approx 32 secs, then settled into my own race with Mark and Cale running up front. I went through the first km in 2:55 which would give me a chance of a good time. The middle km is what lets me down and true to form I started to slow with my 2km split being 6 mins exactly (a 3:05 km or 10 sec slowdown). I was getting a fair bit of guidance from the sidelines and knew that the last 2.5 laps were going to hurt. With 800m to go, I needed to lift and I probably ran a 72 second lap which left me needing a 69 second last lap to break 9. Well I kicked as hard as I could and with 200m to go I lifted my cadence (more coaching). The last 100m was a blur but I crossed the line in 8:58.29.

A very unexpected 3 second PB. Another goal achieved. Plus I won the race with Mark and Cale dropping out at 2km!

A great confidence booster just before the marathon. A much better run than Saturday's race. Easy running for the rest of the week with plenty of rest.

I am a sub 2:40 marathon runner. I am a sub 2:40 marathon runner. That's my mantra for the remainder of this week.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Did nothing on the running front.

It was Marion's birthday so we had a nice day. Cake and beer is a nice combination and is a good form of carb loading.

Back to serious business tomorrow. The 3km at Mingara...

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Woke up to more wet weather, but decided to get out there fairly early to get the run out of the way. I drove down to LCNP and thought I'd run for about and hour and a half.

Again I ran the Striders 10km course. Despite quite heavy rain at the start, this soon became light drizzle and turned into perfect running weather. I finished the first 10km in 43:31, then doubled back and did the majority of the same route again missing out the Scribbly gums section. I slowed a little as I didn't want to get carried away. Total run time 1:26:33 covering 19.5km (4:26/km).

So that's 67.8km for the week. Next week will be very easy. I'll rest Monday, maybe do a 3km race on Tuesday, rest Wednesday, 10km easy on Thursday and that will be it until the race on Sunday.

If the weather is like today next Sunday in Melbourne I will be licking my lips...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Striders 10km Homebush 5th in 34:26

Woke up this morning not too bad. I limited my beer consumption to 4 beers (pints), so should be able to get away with that...

Weather was ordinary at best. Lots of rain and heavy winds. I decided that in these conditions I'd be happy with 34 anything. Quicker than that would be a great run.

Started with a quick first km in 3:15. Then struggled to keep the pace up from there on. I went through 5km in 17:01 and knew at that point that sub 34 wasn't to be. Tried to keep the effort up on the 2nd lap but it was difficult running solo. The weather wasn't as bad as I had feared and it was quite pleasant running in the light rain. There were a few windy sections but overall not too bad. I finished in 34:26 and 5th overall so that will do. Neither a confidence booster or shatterer. A par run.

Spoke with Saxon at the end. We were talking pacing strategy for Melbourne. The early money is on a low 1:17 first half and then try and hold that pace for as long as possible thereafter. If it looks like bad weather then there will have to be a rethink.

Friday, October 02, 2009


I had a massage at 8am. The muscles were not too tight so it wasn't a real painful affair. I suppose that's testimony to not having any real niggles at the moment and running well as a result.

A few beers planned this evening with Shark and Worky. Will try and keep a lid on it as I have the 10km race on Saturday...

I didn't hear about the job interview from yesterday. Back to the drawing board I guess...

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Up early for a run at LCNP. Weather was already heating up at 7:30am...

I did the Striders 10km course in 44:20. Then doubled back up Scribbly gums again, then turned round at the 3km marker back to the finish. Estimate this to be 15.3km all up in 1:08:24 so that's 4:28/km.

Not a great run but felt strong at the end. I've got it into my head that I've gone off the boil a little bit. I need to be thinking more positively.

Tomorrow is a rest day and I have a massage booked.