I have never written about a road race. They are flat, we all know where they go, what is there to say?
Well, this is a BIG race, thousands show up, it is always won in a sub 2-10 time. Top Kenyans come to win it. It was the Australian Marathon Championship this year. IAAF also give it the top rating as a Gold event.
What does all this mean? It is huge, over 10 000 runners. It is flat, fast and cool. You run along the surf beach through the iconic the Gold Coast, Main beach, Surfers, Boroadbeach and beyond. It has COLOSSAL crowds and people come from all over the world to compete.
For me this was an extra, an add-on, I did it because I could. An aim to raise money for a charity MND and Me put me on the start line. You know I run a lot, 100km being my last outing. I have run the 42.2 distance on road officially 4 times now. I have done it off-road and in training more than I dare say. This led me to forget/think I could do this easy. Stupid, stupid me.
Mike (my running guru) and I had a goal, beat George W Bush. 3 hrs 44.51. I reckoned I could do it. 6 weeks post The North Face 100 and with a week off, Coach Hanny gave me a 4 week program and a taper. She was up beat but admitted my prep was compromised, she likes 3 months to do this sort of thing. My trail running friends were still in recovery mode and I was doing sub 4 min interval work…….
All went pretty well, I did the quality sessions and my speed was picking up. I had not achieved so many Strava badges in ages. My total distance and time dropped a LOT. Soon a cool orange Motor Neurone Disease and Me singlet/cap/top arrived and donations were rolling in. I was excited.
Now the excuses start, I got sick, a cold, Lesley was also busy getting ready for a trip away. Work was flat-out. So no taper, no running for a week, just Codral Cold and Flu for 5 days and no sleep. We also forgot to book our hotel and ended up paying through the nose to be at Versace…small pain!
I am a dab hand at race day now. I sleep well and know what I feel like. I did turn up at South Bank a week late and had to go down the coast to get my number though……. My daughter and I had a great time at the race expo and I even got out of there without paying to park!
I like staying on the Spit, as you catch a boat to the start, its cold though. In the predawn gloom, Mike and I sat in a whale boat en route to a monster start with 15 000 others.
The plan was simple enough, start slow, stay slow then see. 5-15/km max. It was the same as last year. We always stuff this up. We should go much slower.. Anyway, Mike’s back was crook and I still sniffled, snuffed and coughed.
For starters we were fine, down the beach , along Hedges and to the turn around. Many many people cheered me on in the MND and Me colours. The elites coming the other way were frightening. Some looked near death, some were flying at a pace I can only go for 400m. Some had already pulled out. I did not see Solly Litchfield or Jodie Obourne, two female runners I follow but it is a big race!
Around half way Mike and I split up he dropped back a wee bit and I did not know, its easy in a crowd. With no one to cool my stupid head I pushed on for 10 km. This led me to the 30K mark and here I fall apart. As usual. This is not trail running, its relentless, steady and fast. I was ready for the falling ability though, expecting it! I slowed in order to avoid stopping, 5-15 to 6min kms and dragged myself through to the end.
MND and me supporters all along the way cheered and gave me a huge lift. I kept trying to remember who I was running for, people who can’t anymore! No chance of pulling out. I got to the end, walking a few drink stops and the low bridges got me to the finish.
The time was crap, 3-55.19 faster than last year but 10 minutes too slow. I have reasons but no excuses. It’s no good now complaining about a little cold! Road marathons are hard. Relentless speed is needed but they are over soon enough. Longer races make the sub 4 hour duration easier to digest but you can’t avoid the speed you have to keep up.
I ran in Mizuno Wave Universe 5’s, I used the 4’s in last years race. These are super light, 80 grams!!!! The lightest shoe in the world, I train in Skora but race in these, they are so light, thin and flexible but have a bit of cushion. It’s nice to have a race day shoe. 5km is the distance Mizuno suggest a person use them for…….hotel slippers offer a similar feel.
As per my cycling preference, a neck kerchief was in use, Runyon from the US now for me. Rapha silk is nice but after 10 years, I tried a new one!
We might have a go next year, though a desire to run the Grand Lavaredo in Italy come June 2015 could scupper that. Its 120km and way over 5k of vertical reaching 2700m plus I think I know what I prefer now.