Thursday, April 20, 2006

Last Word on Canberra

Marathon morning and I'm ready to go ....... I was up at 5 am two hours before the start, did what I had to do (in the bathroom department) had a bit to eat before 6 am and could allow myself to get excited. (This worked well as there were no "pit stops" during any part of the race, I probably put too much emphasis on this).

For me, there are 3 stages of a marathon ...... the Float, the Grind and the Grunt.

The Float

The Float is the first 14 km where my aim is to stay comfortable and hold back in my running. In Canberra I had a good float. The first two K's were along side the 3:15 pacer, who was a touch quicker than the schedule for that time, but I had no trouble drifting off him and the group. Around 6K, I noticed the group of the 3:15's were closing in behind me, so I surged a little and took off my gloves and long sleave top to discard to Katy around the 10K mark.

Katy's words of encouragement at this stage were something like ..... "Oh Bugger" as she missed the photo opportunity. It was a good float and Garmin had decided I was running 4:30's after initially telling me I was quicker than this. I wasn't paying much attention to time and just feeling good.

The Grind

14 through to 28K is head down and just grind out the miles for me. I was holding the float and remember, that at the 12K sign, I felt like settling into the grind by releasing my Inner Kenyan. I kept my IcK inside and held back until 14K came around. At the 14K mark the 3:15 group was closing in behind me and I surged again by gearing into an easy though quicker stride. This was the last I hoped to see of the pace group which I figured was way ahead of their schedule. At this point my pace dropped to 4:25. It was a little further on that I hit some hills. The hills didn't affect me too much, but they did wash off some speed and I was back to 4:30's or thereabouts. I saw Tesso and she yelled some encouragement which I enjoyed and I also called back to a few others as we passed since I had turned and they were coming the other way.

The half way mark, half marathon was my first check of time and very close to 1:37. This was 1 min 10 sec slower than Columbus 1:34:49 so I knew I was a little off that pace. Average to this stage was 4:36 (Garmin had lied!). The 3:15 pace group closed in around the 23K so I surged off them again and was getting pretty damn tired of their persistence. At 25K I saw Katy again and posed for photos still feeing good just over the 4:30's min/K. The pace group overtook me around his time although they remain just ahead of me instead of sailing off into the distance. I was happy where I was and running my own race rather than sticking with them. Had this been around the 35K mark, I would have tried to stay in the group. They were just ahead at 28K and I was content with a pretty solid grind.

The Grunt

I think my pace slipped on one of the hills and I never really picked it up from there. My pace at this time was around 4:45 which wasn't overly noticeable to me and I did stop for a drink at the 30K and a quick stretch. I had taken GU (actually Leppin) at every 10K and this was the last thing I took except fluids for the remainder of the race. I drank some of my caffeine drink whilst walking as there was no way to drink and run. I drank and ran at all other times. Each time was the same, as I drank it was like holding my breath and then I would gasp for air for about 50 metres or so until I was breathing comfortably again. My pace pretty much held 4:45 up to 4:50's right through until the end depending on hills. It was special for me to see the first timers and PB's finishing but another of the moments I treasure is when my friend Glenno came in a few minutes after me and we shook hands, nothing more than that, it was well done. Still feeling strong, I walked and jogged back to the 40K mark and ran with a few runners to encourage them home. I did this a few times and was looking for the last of the people I know from our running group.

Katy was so supportive, I was lucky to have her cheering me on and taking photos and encouraging the Queenslanders as they came past.

Whilst this wasn't quite a PB, it was satisfying to post a similar time to my last marathon being 2 and half minutes different. With two runs, I can say that I made the sub 3:20 level and I am proud of that.


Blogger E-Speed said...

Sounds like a good race! Did you say you were doing another marathon the weekend after?

4:51 am  
Blogger Tesso said...

Gees, you look as good in a bikini as you do in your chilli pants :-)

10:14 am  
Blogger Tammy said...

As well you should be proud! Way to plant that Black Army flag my comrad!

The end of my marathon was less of a grunt, and more of a whimper. I'll try for a grunt on the next one! ;)

11:20 am  
Blogger Robert Song said...

Surely the last section should have been called The Fade, as outlined in your 9th March post.

Seems you ran exactly to what you outlined there. Was this a self fulfilling prophecy or just an accident. ( I wonder why "Fulfillingness' First Finale" comes to mind?)

I am glad someone else found it difficult drinking and breathing from those water bags.

8:08 pm  
Blogger Robert Song said...

Looking back at my previous marathons and reading those articles you quoted , I have become a firm believer in The Fade. I still don't think it is the best way to run. Even pace must be best but it just does not seem to work in practice.

I have made up a spreadsheet now, where you can enter your initial pace, how far you think you can keep that pace and what you expect to fade by in the remaining distance and it spits out your time.
At the moment I have locked in 4:35 till 32k and then a 16 second fade for 3:16:07. I might be a little optimistic on the 16 seconds though.

As to my training pace? That is a difficult question. This is what I am thinking at this stage but I like to listen to the body and adapt to what I think it can handle on the day. This is a risky phase I'm getting into and you've got to get to the start line.

Long Runs @ 5:00 - 5:10 pace.
15k @ 4:15 - 4:30 pace.
1k intervals @ 3:45 - 4:00 pace
3k intervals @ 4:00 - 4:10 pace. Rest will be recovery runs @ over 5:00 pace.

8:56 pm  
Blogger Wobbly man said...

Great race report dude! Sorry I didn't get to meet you - next year maybe?

9:55 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I am impressed because you didn't do any pit-stop!

2:55 am  
Blogger Papa Louie said...

Congratulations on your race performance!

10:07 am  
Blogger Chelle said...

ha ha nice photos... love the idea of the balloon tying to the best looking member in my pace group next weekend too :)

10:45 am  
Blogger robtherunner said...

I enjoyed the race wrap up. I am not sure what I consider the last 10K of a marathon. A fade is usually a good way to describe it although if everything works out right hopefully fading is not a problem. I think a grind is a good description.

11:25 am  
Blogger D said...

Great recap Toast. You're the man!

12:03 pm  
Blogger *jeanne* said...

Imagine: 3:20 for a marathon and considering the last 10K a FADE. Wow!

Your fade is way faster than my sprint! FAR AND AWAY faster!

Congratulations on a super run!


8:07 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Finally catching up - great recap! Congrats again.

7:32 am  
Blogger Eddie said...

It was an excellent event ILT. Reading your recap took me right back there. Congratulations on a great marathon and thanks for your and Katy's encouragement along the way.

10:05 am  

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