Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Race Day Wrap

Melbourne Marathon 2014 

We decided to stay in the city for the weekend, a brisk 7 minute walk from the starting line.  The morning was just beautiful & while my hands were shaking too much to get a decent pre race selfie in the mirror as the nerves had set in then

I did manage this as I was walking to the start line - just beautiful!!

It was cool (12 degrees C so I've read), calm & no wind.  Plumbing boy bought his bike in & rode with me to the starting line.  I didn't hear this last year, but they were actually singing the national anthem as we arrived at the starting line & I had a bit of a mad panic on how to get on the right side of the barriers (with the runners!!!).  Ditched my jumper with PB & a few minutes later we were off!  It only took 86 seconds from the time the starting gun went off for me to cross the start line & get running!

As per most fun runs I've done it was pretty chaotic at the start & a lot of people to dodge until everyone settled in to their pace.  My pace was a little faster than I'd planned for the first 5kms with a split of 27mins 34 secs, but I felt good.  I was so fast that my sister & niece missed my first fuel drop there!

The course provided water & fuel (I cant remember what brand of sports drinks they had) but I had my own brand of sports drink which was my sole fuel source for the run.

The course had 3 x stations for personal fuel at approximately 11, 26 & 36kms which I'd dropped off the day before, but had arranged a few extra so I didn't have to carry the bottles very far.  As I said I was looking for my sis & niece at the 5km mark, but alas, they weren't there.  

I continued down down St Kilda road, feeling OK & started to run along Albert Park lake, just enjoying the scenery.  At this point in the half marathon last year my knees were already hurting & had been almost in tears, so feeling good lifted my spirits.  Then lo & behold up ahead, I saw a sign!!!

Sis & niece had found a hole in the fence, scarpered through the golf course almost getting hit by golf balls & managed to get into the park & along the course!  I spotted them before they spotted me & gave them a big wave to which they both looked relieved & then excited as they handed me my first drink as I ran past.  I hadn't seen the sign my niece had made before then & I almost teared up at the effort she'd put into it!!!

I actually missed the first official fuel pick up - it was at the end of the 11.2km water station on the right hand side - runners were directed to both the left & right of the water station & as I was on the left I went left not realising the personal fuel pick up was tacked on to the end of this station on the right!  Minor detail.  10km split was 55mins 36 seconds.

Finished with the lake & back to Fitzroy Street, where lots of spectators lined the streets.  As I reached the intersection of Grey street where my cousin's band had played their final gig ever a month or so ago, one of their tunes came on the shuffle - couldn't have timed it better & was so totally random, but I took it to be a good omen!!

15km split was 1 hr 23mins 33 seconds.  Just after this the 4 hour pacers over took me & I started feeling quite disheartened until a lovely spectator who was yelling out encouragement yelled out something to the effect of "well done everyone, make this your own race" & from then I resolved not to focus on the pacers & run my own race, as he advised.

PB was waiting for me at his designated location at the Bay street turn around at my next fuel drop at approximately 17kms.  I was very pleased to see him as this also took my mind off the pacers & ensured I stopped looking for them.  He rode along side me on his bike (he on the footpath, me on the road), I took out an ear bud & had a bit of a chat with him which also made me feel better.  He told me I was looking good form wise & looked to be doing it pretty easily!!!  There were a few other cyclists also providing support & supplies to runners close by me, so it was quite OK for him to be there & chatting to me.  

Put my ear bud back in & continued along my way the pacers now forgotten.  20km split 1 hour 51 mins 25 secs.  PB just cruised slowly along side me before checking where I wanted my next lot of fuel (I'd planned it to be at the St Kilda Sea Baths).  He sped ahead to get the bottle out & hand it off to me - this was the half way mark 1 hour 57 mins 8 seconds.

I was starting to feel fatigued & was looking for the 25km turn around point as I knew that it would only be 7 more kms til I would see the cheer squad.  I collected my 1st official drink (2nd station) with ease & started counting down the kms.  I'd lost sight of PB for the next few kms, but he wasn't far away - there were a lot of spectators at this point.  25km split 2 hours 20 mins 5 secs.

