Monday, May 22, 2017

Great Ocean Road Marathon 2017

Yesterday I ran my 3rd Great Ocean Road Marathon (4th Marathon all up).  Sort of Technically I've run 1 marathon & 3 ultra marathons because anything over 42.2 is considered an ultra, however I'm not sure those who ran the 60km ultra or those who do 100+km Ultra Marathons would feel the same way, so I'll go with 4 Mara's.

We drove down the coast on Friday night in time for a parma at the pub for dinner & an early night.  Saturday morning we went for a walk along the beach to keep our legs turning over & amuse Trixie.

A kite festival was on the go in town also this year.

I was lucky to have my friend M running the half marathon - (23km event) & stayed with us.  We were able to enjoy all the running things together & take our minds off the task to come.  M had run 2 half marathons before @ 21.1kms so this was to be her furthest distance ever!

We went had a look at the running expo & saw the kids 1.5, 6km & 14km events in progress & cheered on some runners.

Caught up with Carol, but she has the picture!!  Had a wander around the shops before calling it quits & heading back to our accommodation to put our feet up for the rest of the day & continue our carb & hydration loading!

The forecast was for a top of 19 degrees & did not disappoint!  M & I walked down to the bus queue at 6am & were promptly driven to our respective events.  I had a bit more of a snooze on the bus (must have been pretty calm) & watched the sun rise over the ocean.

I didn't really feel any nerves until a couple of minutes before the starting gun went off, but was able to reign in my galloping mind.  I hadn't prepared as well as I could have (lack of strength work in the gym), my long runs weren't great in the lead up, I had both knees strapped as I'd had ITB issues on both sides & my right upper hamstring has been niggly also.  That said, I wasn't going for a time, definitely was not looking for a personal best & had given myself permission to walk as much as I needed to, to get the job done.

As I said the morning was beautiful & for a change I wasn't too cold.  For those who don't know I suffer from Raynauds Phenomenen which makes cold starts hard for me.  Last year my feet were ice blocks until 6kms & the pins & needles didn't subside until 10kms.  This year I used more of these (hand held air activated heat packs) than usual & rubber banded them to the top of my runners!
I use the hand ones regularly but hadn't used them on my feet before.  I copped a few funny looks & was asked by a couple of runners what I had on my shoes.  Quite funny!  I kept my warm jumper & track pants on until 2 minutes before the starting gun went off & tossed my feet warmers in the bin at the same time as I ditched my warm clothes.  This made a huge difference to my start!  I kept the hand held ones until 3kms in & then handed them to a volunteer - hope she enjoyed them!

 I took a picture at 11kms to let Plumbing Boy know how I was travelling.  Usually I don't message him at all, but because the pressure was off, decided to keep him posted so he'd know when to come & meet me for the last couple of kms.  The guys stretching in this picture finished just ahead of me & another lady who I was running with.  We entertained ourselves overtaking each other towards the the end of the run.  

The conditions as I said earlier were just beautiful.   A bit of a breeze but overcast until the 35km mark.  This was taken on a walk break @ around 15kms looking back towards Lorne.

I ran through the place my cousin got married in last month so had to take a photo to send to his sister who exclaimed what are you doing there!  My reply was the above picture of me running!  She's off on an overseas adventure & had forgotten it was race day, so I received a few messages of encouragement from her over the next couple of hours.

I'd updated PB at the half way mark, replying to his how are you feeling with "OK.  A long way to go yet.  Knees so far so good, right hammie grumpy".  Not long after this I decided to adopt the running approach of a couple in front of me: the Galloway Method.   This involves timed walk breaks & they were running 1km then walking 1 minute (excluding downhills, which you run the whole way).  

I caught up to them & eventually we were both walking at the same time & same place so said hello & confessed I'd been copying them & thanked them!  I ran with Kelly for the next 5kms, then continued without her as she decided to wait for her buddy who was struggling.

Before I knew it we were at the 30km mark!  Not long to go now.  I'd had a couple of messages from other friends & my niece so kept them posted on my progression.  Kelly over took me around 35kms, she'd decided to go on without her buddy as he couldn't maintain the pace.  

I was really looking forward to seeing PB at the 39km mark but wasn't too upset to find he wasn't there yet.  As I'd been in contact with him I knew he wouldn't be far away.  

Spotted him just after this!  I could see Kelly up ahead & had made up some ground on her as she tiring & was telling PB about meeting her - he told me to push hard up the last little hill & that I could catch her.  He's good at these tactic's getting me to run when all I want to do is walk LOL.  
I agreed to keep running til the 42.2 (marathon time) timing mat without stopping (probably 1.5kms - I had been taking walk breaks after every km).  Ran over the mat & kept going because Kelly was only 50 metres ahead & I wanted to say hi!

We ran the last 2.7 together playing cat & mouse with the boys in the first running picture - they walked & we'd run past; we'd walk & they would run past etc.  We were each heckling each other & PB was heckling us all!  They did beat us over the finish line in the end, but that was OK, we all helped each other get to the finish line!

We were just so happy to be done!  It was Kelly's first marathon & to be honest she kept me going!  I was really struggling at the half way mark & without her technique & chat along the way I certainly would have taken much longer to finish & walked a fair part of the back end.  

I'd told my parents I expected to be finished between 1 & 1.30pm so they had only just gotten down to the finish line!  Mum saw me after I'd run over the finish line & Dad missed me altogether which is a shame for them, but they saw me last year, so all good.  I got in 5 minutes ahead of my estimated time.  Found M & we climbed the steps up onto the stage for our podium finishing shots!  

I came 21st in my age category, was the 193rd female finisher & 641 finisher overall out of a field of 957. Finishing time was 4.55.49 which was an improvement over last year, but not as good as the first crack!

Last year I was in the same category (45 - 49 age group) & came 30th; 228th female finisher & was finished 702 overall (not sure how many competitors) with a finishing time of 5.04.45.  Year before I was in the 40 - 44 age group, came 31st, 127th & 608th overall with a finish time of 4.21.41

I spent 20 minutes standing in the ocean to help with the recovery after podium photos & actually slept reasonably well last night after a hot bath, a good lather of fisocream & a couple of panadol (& maybe a glass or 2 of Champagne) & have been able to spend some time standing at my work station today (past 2 years I've had to sit all day!!)!!

I think I'm done with this event for a while; might be time to try something else :-) 

Official pictures to follow when I get them.


C said...

Congratulations, you never cease to amaze me Cat! As I am reading about the marathon I really struggle to put myself in your shoes and understand how you go on, you have amazing mental strength, not to mention physical prowess.

Proud of you and looking forward to hearing what is next! :)


AlleyCat said...

Thank you lovely! I honestly don't know how I go on either sometimes. I do remember considering a DNF (did not finish) at the halfway mark & hitching a ride back with an ambulance; & then thought about my grandpa on the Black Cat Track & told myself I wasn't a quitter so I just had to push through. The other girl on course really helped me although she didn't know it at the time!!

You'll be facing the ultimate challenge soon :-) :-) :-)


eliper said...

Congratulations! That's an amazing achievement and a great time. Such a long time to keep running (although good to hear there were sensible walk breaks in between).

Thanks for your reply to my previous comment re: knee taping. My issue is mainly due to extremely tight muscles, apparently, but they do not appear to be loosening up despite yoga, pilates, stretching and regular massage. Saw my podiatrist last week who thinks his deep tissue massage will have me running again in a few weeks, but I remain to be convinced! I will definitely try the taping once he's had his turn at "fixing" the problem!!

AlleyCat said...

Thank you Eliper!

I too have tight muscles - especially in the top of my hips & agree that remedial massage should help! I've found acupuncture quite helpful too if you can find someone who specialises in sports acupuncture.

For me to be totally rid of my ITB over long distance I need to strengthen the weak/lazy muscles (gym work) & loosen the tight muscles (stretching, foam rolling, remedial massage & acupuncture).

Having a rock solid core is also a must!

Good luck with your massage!!!

roth phallyka said...

you have amazing mental strength, not to mention physical prowess.