Archive | July, 2016

Gold Coast Half Marathon

3 Jul

In February I signed up for a half marathon, thinking it was forever away and convincing myself it was a good idea. Such a good idea in fact, that I might just sign Dave up too… poor guy – he gets roped in to the craziest things!  But between February and now I blinked… and it seems about 6 months have passed…. So it is here that you find me, on the couch, after completing the Gold Coast Half Marathon with Dave this morning.

In March of this year I bit what felt like big bullet, I found myself a coach and joined the T Zero Multisport community. See, I’ve been doing various events over the last couple of years, and I’ve not got any better… my motto of slow and steady was successful – I would always finish – but so often it was so close to the back of the pack that the competitive spirit in me was getting a little deflated.  My enjoyment was being tampered by my poor performance.  I have absolutely LOVED having a coach!! Emma Quinn (nee Coman-Jeffries for anyone in the triathlon world) is fabulous! She gives me a training plan that fits around my crazy nursing schedule, and provides me with opportunities to extend myself, learn and enjoy training – and I’ve done just that.  Swimming drills, cycling drills, running drills – all making me fitter and stronger.  I can’t recommend her highly enough. Together we are looking at preparing me for the Noosa Triathlon, and ticking a few things off on the way.  Prior to the Gold Coast Half Marathon I’ve been working across these disciplines – and also trying to overcome shin splints that have been hindering my running. Our aim for today’s race was to go out and have fun… to consider it a long slow run with a few of my closest friends (all 10,000 of them!).  Distance wise my training was sitting at about the 10/11km mark so to do 21.1km was going to be a bit of a challenge but I had nothing to lose!

We drove down to the Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon, picked up our race packs, briefly checked out the expo, and checked into our hotel. While at the race check-in I ran into my AMAZING work colleague Shanya and her partner Anokha who were also committing to the half. We found our names on the big banner, and took a minute to have our photo taken on the podium (after all… we decided we were winners for just starting!).  Unfortunately, by the end of Saturday I had a cracker of a headache, so we found some Italian for dinner (Costa D’Oro – and when they say large pasta please believe them – it is HUGE!), then I took some pain killers and called it a night… knowing that we would have to be up well before the sun in the morning.

At 0430hrs our alarms went off (I think we both groaned audibly!).  We put on our already laid out clothes and headed for the G-Link (tram) station that was about 100m away from our hotel.  The tram is a very efficient system and they were running them every 7.5 minutes continuously to ferry runners to the start line. I admit I got a little bit anxious when the first, second and third trams to arrive were too full to let us on, but by then we were the first people in the “queue” for the next tram. We got on, and packed like sardines, travelled the 10 or so minutes up the line to the race start.  Personal space was not preserved I literally had people pushing up against me on every side!

Before we knew it we had arrived, and headed to the start line… and then in no time at all the race was underway. 10,000 people did the half marathon and the first kilometre was quite congested. It was difficult to find any space, and it made for a slow start – however perhaps this is better than going out way too hard to start with.  After about a kilometre we were able to find some space and set a comfortable pace.  I noted my kilometres were sitting at around the 6:20-6.30 min/km – and I really wanted to be going out at 6:30-6:40… I tried to pull it back a bit, and a couple of times encouraged Dave to go on as I didn’t want to slow him down. He informed me that he was going to run the race with me, and he was quite happy with the pace. So we continued.  The first half went along surprisingly well. I felt comfortable, was able to take on an electrolyte/carbohydrate gel, and plugged away.  I was wearing my “MND and Me” tank top and this proved to be a wise choice (I was not actively fundraising for them in this event and I felt a little guilty for pinching the encouragement – but it was greatly appreciated).  With about 70 runners in the half MND and Me had quite the cheer squad and I was cheered on at various times by spectators and other runners – bonus!

mndandme

Flat me!

From about the 12th kilometre I started to struggle. I felt like I was going to vomit and took a couple of fast walking intervals to try and get a good solid breath in and get rid of the feeling – but it continued to plague me for a bit. Again I tried to encourage Dave to go on ahead as I know he was capable of a much better time than if he ran with me, but he told me he was sticking with me and I’d just have to get over it. We were crossing the finish line together.  So, with encouragement from him every time I slowed (including one suggestion to just vomit and get it over with) I kept plodding away.  I wasn’t sure exactly the cause so I thought I would take on my second gel and some more water – again I slowed down to a walk to do this so that it didn’t make me feel any worse.  When I got to the 16th kilometre I told Dave that he had to make sure I ran the rest of the way and could do whatever necessary to encourage me there – I promised I wouldn’t divorce him!  While he wasn’t completely successful in this endeavour I was able to do a fair bit more shuffling (I wouldn’t call it running!!) from about 16-19km.

It’s funny what your head does to you in times like this. For me, running 1km isn’t such a big deal anymore. In fact 5km isn’t too big a deal either.  I knew at the 16km point I had “one parkrun to go” – but still this was not enough to mentally tough it out.  From 19-20km my shuffling was pretty average and reduced to a walk… but at 20km I found some life again…. Spectators at this point really start to line the route. It was here I was cheered on by part of my running community networks (thank you Amy Gibson – 12WBT) and then you hit the tents of all the different run and triathlon clubs.  When passing the MND and Me tent we got a massive cheer – and a few high fives!! This was enough to spur me on. As we turned into the finishing chute, and saw the sign that said 250m to go I was soooo relieved! My pace picked up as I headed towards the big line that said FINISH!! Dave and I did indeed cross it together – and both finished in 2:26:07. I had in my head I wanted to do somewhere between 2:20 and 2:30 so I was pretty happy with this – although also being slightly disappointed that I had walked bits and pieces of the run.

So… next stop in the journey is the Adelaide Half Marathon in 6 weeks time. So watch out Adelaide, I’ll be out with a mission to beat today’s time, and run the whole way without losing my mental fortitude.

Before I sign off completely I want to send a kudos to a few friends… firstly Kim – two days ago you had no idea you were going to run a marathon today… you therefore hadn’t tapered at all, nor trained for it, nor run more than 22kms in one go before… and yet today, you ran a marathon 42.2km, all running…. 4:40 (6:39 min/km) I seriously take my hat off to you. You are one incredible chick. Good on you for getting out there and just enjoying the run and the day – and I trust you can still walk tomorrow!

To my other friends including marathoner: Marcio (4:44), and half marathoners Jason (1:35), Marty (1:45), Anokha (1:58), Jane (2:18), Dave (2:26 – could have been faster if you didn’t run with me!), Kiara & Jacob (2:38), Shanya (2:43) – you guys are all absolute legends – thanks for sharing aspects of today and the weekend with me!

 

Statistics and information for those interested:

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