Back up Fitzroy street (a slight rise) felt like a hill & I had to dig deep.  Grandpa Blue got me up that hill & before I realized I'd run another 1.5kms!  It was time to think about Grandma Joyce for a bit as I was now back in St Kilda Road.  I almost giggled as my watch beeped to let me know I'd completed another km as I was thinking one of the best things Grandma taught me was that the greatest of all condiments for hot chips is mayo!!!!!

There were lots of people along St Kilda road & I'd made sure that any kid who had their hand out for a high five (all along the course) got one from me - last year my knees hurt so much I just couldn't change direction to do it.  I also made sure I yelled out thank you to them as well.  30km split 2 hours 40 mins 25 seconds.

At the 32km mark as planned I spotted my Sis, niece, cousin & aunt with the rest of the signs & my next bottle of fuel!!!!

Just 10kms to go!!!  The cheer squad said they had a lot of comments on their signs & lots of fun with the other spectators over them!!!  PB was still pedalling along beside me even though his fuel deliveries were completed :-)  At this point I was starting to feel tired again, left hammy was tight & right knee was starting to pain.  I'd packed a pair of anti inflammatory's in the back of my singlet pocket as suggested by my running coach & decided to down them.

Next minute we were turning left into Southbank Bvd - nice downhill, under the arts centre & along the river before running through the Alexandra gardens to the shrine. 

I knew this would be a tough section as there was a bit of an incline & my running coach said she had seen runners struggle here hence throwing a few hill sessions into my training.  I felt OK & was overtaking a lot of people.  PB told me later he was watching them with amusement as I overtook them, they tried to lift to keep up with me, but all gave up!!!  Top of the hill was 35kms, split 3 hours 16 mins 31 seconds.

Next minute I hear someone yelling GO CAT GO & it was my niece running on the footpath to my right!!  I ran over to that side of the road grinning my head off & she ran with me for half a km til she reached the rest of the cheer squad who'd done a mad dash to the Birdwood Ave/Domain Road intersection!!!  That was the best thing that could have happened.  Having Tess run with me & seeing the cheer squad again really gave me a lift & I knew then that I was going to make it. 5 Kms to go!!!!  I knew PB was there & that if I became overwhelmed, he would give me a pep talk, but seeing the others made be so happy!!!!!

The next few kms in my head pretty much went like this "killing in the name of rah rah rah, killing in the name of 5 to go" then 4 to go, 3 to go etc (that's part of a song & part cheer leader if you didn't already know LOL!!).  40km split 3 hours 44mins 35 seconds.  I'd refrained from checking the actual time until I turned into Wellington Parade where there was a great downhill & I saw I was still under 4 hours.  The MCG was right there!!!  I knew I'd picked up the pace over the past 4kms, but wasn't quite sure how far away the finish line was at that point, but I was running like the clappers down that hill!!  kms 39 & 40 both - 5 mins 27 seconds; 

Right into Jollimont Road & I remember thinking that bloody finishing line better be just around the corner, they better not have some bloody switch back & make us run over that bloody bridge (that I ran over last year where people were just stopping & walking & I wanted to punch them)!!!!!  km 41 5 mins 30 seconds

The the course went left into Jollimont Street & the finish line was there!!!!  There was a big digital clock on the finish line, still under 4 hours.  A dude on a microphone was yelling encouragement that runners could still make it under 4 hours & had the crowd counted down the last 10 seconds.  

I just ran as hard as I could with my eye on the clock & made it under with 2 seconds to spare.  OMG!!!!!  The 2 x 4 hour pacers were there waiting & both patted me on the back & said well done, you did it!!!!  km 42 5 mins 21 seconds.

It wasn't until the following day that I realised that the clock was based on the time the starting gun went off, which was not the time that I actually started the run!  My watch was very accurate time wise - 4 seconds slower than my official finishing time as it took me that long to register I'd finished & I should press stop LOL!!!!  I had 86 seconds to spare, not 2!!!!

Into the marshalling area for my medal, some water & an apple, then I hot tailed it out of their to the rendezvous point.  I really wanted to keep my legs moving & people were just laying down &/or standing still in the marshalling area.  I'd done that last year after the half - pretty much stopped dead on completion & then could barely walk back to the car that day!!!  I wasn't going to make the same rookie mistake this year!!

My phone started ringing before I'd finished eating my apple with the cheer squad wanting to find out my time as they didn't see me cross the finishing line - but that was totally OK.  I wouldn't have seen them as I was so focused on getting over that line before the 4 hours ticked over!!!

We met up & wandered back to the hotel for a shower - I think I spent the whole walk either texting or talking on the phone to well wishers (thank you all!!!!!) & letting my coach & PT know how I went.  It certainly took us longer than 7 minutes to get back to the hotel stopping & starting, talking & laughing!!!

We'd organised a late lunch & post run celebration at a friends Cafe in North Melbourne - there were about 20 of us altogether where I enjoyed my usual fave breakfast (avo smash topped with house cured salmon & a poached egg on sour dough with chilli oil

+ a latte, a power smoothie, plenty of champagne & a heady post run glow.  Friends brought in a beautiful bunch of flowers - I was feeling the love!!!  I don't think I could have been happier had I actually won the damn event (which by the way will never happen - the first girls in were 2 hours 30 minutes!!)

We were home by around 4.30pm - I headed for a long soak in an epsom salts laden bath tub & PB had a nanna nap!!!  A small bowl of pasta for dinner then in bed by 8pm.  I didn't sleep very well - I think every time I moved, I felt something hurt & it woke me up LOL.  My legs & hips were a bit achy, but that was to be expected.

I didn't really get a sleep in on Monday - came in to work for a hour & 1/2 then went for another soak in the tub; then back to work for a bit before heading to the gym to see my PT for a debrief, a light session & a mega stretch with him.  I walked slowly on the treadmill for 20 minutes before & 5 minutes after to get the blood flowing through my muscles & felt really good by the time I got home.  My usual 30 minutes session turned into an hour with all our talking!!!!

First run will be a slow 5km tonight (Wednesday) - running coach said in her experience, the first is always ugly, then the second you feel back to normal.  That's been about it for recovery.  Had Nando's for dinner Monday night & enjoyed some chilli mayo with my chips!!!  

If you've read this far well done!!  It's a bit of an epic post!!!  There is a little more to write yet - I have a few questions to answer - you're excused if you're not interested in the rest!!!  But again, thank you all for your support!!!!!

Race Day Apparel:
Shoes: Asic's Gel Kayano 20
Socks: Compress Sports low cut racing socks
Knickers: Calvin Klein Microfibre
Tights: Lorna Jane Echo 3/4
Crop: Lorna Jane Comfort Sports Bra (but an older version)
Singlet: Lorna Jane Hazel Excel Tank
Accessories: Spi Belt, Adidas Cap, Garmin watch

I had my phone in my SPI belt - I may not do that again for the distance - I felt like I'd bruised a little on my lower back where I'm a bit boney & despite having the belt quite tight, it did bounce a little.  I didn't use any body glide or such products as I hadn't had any issues with chafing.  I did pack a lip balm - hemp one from the body shop which I applied a couple of times over the course.  I did have a rub mark on my upper buttock/lower back area - not sure if it was the lower seam of the tights; the band on my knickers or the bottom of the phone in the SPI belt bumping there!!!  The rub marks didn't hurt, I only spotted them by chance.

I did end up with 2 x blisters - I'm blessed with good feet & these were the the first blisters I'd had running!!  I knew I'd have a rub mark on my right big toe, & was amused to find a blister there; on closer inspection I had another small blister on my left 2nd toe - hadn't felt it on the run - only found both because I looked!!

Fuel was adequate - I'd trained with the tailwind.  NO gels, lollies or anything else required.  Despite missing one of the fuel pick ups, I had enough - I'd made up enough for 4.5 hours of activity & split them amongst 8 bottles, with about 150mls of water in each bottle.  Fuel aside that equates to 1.2L plus I also took water at all bar 1 station - it may have only been one or 2 mouthfuls but estimate maybe 2 litres of fluid in total ingested over the 4 hours.

Breakfast was my usual 1/2 an english breakfast muffin with peanut butter & jam - I needed both sachets of peanut butter to get enough!!!  Next time I'd bring my own.  Also had half a cup of tea; & one of my tailwind bottles as I walked to the starting line.

Carb loading: Friday I ate my normal breakfast, morning tea, lunch & second lunch + 1.5L of tailwind.  We went out for dinner that night (for my birthday) & I did have a few glasses of champers, king fish & oysters for entrée, steak with salad & roast potato's for main & gelato for desert!!

Saturday: Buffet breakfast - small amount of fruit, yogurt, bircher muesli, poached egg on an english muffin with tomato, mushrooms, bacon & a steamed prawn dumpling, a latte.  Finished off with 2 mini gluten free muffins & a cup of tea.  Yup.  Piggy.

Lunch: 2 x terayaki chicken sushi rolls

Afternoon tea: 1.5 litres of tailwind; Lindt white chocolate & raspberry icecream in a waffle cone

Dinner: 1.5 slices of Margherita pizza; medium bowl of spaghetti with meatballs

Supper: Chocolate Choc top at the movies!

4 litres of water or there abouts!!!

Post Run Nutrition (1st hour):
2 litres of water
1 Apple
1 small cup of some sort of sports drink
250ml Chocolate protein drink

1pm - 3pm
1 Latte
1 Kale, Pineapple & spiralina shake
Breakfast (see above)
Champagne (not saying how much)
Water - probably another 2 litres!!

75g pasta with matriciana sauce; garlic bread, wine, more water!!!

3 days post race I'm feeling really good.  All the aches & pains have pretty much gone.  I fluctuate between going - wow - I did it!!!  42.2kms!!! to not quite believing it's done!!  I've been a little unsure about how big a deal it really is over the past few weeks - been driving PB a bit batty actually - he's been talking it right up, & I've been down playing it - I mean it can't all be about me yeah??  Anyway.  If you have any questions holla!!!!!!!


C said...

Oh Cat, I got a bit teary reading that. I am just so proud of you and in complete awe of your achievement.

Thanks for giving us the full run down (pun intended), it is fascinating to understand the mindset needed to undertake such a challenge. I have to say that it sounded like you did it quite easily. What a star you are, doing your first marathon with no trouble!!! Your trainer must be super impressed with you!

I still find it amazing that there are people like you who willingly want to run a marathon (or walk up Everest etc). I have no motivation to put myself through that and I wish I was more motivated by the idea of the challenge. I think I might be a bit of a hedonist... LOL!

Oh and I love the sign from your family "Water Now, Wine Later". Hilarious! LOL!

Question- music must really keep you going... I get sick to death of my workout play list and I only work out for 1 hour normally, how do you keep that interesting? What is your favourite get in the groove music?

Another question- I know that weight loss wasn't the motivation for the marathon (or your other running endeavours), but I know it has been something you have been conscious of over the years. What role has weight loss played in your training and has it been difficult to keep weight on with all that training??? You are looking trim, taunt and terrific!

OK, dare I ask, what is next? ;)


p.s. I am glad you got your hot chips and mayo. I agree that is the best combination (or aioli) much better than tomato sauce! Nothing better than a good bowl of hot chips. :)

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Miss Rah Rah Rah!!! Good questions & food for thought!! I'll answer them all in up coming posts :-)

Thank you again for all your support. You ROCK!!!!!!!!!!

Matilda Iglesias said...

Well done.
Champion effort.
I got to try out tailwind at the SCTM will have to invest in some cause I really liked it.
Oh and a tid bit for you, paces run on gun time, which is why you came under the 4hour mark.

Memphis Steve said...

It was exciting just reading your play-by-play of the race! You ran this thing SO FAST. I've given up even the idea of a marathon at this point, not that I ever wanted to do one. I've got injury problems that won't quit and I don't know why. I even missed my usual Warrior Dash this month because of hamstring issues. But you are getting faster and stronger every time I read. This was a huge achievement. You did fantastic! Congrats to you!

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Matilda. I figured out the gun/pacer thing later :-) I was all a bit confused to start with LOL. The tailwind is great.

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Steve - you have to know you are one of the reasons I kept up with the running - reading about your endeavours & having your encouragement has meant a lot!!!!! I really hope your injuries sort themselves soon!!!!!!! And thanks again :-)

Chris H said...

You ROCKED it chick! so proud of you.
You ALMOST inspire me to try running, even if it's ONLY FOR 1 KM!
Your event sure took a huge amount of training and planning, but worth it I'm sure.

AlleyCat said...

Nawwwww Thanks Chris!!!! I've loved (mostly) every minute of it :-)