Melbourne Marathon 2014 – Race Report

I’d been looking forward to this weekend for a long time and it didn’t disappoint.

Phill and I flew into Melbourne on Saturday afternoon and I spent some time walking around the city, met my godfather and his wife for a coffee and picked up 4 energy gels for the race. I went for endura as it was a choice of that or Gu in Rebel Sport and endura is a bit runnier and easier to get down without fluid.

I set my alarm for 4am as I heeded WatchDog’s advice of not needing a pee at the start line which often happens for me. So i probably had about 500 mls of water and a bowl of museli and yoghurt in 30 seconds and then went back to bed until my alarm went off at 6am. All i then had was a small cup of coffee before jogging down to the start line.

The weather was cool with highs expected of 28 later in the afternoon.

I made my way to the preferred starters section and had a quick chat with Gary Mullins whist we waited anxiously for the start.

My plan was to hit half way in 1 hour 16 minutes and 30 seconds. I knew I would likely fade in the back half but I desperately wanted to break 2.35.

My nutrition plan was 4 gels to be consumed at 7 kilometers, 15 kilometers, 24 kilometers and 30 kilometers. No science to that, just something i decided on the start line.

Before I knew it we were off. I soon found myself running in a small group with the lead female at the time, Sinead Diver. Its a known fact that women pace better than men so I thought it wouldn’t do me any harm trying to stick with Sinead given our pace was similar.

The first 5 km’s ticked by in 18.06 according to garmin which ended up overshooting by 300 meters in the end which seems to be the norm.

The next 5 km’s were slightly quicker, 17.51 but there didn’t appear to be any noticeable increase in pace. I was making sure to grab water at every aid station. Water and hydralyte was being handed out in small plastic cups. When you are running at pace the most you can hope to successfully retrieve is a small gulp as the majority is list in the handover! Because of that, i really couldnt have had much more than 300 ml’s over the course of the race.

The next 5 kilometers went by in 17.52 and so far so good. At times I remember looking at my watch and thinking I must be flying along and then seeing my average pace hovering around 3.45’s! Not a great feeling. Whilst I was still moving well I could definitely notice some tightness in the legs.

My garmin beeped at the 21.1km mark and showed a time of 1hr 15 minutes 30 seconds however I crossed the official half marathon signage on the course pretty much dead on 1 hour 16 and 30 seconds. This gave me a boost although I was hoping that things would be feeling a little easier at this stage – truth be told I was starting to hurt. This is evident as my 5 kilometer split from 20 – 25 was 18.15.

During this stage we were overtaken by Nikki Chappel who went on to dominate the womens race and win comfortably. I remember noticing the definition in her hammys as she ran past, pretty impressive! I didn’t even bother trying to hang on to her pace, that would have been suicidal.

The 25 – 30 kilometer split was 18.12 and the small pack I was running with started to drift apart. I was now trailing Sinead and she was beginning to stretch the elastic!

I hit my lowest point going through the 30 – 35 kilometer section. I entertained thoughts of pulling out or at least walking through the drink stations. I was really struggling. That 5 kilometer split was 18.18 so a significant slow down.

Now it was game on. I had to think back to all the hard sessions i’ve done, did I really want to give up now. Sinead was still only 20 meters or so in front of me. Having her there gave me something to concentrate on. But boy was I hurting!

My slowest split of the day was between 35 – 40 kilometers. 18.48. I was doing everything in my power to keep my splits under 4 minutes.

Then with 2.2 kilometers to go life became good again and I was able to lift myself out of my funk knowing I would make it. The goal now was to see if I could sneak in under 2.35 which thankfully I managed to do – 2 hours, 34 minutes and 35 seconds. Job done!

I then spent the day walking around Melbourne with Phill and she clocked up over 25,000 steps on her fitbit so that was a decent cool-down for me!

Achieving this time has given me hope that a 2.2x is doable in the not too distant future. I can’t keep doing what i’m doing though. There’ll be some training changes, probably the main change being my easy runs carried out at an easier pace and my quality runs done with more quality!

The next attempt will be to target 2.32 but I’ve no idea when I’ll have the chance to do that as my life is going to change dramatically next April as a mini-me or mini-phill is on it’s way. That being said, I have a chance of giving 6ft Track a real go and it’ll be nice to get back on the trails again.

With Gary at the finish. Goals hit. Happy chappies!

With Gary at the finish. Goals hit. Happy chappies!


Melbourne Marathon Pre Race Thoughts

So the Melbourne Marathon is almost here. I’m a mixture of excited and nervous,  but that’s a good thing.

The goal at the start of the year was to dip under 2 hours 40 minutes. My fitness after C2K took a nosedive as I took so much need R&R. My first race back  was the Iron Cove 14 kilometer race in March. Essentially a nice flat course and I had to work so hard to average 3.49’s per kilometer. I remember thinking straight after that race that there was no chance in hell that I’d be going under 2hours 40 in Melbourne.

However, over time the fitness increased and my muscle memory improved and I’m now in the position to believe that anything in the range of 2 hours 33 – 2 hours 36 minutes is possible. This is backed up by my 1 hour 13 half marathon in August in which I finished with a bit still left in the tank.

My training goal leading into this marathon was to average 100 kilometers a week. This hasn’t happened. Over the last 16 weeks, excluding October (taper time!) the average has been 83 kilometers a week. However, compared to 2012 where I ran my last PB of 2 hours 41, I’ve run a lot of these training kilometers at marathon pace or faster. In 2012 I also only averaged 70 kilometers a week so there is an improvement all round here.

