Archive | August, 2015

Against all odds…

3 Aug

The Brisbane Marathon Festival was coming around again… I enjoyed my first half marathon had decided to sign up again. I convinced Dave to join me, and then had the added bonus of having a great friend – Michelle Brown – also agreeing to participate, flying up from Adelaide to stay with us for the weekend and run the race together.

It seemed like a great idea…. Until two months before the event we decided to buy an apartment, and sell a house…. packing a house sure messed with my training plan. Then we took a holiday to Tasmania (which admittedly we were still fairly active on, but not nearly as much as the training plan would have suggested). And of course thrown into that mix was the dreaded shin splints. They were back… cutting short attempts at long runs as excruciating pain ran up the front of my leg… suddenly I was starting to look at the event with a little bit of hesitation rather than excitement. Going into the half marathon yesterday my longest run was 7km but I had more frequently been doing 5km runs… and I was going to have to do 21.1km…. I just had absolutely no idea how I would do it.


Michelle and I get ready to start

0445hrs rolled around far too quickly for my liking. I was however thankful for our now inner city location and the fact that we could leave home at 0500hrs when previously it would have had to have been far earlier. We prepared and headed out – with nervous anticipation. A short walk to the start line, and after the mandatory toilet stop (which there was a rather long queue) arrived at the start line with 5 mins to spare….definitely no time to wait around and get nervous!

0600hrs – we were off. The Black Eyed Peas sent us on our way (pre-recorded) with “Let’s get it started” – “Let’s get it started in here…. And the bass keeps runnin’ runnin’, and runnin’ runnin’, and runnin’ runnin’, and…” you get the idea….

I sent Michelle and Dave on their way and wished them all the best – it would be the last I would see of them until about the 15.5km and 16.5km marks respectively. I went out with the pack and was feeling pretty good. I had forgotten about the few hills at the start… but no worries, all good!  Up over the Story Bridge as the sun was coming up – it was beautiful! I was still pretty happy at this point – just chugging along with the pack and feeling like I had found a pretty steady pace. When horror – I looked at the pace on my watch and it said 7:15 min/km. I haven’t run this slow in ages (no wonder I was feeling good).  I then was having a conversation with myself about needing to increase my pace, but the other part of me wondered if perhaps this pace might just be what helps me finish given the distance was so much longer than I had done in a while… I shrugged my shoulders and decided to just keep running – however slow or fast that was.

At about the 6km mark I noticed a runner pulled off to the side bent over and stretching. I asked if she was okay and she informed me she was. Shortly after that same runner was sitting on my shoulder – she thanked me for checking up on her (no problem) and we ran together for a while. A couple of km’s later she said – you know you run a nice steady pace and I’m using you right? I laughed (with what little breath I had) and said that I was happy to help, but I had to let her know that shortly that would change… There was a drink station coming up and I wanted to take on a gel. I’d bought a couple, but as I got prepared to consume ahead of the drink station I only found one… ah well… I wonder if someone behind me stopped to pick up a free gel somewhere along the way…

10km things were staring to hurt. A lot. It was from here that unfortunately I have to admit to doing intervals of running and walking for the rest of the event.

I found Michelle looking strong when I hit about 15.5km (she was almost at 19km!), and Dave shortly after at about 16.5km (he was at about the 18km mark). Both were looking good and doing far better than I (obviously!).  As I kept trying to make my legs move, I was rewarded with two stumps of concrete dragging slowly along the ground. I kept giving myself mini challenges in an attempt to keep up my running intervals.  At the start of the race I had decided to put on the radio – I was listening to the Christian radio station coming out of Sydney (couldn’t find the Brisbane version on my app).  The first half of the race it was great – some lively tunes kept me going. The second half of the race was a sermon!! Right when I needed some snappy tunes to keep me going I had a fairly constant voice… His sermon was mostly on when Christ comes back. He stated some of you are probably wishing it would happen so it would end this sermon… I admit I had the fleeting thought that I wish it would happen so I didn’t have to finish this race!! Anyway… I digress…

At the 17km mark the marathon leader passed me! It is impressive to see the speed these guys have – particularly when you know they have run twice as far as you!! The first indication he was coming was the police motorbike escort that passed me – I got well out of the way…  At about the 18km mark the second place marathoner passed me – again I tried to stay out of the way and cheered them on – admiring the fitness and strength it takes to run around a course at that speed!

finish line

Dave, Michelle and I at the finish line

Anyway, once they were gone it was back to me and my plodding. I knew I had less than “one parkrun” – (ie less than 5km) to go – but try as I might I couldn’t make my legs move! So the intervals continued. I didn’t want to keep Michelle and Dave waiting at the finish line, so I kept trying to move quickly but kept being disappointed!

Only one km to go and I wanted to run the whole way but still found myself too exhausted to do so. There is nothing quite as good as the finishing chute. You want to look good, strong and fit but I felt the complete opposite. However, one foot after the other (slowly) and I eventually crossed the line. The photographer will have had plenty of time to get my picture… haha…

My official time was 2:43:59 – really a little disappointing. My best is 20 minutes quicker than that!! With an average speed of about 7:44 min/km it’s certainly no record breaker. But I crossed the same finish line as the winners, Michelle and Dave – and the fact that I finished at all with such poor training was on its own a bit of a miracle in my opinion.

Michelle and Dave had good solid runs. Michelle did an impressive 2:10:51, and Dave 2:19:08.  Dave was caught at the finish line with the full marathoner (he couldn’t cross the line because they had put out the black finish ribbon). They both did incredible jobs and I’m proud of both of them. It was a joy to be able to do an event with some others… I’m also proud of my mate Kim – who is doing the Noosa Triathlon with Smiling for Smiddy with me in November – she ran 2:07:40 – injured!! You’re a champion Kim (needless to say I didn’t see her on the course – she was clearly the rabbit and I the turtle).

So, Brisbane Marathon Festival is over for another year. It’s a well run event, with a pretty course. I’d consider doing it again. BUT I’ve committed to doing the Adelaide Half Marathon with Michelle next year and I don’t think I can do two back to back only a few weeks from each other… so maybe I’ll be back in 2017…

Dave finish line

Dave finishes with the first (record breaking) marathoner!

finisher certificate halfmarathongear