Race Report – M7 Marathon 2016
#marathon17 done and dusted.
I survived yet again to face another marathon. The plan before I got sick earlier in the week was to run with the 4:15 pacer. I’m just not in top racing condition at the moment with hamstring niggles and HR way too high for any long distance running at speed. So I figured that 4:15 was realistic. Then of course, I was hit with a head cold Monday afternoon that had me bedridden all day Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. So much for any low k runs in my taper week. In fact I was peeved that I got sick – it seems to happen just before race day. Maybe I should take a week off work as part of my taper as there’s always someone sniffing and coughing leading up to race day. Then yesterday I did my first run since getting sick and my Garmin stats were off the charts. My recovery time for the 5 k’s I ran was 36 hours which meant that I should be running again sometime this evening – not encouraging stuff. Needless to say I considered a downgrade of my race time to 4:30 but still figured starting with the 4:15 pacer was reasonable and who knows what can happen on race day.
So I got to the start line feeling pretty good after the drama of the last 6 days. The weather was just right so it was just a matter of starting. The race started and I focused on running at a around a 6 minute pace. I was ahead of the 4:15 pacer but soon she caught up and passed me – we were only 15k’s out. I checked my Garmin and my pace would have got me back in 4:08 so she was flying. The poor suckers on that bus were destined for a meltdown sometime soon and sure enough they disintegrated at the half. She was walking on her own when I hit 22k’s. One thing I’ve learned through all my marathons is to run at the pace that suits you on the day.
I was still feeling pretty good at 25k’s (just like a typical Sunday morning long run on the M7) with my finish time fluctuating between 4:04 and 4:12. But then at about 28k to 30k I started to get some serious pain around the hips and the hip flexors particularly, which shortened my stride and slowed my pace. I could see the wheels falling off – it must have been those damned hills. Did I tell you about them? Why do they put hills into a marathon? The distance is bad enough!
And then I thought “how am I going to do the Mudgee marathon in 3 weeks?” Focus on this one matey, km by km.
To my credit I ran non stop through to 37k’s including the hills with my HR sitting around 145 bpm but my hip flexors were killing me so I pulled over at the bubbler to drink and relieve the stress. When your body is stressed like that you have to focus on where you are at in the moment. If you start to think about the finish line when you’ve still got 5 to 10k’s to go, it makes the mental anguish so much worse.
So I shuffled on to 40k’s and had to pull over and rest the flexors again. I then heard steps behind me getting closer and the 4:30 pacer pulled along side and encouraged me to start running (I didn’t want to be beaten by the 4:30 pacer but was prepared to if all else failed). She kept me going and before I knew it there was only 1.2 km’s to go. I just hung on and kept running. Finally I was off the M7 cycle path and onto the home stretch. How good is it to know that you’re so close to finishing after such an arduous effort. And then the athletic track was before me. I had nothing more to give so I maintained the pace and crossed the finish line in 4:28:48.
Oh what a feeling!