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Gold Coast Airport Marathon - Run

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Gold Coast, Queensland
13C / 55F
Total Time = 3h 26m 57s
Overall Rank = 699/4927
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 44/272
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:30am. 2x toast and honey, 3x coffee. Banana.
Left apartment at 6:00am for the 20 min walk to start.
Event warmup:

Deliberately did less stretching at the apartment than usual, short (5 min) run at the start line 20 mins before the start.
  • 3h 26m 57s
  • 42.19 kms
  • 04m 55s  min/km

I should start by saying that the race record fell this year to a Kenyan who not only broke this race record by 45 secs but also broke the 32 year old Australian All-comers marathon record by 4 seconds over the previous record - held by Australian Rob De Castella and set in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games.

The winning time was 2:09:14 and to see those guys running at sub 2:10 was a privilege and just ever so slightly unbelievable!

I had completed this race twice before - 2006 and 2008 and then had three consecutive failures - two to injury and one to illness on race day. This year I got to the start line healthy and uninjured. I read a quote somewhere saying that "if you can get to the start line with no injuries you are 80% of the way to finishing". And so it proved.

I had a great lead up - in the 4 weeks preceding the marathon I set 5 PB's over my training courses ranging from 5km to 30km - and on each occasion I was not trying to set a PB, I just ran strongly but within myself and they just happened. Conversely last year I was struggling with a bad soleus muscle strain and had limited training mileage in the 8 weeks leading to the (ultimately failed) marathon.

In my two previous successful marathons (since recovering from the chronic injuries that have beset me over the past two years - Auckland Nov '13 & Rotorua May'14), I had started conservatively and then at around 25km really raised the effort level. (At Rotorua I negatively split the race by 9 mins). Having got the confidence that the body was back on track for the full marathon distance I decided to be less conservative in this race and start faster - though not all out. (There's another great race quote that says " In the first half don't be an idiot, in the last half, don't be a wimp"). My goal was to go under 3:30 which equates to 5:00 min/km. Having raced through the first 10km in 47:15 and feeling better by the km I realised today would be a good day - perhaps even a great day. At the very least I was banking time in case I had to slow later in the race.

As usual it took me until 14km to start to feeling good. I had found at Rotorua that if I consumed a gel every 5km I was much less prone to flag - mentally as much as physically. For any of you who have read "Lore of Running" by Noakes M.D. you'll be familiar with his "central governor model" which basically states that when the blood glucose level drops late in a race the brain reacts to this impending hypoglycemia by shutting down muscle activity. Of course it's not the only thing that slows you down but if you can keep it at bay by boosting the blood glucose then that is one less issue to deal with. I know that my own experience is a sample size of 1 but it works for me!

At the 28km aid station I took a small step to the left to pick up a water cup and immediately got a L) hamstring cramp. Totally out of the blue - no hint of it coming, no fatigue, no soreness and no injury coming in. I hobbled for about a minute but didn't need to stop and was soon running freely again but more slowly.

Then at 38km, with no prompting it happened again! This time more severe. Had to stop for a stretch and a short walk. This time when I began running again I had to do it at a much slower pace. I nursed it through another 2 km and at the next aid station, again reaching to the left for a water cup I got a really severe cramp again. Came to a dead halt and the spasm moved around to the front of the knee as well. I couldn't even take a step without it recurring! It looked like I would have to walk it in if I ever got mobile again. But after some time just standing there and letting it all relax I managed to walk and then run - even more slowly than before. The time I had banked earlier in the race was now coming into play! (In the end I was stationary for 3 1/2 minutes for all the incidents).

I didn't suffer a cramp again until I finished but I was hyper-vigilant and the pace was way down. The effect of the cramp on the 5km splits below is very obvious.

But at the end I crossed the line and completed a race that had eluded me for three years. Much joy! This is the 2nd of three marathons planned for 2014 and the 3rd completed in the past 9 months.

Next up is a return to Auckland in November this year to complete 4 marathons in 12 months.

  • ... and then in 2015 it's back to triathlons....

  • The marathon was also the championship race for number of other divisions. My results were as follows;

    IAAF Oceania Area Marathon Championship...............41st
    Australian Marathon Championship..............................41st
    Australian Masters Marathon Championship................12th
    Queensland Masters Marathon Championship.............5th


    split point_______split time...........pace

    5KM __________00:23:42............04:44
    25KM__________00:23:53 ...........04:46
    30KM __________00:24:42...........04:56
    35KM __________00:25:31...........05:06


    Half Way________01:39:15............04:42
    What would you do differently?:

    Nothing in the race. I was able to judge early on that a pace around 4:45/km should be achievable for most of the race if not all of it. It was only the issue with cramp late in th erace that slowed me eventually - and that was a surprise. Up unitl the episode there was no hint of trouble and it had never given any trouble in training.

    Post race
    Warm down:

    Two bananas and two bottles of water in the recovery zone.
    A cold beer with family and firneds in the public area!
    20 min walk back to the apartment.

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    The L) hamstring cramp was the limiter.

    Event comments:

    Great race!

    Became an IAAF Gold Label Race this year and it is a great reward for the organisers who put out a superb product. This puts it on par with Boston, London, NYC.

    Last updated: 2014-02-06 12:00 AM
    03:26:57 | 42.19 kms | 04m 55s  min/km
    Age Group: 44/272
    Overall: 699/4927
    Performance: Good
    Course: Flat, open wing course alongside the beach and waterfront.
    Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Overall: Good
    Mental exertion [1-5] 5
    Physical exertion [1-5] 4
    Good race? Yes
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? Yes
    Post race activities: Good
    Race evaluation [1-5] 5

    2014-07-08 8:17 AM

    User image

    Extreme Veteran
    Brisbane, Australia
    Gold member
    Subject: Gold Coast Airport Marathon

    2014-07-08 11:51 AM
    in reply to: #5022899

    User image

    Atlanta, Georgia
    Bronze member
    Subject: RE: Gold Coast Marathon
    Nice RR and congrats on your day!
    2014-07-17 5:17 AM
    in reply to: #5022899

    User image

    Extreme Veteran
    Subject: RE: Gold Coast Marathon

    Apologies, I'm late to the after party, but WOO HOO!

    After the false starts I'm so glad to see that the training paid off and it almost all went to plan.

    Stoked for you!

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