The plan on Sunday is to keep it simple. I intend to tick off the early kilometers at 3.36 – 3.38 pace and really just try to hold on to that pace for as long as humanly possible. The course looks as though it becomes “hilly” after 30 kilometers which just so happens to be when the marathon starts to hurt – so I’ll be looking forward to seeing how much pain I can tolerate.

I’m fit however my fear is of cramping up in the later stages due to the lack of mileage. I’d be more confident going in with an average of 110 kilometers a week but that will be for another time and there isn’t much I can do about that now.

As long as I don’t do anything silly I should be ok….

Fast week

This Saturday i decided on the day to just head out the door at around marathon pace and just see what happens. My theory is that its much easier to hold a pace than start off really slowly then ease into a faster pace. It seems if I just do it from the off then it feels much easier.

Anyway thats more or less what happened. Ran a few loops of the local roads then went down to the water and ran up and down some trails. Hit the half marathon mark in 78 minutes which equals my PB. This felt a lot more comfortable than when I set it a couple of years back so that was positive. After that point I started to suffer on hills and slowed considerably. No gels or anything so i’m comforted that on the day i’ll be taking on board fuel. 30 km’s all up in 1hr 54 (3.48’s).

This session now has me thinking that I should have a crack at going for a 2.36 time at Melbourne. If I can comfortably run a 78 half in training then I should be able to replicate this in a race. We’ll see

Sunday I joined Phill for a hot yoga session. My legs felt fine from the previous days effort but after yoga they were sore! It was just a beginners class but that was enough for me. Great workout. I’m incredibly inflexible and tight and could barely do any of the moves. My legs were aching for the remainder of the day. Late in the afternoon I went out for an easy 10km. Started off nice and slow and then sped up a little towards the end. 39.39 (3.58’s).

95.76 kilometers for the week in 6hrs 37 which is pretty much exactly the same as last week. Happy days

Weekly Summary 26/05 -01/06 2014

Not a huge week in terms of mileage in the end. I’ve been managing a sore hip for the last 8 weeks or so, in fact ever since i started back running properly this year. Matt the physio at has been working on me to fix this up. It’s on the mend but after Saturdays run it needed a rest.

Saturday consisted of an early start for a jog in the blue mountains. Loved it. Just fancied a long run on the trails. It was an out and back format. So 20 out and 20 back. The first 20km is mostly where all the uphill lies and I just concentrated on keeping the pace above 4.30 per/km which was pretty easy. Around 850 meters of climbing which isn’t too bad over 20 km’s. Then on the return leg I didn’t go all out, just kept it steady ticking along sub 4 minute km’s. 

Given I was out in the wilderness, to be sensible I took 2 museli bars and 350 mls of water. Energy levels fine, possibly could have done with a little more water though but all up a decent outing in 2hrs 51 (4.17’s).

In total, just 79.58km in 5hrs 44 (4.19’s). Again, not a big mileage week but i’ll get there as I get closer to the marathon.

2 x 5 km

I felt like a runner this morning and decided on 2 runs today.

Easy run into work, 10km’s (4.23’s). Not much fun with a huge back pack. Always feels heavier in the morning than in the evening for some reason.

After work i hit the dog park for some faster stuff. The plan was 2 x 5km off 30 seconds recovery. 

The pace for the first effort was tp be at marathon pace so should feel pretty comfortable. The second effort would be 10-15 seconds faster.

The result – 18.16 for the first effort (3.39’s) and 17.39 for the second effort (3.32’s).

The first effort was too fast but felt really easy. It should have been more in the 3.45’s range. 2nd effort was spot on. Had me working towards the end. 

I only put the 30 seconds recovery in as that was the lowest interval the garmin would set to (i think..). 

All good

Melbourne Marathon

So i’ve pulled the trigger and entered Melbourne Marathon. The race is i October so I have 6 months to get myself in the best shape of my life for a shot at going under 2 hour 40. This is a monster challenge for me but with the right frame of mind and committed attitude I should get close.

All I need to do now is start running. 20km’s all up this week over 2 runs. That is going to have to improve for starters.

Oh yeah, I entered Phill in for the 10km too – so it should be a fun weekend away.

A New Focus

My running has been rather erratic since C2K. I’ve been struggling with motivation and really haven’t wanted to run long. 

With no races in the pipe i’ve been struggling with any real consistency. The thought of another ultra hasn’t appealed. However, I have found i’ve been enjoying shorter speed sessions – better than nothing. Currently doing ten 400 metre reps at 3.20 per/km pace on the treadmill with 1 minute recoveries. Not particularly fast by any stretch but better than a plod. I’ve also been enjoying the rowing machine –  a great burn. 5km’s the other day in 18.40. It’d be good to get that under 18.

Just this weekend I was thinking I need to find something to focus on with another time to build up. The Melbourne Marathon in October sprung to mind. Perfect. So that’s now the plan with a goal time of 2.35 the target – an average pace of 3.40 per kilometre. 

I’d say at my current fitness I’d struggle to break 3 hours so this will be a decent challenge but I have time up my sleeve! 

Training will consist of plenty of fast paced runs to get my body used to the speed. The build up for the next couple of months will be relatively relaxed before I embark on a 16 week training plan. Simples