Blackmores Sydney Marathon
Category: Road Events
This year for Blackmores I was feeling the most prepared I had ever felt for a marathon. My training program had all gone well, I was fighting fit and injury free. A personal best was in the air, I just had to keep it together for 42.195ks!
Arriving in Sydney on Saturday I did my usual ritual of head down Darling Harbour for lunch then walk down to Town Hall to collect my race kit. While my spirits were high I still had such an empty, lonely feeling that I was here on my own and no one would be waiting for me at the finish line. Such a simple thing but just one more thing to break my heart a little more. While navigating these dire straits I received a call from my best mate who announced he got a hall pass from his wife and baby to come and hang with me post marathon. I was stoked, to say the very least. With lifted spirits I headed back to the motel and settled in for the evening.
Waking up on race day it was time to prepare with awful instant coffee and a big-ass fruity muffin. Looking out the window the weather looked rainy but not much wind so things were looking up. After double checking my kit it was time to head for the train and make my way to the start line. Standing on the start line the crowd looked a little thin this year. After a short runner's briefing, the starter's gun went off and we were off and racing!
After a little shuffle over the start line I was able to get a little space up onto the Harbour Bridge. It's such an awesome feeling running over the bridge. It really should be at the finish or in the last few kilometres to make the most of it.
Next up we coursed through the city and down through Hyde Park. Looks like this year Botanical Gardens were cut from the course. This was about the 10km mark and I was feeling well and pacing perfectly.
Running along Oxford St is always a sight. Few guys in leather and lace looking at us like we are weird but hey, who am I to judge. Now heading for the Sydney Cricket Ground and then a winding course through Centennial Park. Hitting 21.1km I was still feeling great and pacing well. As it was early spring there was some really cute, fuzzy signets chasing mum around. I also got chatting to a South African couple. This guy would have been perfect for radio as he seriously didn't shut up. Pissed me right off at first but once I warmed up to him he was pretty funny.
On the other side of Centennial Park at the 24km mark my left ITB started to get tight and rub on my knee which caused a reasonable amount of pain. Knowing this wasn't causing an damage I pressed on and just fought it mentally.
Heading back into the city I was still holding my goal pace of 5:10 per kilometre. Unfortunately, though, reaching the 30km mark my legs really started to fade. I was feeling pretty pissed at my ITB and the fact I ran my 36km training run in much better form but hey, time to suck it up and keep moving.
Kilometre 30 to 37 wound around Darling Harbour and a good loop around Pyrmont. For this section I was able to keep my pace around 5:30 to 5:50, which was still OK but not what I was hoping for. To make things worse, my left quad started to cramp up from 37k onward. In my head I was praying and begging it to please not lock up as that is a very painful 5k walk. I blame my ITB for this!
The final 5km around Pyrmont and Darling Harbour were beautiful, rainy and bloody tough. I was so devastated from feeling perfect all through training to only lose it on race day. With my quad getting really pinchy my pace fell to between 6:00 to 6:30 which is getting pretty bloody slow but I'll be damned if I walked!
With less than a kilometre to go and the Opera house in sight I summoned all that was left and made for the finish line. I crossed in an OK time of 3:48:00 but not the PB I wanted. All things considered I ran the best race I could, which I was happy with but it was still laced with disappointment. Oh well, now to focus on healing up for Melbourne in 4 weeks!
Now with the rain really falling I made my way back to the hotel. I soon received a call from my man Johny. He was only a few minutes away so I was stoked to be spending the arvo with my best mate. After a quick tub I got dressed and we headed to Circular Quay for a beer then ferry over to Manly for lunch with my brother and his wife. A great afternoon and evening ensued, full of beer, food and plenty of cheer.
Race day stats: