Fitzroy Falls Marathon – Race Report

I was planning on going into this years race after a pretty intense couple of weeks of training. Unfortunately that never happened for 2 reasons:

1) On the Monday after Glenbrook Marathon I had a recovery run home after work and felt pretty good. Tuesday called for a hill session – after 3 or 4 repeats of going down hard for 1km my right knee started getting sore – in the same place as my left knee from a couple of months back. Stupidly I persisted and finished off the 5 sets and then ran off home but after 18km’s I had to call it quits as the pain wasnt settling – It definitely felt like inflammation of the bursa so more running would really flare it up. I called Phill and she picked me up.

I took the Wednesday off running and resumed again on Thursday. I ran to work and did the old run for 1km, walk for a bit and run for 1km and so on. I made it in but it wasnt right. I then attempted to run home from work but ended up jumping on a bus after 5km. The knee needed a break. So I took a full week off running to let it settle down completely and I hit the gym in the meantime. Not ideal prep for C2K but i’m ok with that.

2) After a great long weekend I went to bed on Monday night and just couldn’t sleep. My guts felt strange. Without going into details I spent the night on the couch writhing around in pain and then started throwing up in the morning. At 5am Phill decided that she would also join in, so we spent Tuesday at home both throwing up etc. We think it was bad tofu or something. Not great.

Wednesday was another rough day but I dragged myself into work and by Thursday morning I was probably at 70%. Excited to test out my knee I ran home from work gingerly and had no problems and then on Friday I did a slightly longer run – if I felt even a twinge in my knee I wouldn’t be going to Fitzroy Falls. Fortunately the knee was ok.

This was to be my 3rd Fitzroy Falls race having run it as my first ever marathon in 2010 and then again in 2011. I surprised myself in 2010 by coming in 2nd with 3.09 and then I ran a 3.02 in 2011.

This year I was hoping to break 3 hours but most  importantly I was hoping that I’d just be able to finish the race.

There were just over 100 runners this year and before long we were off. I quickly settled into 3rd place behind Paul Cuthbert with Brendan Davies pulling away quickly from the start. I remembered the race becoming quite hard in the 2nd half so I wanted to try and bank enough time in the first half.

Paul and I were back and forth a little and at one stage he was about a minute in front but I pulled away from him as we hit a section of steep track.

The day was largely uneventful. I took the first of 2 gels at the 16km mark.

I hit the halfway mark in around 87 minutes which I thought gave me a good shot at breaking 3 hours.

Shortly after here that was an out and back and Brendan was probably a couple of minutes in front and Paul was a couple of minutes behind me. I had been feeling really good and I still felt strong until the climb out of the out n back. Man, it wiped me out. Sadly I had to walk some of it but only a small section, I was wary of Paul.

I really started to fade after 28km’s. I’m not sure why but I was beginning to feel very ordinary. I ate my 2nd gel and plodded on. On the 2nd out and back Brendan was still just a couple of minutes ahead and Paul was about the same distance behind again, so even though I was feeling horrible I hadnt lost too much in placings, but I was beginning to feel that sub 3 was slipping away.

This sounds like a sob story but from then on my mental state faded and I had to take about 3 more 10 second walk breaks to compose myself. My time was falling apart too – I was defeated. I was convincing myself that I would still be happy with 3rd place and I was hoping that Paul would run past so I could just ease off the gas – I knew 4th place was quite a way back.

This isnt a great attitude to take as you get into a downward spiral. But it happens now and again.

I got to the 35km mark and I was playing the usual mind games with myself. I tell myself that its only 5 more km’s to go as once your at 40km’s you are practically home etc etc.

At around the 37km mark there is a long stretch of fire trail and I turned around and caught a glimpse of Paul. Damn! He was closing in, just what I was expecting. For a split second I considered just walking until he passed me so I could relax but that was really just a split second thought. I thought I’d just do what I can and if I can hold him off until 3km’s to go then I may still have a shot.

As it happens Paul was having similar thoughts (we had a chat after) and in the end I had a few minutes cushion.

So I made it in 3.04 and Brendan ran strongly to take the win in 2.58.

Interestingly I went through the half way mark 1 minute quicker than in 2011 but  I  was 2 minutes slower.

This is a great little race with a really good vibe. The burgers at the end are brilliant! I’ll definitely be back to try and break 3 hours again, I’ve just got to toughen up.

Fortunately the knee held up but I had soreness in my left knee under the knee cap. Pretty standard though. Anyway, I’d say this was a successful run.

As a result, I had a recovery run to Balmoral beach this morning. Stinking hot day, 36 degrees. The right knee was ok so hopefully  I  can resume training proper today. The plan for today called for 50km’s but that clearly wasn’t going to happen.

So the next 4 weeks ( as long as I can stay out of trouble) should be pretty heavy in terms of mileage which i’m looking forward to.

I hear Ewan is training heavily and is in excellent form for C2K. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I’m pretty excited about duelling it out with the grandmaster in less than 2 months time!

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