Now I realise why my 21.1km times were previously so slow. Today’s lesson is start the half like a 10km, then at the 10km mat, rinse and repeat.
Lorie is kind enough to drop me at Chinatown. Favourite dumpling house is closed so I jog 2km to the Pillars to meet HuRTS. Definite sense of nervousness with several in the best shape of their life. The proliferation of Qantas PJs concerns me. I’m in a work shirt as my Boss (Charlie) has decided to turn up.
Time to gauge the body – hammy is tight, right foot sore and don’t forget 95km in the legs last 6 days. With 5 min to go, I’ve decided beating 2015’s 73:01 PB will be nice.
Doing my best for front row seats in strange calmness: Warrior Charlie on the left, then Lewis, Neil and Olympian Shelly to my right. 2 min before go, Harry Summers steps in, stands on my feet and now I’m row 2. I thought he was a nice guy?
Muffled countdown and Charlie leads 10,000 runners out. He lasts 200m.
I am to be found on the right, side by side with Robin Vonk and as close to Shelly (#1) and Summers (#3) as I’ll ever be.
This crazy plan formulates as we bolt down Macquarie. Shelly / Summers then 3-4 others, then a bigger chase pack of 10. The intel is Neil will shoot for 70 flat (3:20s) and of course, I know Lewis has 5% body fat, 37 resting HR and is tapered. Why not, and I just go with it. Along for the ride is a vet in Lisa Weightman (off to Rio I think).
0-3km feels hard, 3-5km even harder and as an old friend from Perth Chris O’Neil bring us through 5km in 16:45, I’m a little worried.
Here comes the Battle of Pyrmont which everyone hates. Twists, hills, lack-of-crowds and that silly U-turn at 9km. Yes, the intensity feels like 10km pace and the signs of fatigue are real. Happy days seeing the Clay family and I feed off cheers from outbound Striders and HuRTS companions. It’s a blur but I recall Chairman, Barts, Timmy, Charlie and Rich Woo
10km in 33:20. One look at the watch, I’m just 35s off my 10km PB. Whoops.
Time to break free from the girl (Weightman) and her lead bike! O’Neil thinks similarly and thus we exit Pyrmont 5s ahead of a chase pack. What a stupid idea that was as by 13km we are reeled in leaving +4 blokes on my back.
Hammy has tightened (more), stomach is cramping and my quads are nearly done. I’m literally running scared around Hickson past the GU stations.
14-16km gets ugly as you pass the squashed car then grind up the elbow climb. Pace slows big time shown by two sobering splits (3:30s plus). Legs feel wobbly looping the tunnel and by Cahill Express, the pack is down to four. First I’m dropped, then come Macquarie St climb I fight back (love hills).
Round the bend, back via the crowds preparing for the final onslaught. I push the pace hoping to rid myself of 3 hungry blokes. No luck and come the bend (1.5km to go), two surge and I don’t respond. Back at the Gallery, my last attack closes the gap. Like an infected wound, it reopens and won’t heal.
Let’s just say it’s a long, fruitless chase back to Hyde Park. To be fair, I feel great rounding the final bend seeing 71.XX.
71:18, 9th place. 3:22 min/km average pace. Official result here.
Very very happy with the time, strategy and finish. Versus 2015 (73 flat in 36:33 then 36:27) the only difference is confidence. To conclude, I did well to tag myself to a group then hang on for dear life. No doubt a heavy week but I pulled up just fine, shown by the heroic effort lifting Trinity.
After a 180 turn, it’s time to clap the finishers through. Quiet relief not being ‘chicked’ by Weightman (low 72s). Good run from Robin (73:27), closely followed by Neil, whose slightly ‘off‘ 74 min proves he is mortal (2 marathons in April). Sad to see Lewis DNF after nasty stomach cramps. Other great runs: an ever solid Kiwi Mike (76 flat), and Lambert and Jeet (both low 78 PBs) are in the form of their life. Run Of The Day is Champ, who swiped 5 min off his PB for 83 flat.
By tempering Timmy’s go-out-hard approach, Chairman does well to bring our favourite personality home in low 83s. Well done.
Toby, [don’t know], myself, Jeet, Champ and Nick enjoying free kiwifruit and water.
The only time I’ll ever finish in front of Barts…. in rehab and in pink after a 2:29 Marathon in London.
First time for Lorie and Trinity watching a race.
Finally, a well earned B&E Roll at Revolver to top off a fantastic Sunday. A messy affair with lots of charred bacon.