Blackmores Sydney Marathon
Category: Road Events
I really wished I wasn't still getting over man flu and an injured calf for this event. I missed a few of the longest weeks of training and it really trashed my endeavours of finishing well under the 3:45:00 I posted last year. All good, though, plan B was now in effect, which was just bloody run and hope like hell I make it!
On the train across to Milson's Point I was making the final adjustments to my race plan. I was thinking I should hold a 5:20 pace for as long as I could and just let the rest play out. I thought this would get me past the 30k mark without destroying myself too much. Any quicker I was concerned about coming undone before 30ks which never ends pretty. Given I was training for a 3:30:00 marathon at a 5:00 pace I though this was a reasonable compromise in light of the circumstances.
Lining up on the start it was incredible again to see the multitude of runners that turn up for this event. There were people from all ages, right up into 70's that were competing. If I make it to 70 and am still running marathons, I've done bloody well! The marshal gave us a little warning the race was about to start so it was time to get the game face on.
The gun shortly fired and we were under way. It took about 1 minute to get over the line, which was pretty good given the number of people. I was soon up on Sydney Harbour Bridge in a massive sea of people all running across. No matter how many times I say this, there is still something so iconic about running across the bridge with so many people. Winding down the tunnel on the other side of the bridge I nearly stepped on a freshly squished rat. I could hear people laughing or screaming behind me that almost did the same thing.
I now started winding through the Botanical Gardens and past the naval yard, which is such a pretty area. Heading back through Hyde Park we hit the 10km marker.
At the south end of Hyde Park I though it was a great opportunity to sneak a quick bathroom stop in before I had to run behind a bush. I was about 2 minutes ahead of my 5:20 pace so I made the most of it. Next up was the Sydney Cricket Ground and the long wind through Centennial Park.
Making my way past the SCG at 15ks, I started to feel like this was going to be a long race. I was holding 5:20 pace OK but I wasn't confident on how long I could maintain it. I started pacing of a fellow barefoot enthusiast who was keeping my goal pace. We made some light conversation and kept each other company for the next 10ks through Centennial Park.
Through Centennial Park I saw a guy running literally barefoot. He had great form but bloody hell, running completely barefoot for a full marathon was not something I think I could achieve. Not saying I wouldn't have a go, but I don't think my feet could take it.
Halfway came around reasonably quickly. It's amazing how fast time goes when you're running. Although I felt like I had been on my feet a while, I really didn't comprehend that it had been almost 2hrs. What was starting to feel long was looping through Centennial Park. It gets quite tiring on your mind being in there for around 13ks. As I approached the 25km mark I knew I was close to heading back into the city so I tried to keep my mind focused.
Out of Centennial Park and heading back into the city, the wind and rain came, which really wasn't fun. At the 30km marker I hit the south end of Hyde Park and I was well and truly feeling the distance from the lack of preparation going into this event. I started having a little laugh to myself, thinking, I've still got 12ks to go, this is going to be a bloodbath. I decided to dial back the pace a little to prolong the inevitable collapse. Kilometre 31 was the last one that I ran under 5:20.
From 31ks onwards things got really tough. The wind and rain didn't help but that's all part of it. The next 5ks wound back through the city and down past Circular Quay and around onto Darling Harbour. I remembered this point last year when I was feeling a hell of a lot better and again had a little laugh at how sore and sorry I was. My IT band on my left leg was now starting to pull really tight and a good sharp pain was appearing in my knee. Combine that with shoulders I could hardly hold up—I stupidly did a big set in the gym a few days before—I was a real good and proper mess.
Heading through Pyrmont I had only 5 brutal kilometres to go. I was very much run–walk–run–walk at this stage simply to keep going. I had absolutely nothing left. Approaching the final leg past the Park Hyatt, I certainly wanted to throw it all in and head straight inside to the bar but with less than a kilometre to go I though best to push on.
Half dead and feeling like the walking wounded, I stumbled my way through the finisher's tent and grabbed a finisher's shirt and a box of pain cream. I asked the lovely girl if it was safe to simply eat the whole tube to which she laughed and with a look of pity, said "no, best just to rub it on". In hindsight, this seemed like the best plan.
Now, it was time to clean up and head to The Burger Project for some big juicy American style burgers and plenty of beers to replenish the lost fluids!
Race Day Stats: