I flew in earlier than I normally would, so I had the whole day Saturday to relax and eat! After a big sleep in and a dip in a lake I was feeling excited for this one.
|a little lake in the 'chilly' Queensland winter :P
Well it's Brisbane, compared to Warrnambool it was guaranteed to be awesome. But it seems it really has turned it on for me! Forecast was for a clear day with mid 20s. Perfect running for many I'm sure, a little on the hot side for what I'm used to! Checking the forecast it seems there are similar conditions ahead for Alice Springs in two weeks!
I checked the profile of this course before the race, figured it wouldn't be too bad, but best check first. It's a hilly course but nothing really crazy. There is essentially a 21km loop for the half and the full basically do two laps of this. Over the bridge is probably the worst section of the race, with maybe the finish area being the other tough part. Interesting point to note, the council doesn't allow a lot of the roads to be closed including the bridge, and as a result the course runs on public paths that have to be shared with pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge was the worst since it is about 2m wide and fairly early in the race, making for quite a bottleneck.
I was copping a bit of pressure from friends to go out and try for a PB but I wanted to play it safe and set my sights on the 4 hour pacer. The first 4 or 5 km of this race were terrible for congestion, and I easily lost 5-10 mins through here with dodging, walking and stop-starting. As I said before, the bridge was a huge example of this, slowing to a crawl as we squashed down from 10m wide roads into a 2m wide path with other pedestrians sharing the path over the bridge!
|I found the camera at the start line
Once out the other side I watched the pacer fade into the distance and decided something between 4 and 4-15 would be acceptable.
For the most part of this race I ran steadily and to my fuel plan, taking gel and water at regular intervals. I popped the headphones in and settled in by myself, as I looked around me I was surrounded by half marathoners and was starting to think I was the only marathon runner slower than 4 hours!
I ran problem free for easily the first 18km. Sticking with a few half runners, one girl in particular in a yellow shirt, had a perfect pace and rhythm so I settled right in behind her. She would drop off at the drink stops then catch me up and slot back in front, almost as if she was using me as a marker just as much as I was using her for drafting ;) believe it or not, I didn't talk to her at all! (I know you're shocked right?!)
|here I am chasing "yellow shirt"
Anyways, after the drink stop at about 18km I left her behind and headed on for a half time of about 1-58. Oh, my Garmin died (proper dead *cryface*) on the flight over so I was tracking GPS using my phone! At this point it was nearly 1km ahead of the markers, no idea why but it stayed like that all the way. I was running by comfort, the only feedback I was getting from my phone was km markers, no pace data. I was feeling the same as Barossa, like it was hard work, but not like I was in danger of anything major going wrong. I was worried about how the weather was progressing, later in the day I was expecting to cop full sun for almost an hour of the run (and I'd stupidly forgot to wear sunscreen) so I didn't want to hit it any harder and blow up altogether.
Just after half way I noticed some dodgy chafing started under my left arm, I'd forgot to put Vaseline there!!! So every drink station after that I was asking for vas with no luck... Ouch!
I pressed on.. the more I ran, the more I was convinced the chafing had grown to an epic chasm full of blood and sweat. This was not the case at all, and in fact after a while I had adjusted my arms in a way that stopped it hurting and the actual chafing mark was maybe 3cm by 1cm... I know, how lame!? :D
On the second loop of the course, I took my time a little more, checking out the sights, stopping to take a few pics here and there and struck up a few conversations with anyone wearing a race shirt for something I'd done before :)
|Stopping to take photos during a race? normal for me!
It was a tough slog from 34km onwards (it always is) but I just kept turning the legs over, and I passed quite a few people as I plodded along. I would have to say the support at the drink stations was phenomenal, it really lifted me as I pushed out the last 10km.
Apparently the race committee runs a competition, they get a bunch of schools to man the aid stations, then we vote on the ones we liked, the most popular station wins a load of money for their school. Great idea and it meant there were some fantastic cheers all around the course, the highlight for me was the 'Mexican' station, can't remember where it was (maybe 11/33km?), anyways, they were fantastic!
I'll have to admit, the last few km were hell, running up around the back of the finish area, a very steep little incline, right when you don't want one, then again turning into the last 100m at the finish which was straight up a hill; I doubt there were many sprint finishes!
Another great feature of this race was after the finish, there was a special "marathon finish area" at the end of the finish chute which was a few gazebos with a heap of chairs, drinks, food, and worn out bodies strewn about the place. I sat down as some kids were ducking about there offering drinks, lollies, choccies, fruit, all sorts of stuff - fantastic! A guy I was sitting next to went and grabbed me a cold ice tea from a nearby esky! So when my mate Geoff came in 10mins after me, I was quick to jump and grab him a cold drink as well, just paying it forward! ;)
|I has finished this one too yes?
Now it's time to head home and get training for the next one, Alice Springs!
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Date: 4th August, 2013
Distances: 42.2km, 21.1km, 10km, 5km, 2.2km
General Race Stats
Total Runners in field: 558
Winning time: 2h 31m 23s
My Race Stats
Overall place: 367
Gun time: 4h 22m 14s
Net time: 4h 19m 57s
GPS details: 43.21km in 4h 21m 31s (link: Endomondo Stats)