Really a case of misguided nostalgia from ’15 where once again, I wait till Friday noon to sign up for a Sunday marathon. Timing is highly awkward being 2 weeks from C2S. Therefore, the main goals are bank a mara and don’t destroy the legs. This race closes out a respectable 120 week, similar to last week.
M7 is 42km of concrete smashing down a rolling cycle path, by yourself. Perhaps the highlight is watching highway traffic against a sunrise back-drop.
The course change this year makes it more lonely: 21km south, then 21km north. It’s harder than last year as the low point at 21.1km makes for some unappetising climbing after 25km.
Nutritional strategy for the day? Breakfast: nothing, race: nothing. Weak stomach.
The first task is to scout the competition and I am in the dark. All I recognise is Christian Ellis from HuRTS. No signs of the Kenyan nor Brendan Davies from last year…
After 1.75 laps of the track, I learn of two semi-elite guys (Matt Cox in black and Barry Keen in orange). No point hanging on at 3:20s. The reality is with #4 well back inside 1km, today will be lonely.
0-6km is flattish and is always about discovery. I sense that 3:45s is aggressive but not too suicidal. Holding me back is a nagging stitch and really sleepy legs. By 8km, #1-2 are out of sight and all I can focus on is getting to the 21.1km in one piece.
It is confirmed at 10km (mid 37s) where the quads start to whimper on the hills. Making matters worse, the stitch becomes stomach cramping leaving me considering a loo-stop. It’s a long grind to half-way and one best forgotten.
Some 40 min later, I breathe a sign of relief seeing #1-2 heading home. Too far ahead to chase and also, it means the turn is close. Simple maths has #1 (Cox) with 5 min on #2, who has 2 min on me.
Half way in 78 flat and a long way back home. Luckily #4 does not look like a full-time athlete and is back a good 4 min.
Worst is yet to come, namely 25-30km. It is a set of drawn-out, false hills where the climb is not obvious. Just as unnerving is what the watch says (3:50s) despite my efforts. The mind starts to falter by 30km which puts me in temporary survival mode:
– Why didn’t I park my bike on this track?
– Should I walk?
I rally myself via the cheers of fellow Striders (and Christian) as they south. 30-35km is much nicer, the stomach issues ease and my cadence lifts. The watch also starts to rejoice (3:40s) leaving me in a holding pattern of mild discomfort and boredom to 40km.
By now the legs are jelly and the final U-bend with 1km to go signals the end of my quads. As I round the bend onto the track, is the atmosphere electric enough to inspire a sprint finish?
No. The result is the slowest 300m track session ever. Big relief
rolling crawling into the chute.
2:36:23, 3rd place, ave pace 3:42s. 1st half 78:05, 2nd half 78:18.
Not concerned to be 3 min off last year and 7 min off Canberra in April. It’s a tough course, I’ve had a flu-interrupted lead up and I finished OK. Run summary below. Mostly 3:40s, with 2-3km of shuffling at 3:50s. Should I be embarrassed?
A few photos from the presentations. The winner is a class act (2:21), well in front of #2 who never gave me a chance (2:32).
No idea who these people are… I have my doubts whether they ran. All is forgiven when they hand over a few freebies.
A bloke (Michael) got the world record for the fastest-half-in-a-suit and came in 2nd place. He beat the old record of mid 78s by 3s!
Many thanks to Lorie and Trinity,the cheer squad…
In conclusion, it’s important to be satisfied with simply finishing and fighting back from bad patches. That is today’s lesson.
The body is well conditioned to the marathon and so the hope is a respectable C2S effort.