Monday, October 17, 2016

The Bloody good magnificent Melbourne weekend...

where I ran my second marathon, got a PB and lapped up some luxury.

Our training had paid off, we were better prepared and had the advantage of being in our home town with our support crew nearby and knowing the course really well. And I'm pleased to say I ran better and finished in 5:07:25 knowing I had given it my all.

We checked into the Sofitel on Saturday afternoon so we could easily access the startline at Rod Laver Arena and not have to worry about parking or getting up super early. We had a delicious early meal at Gazi and finished our carb loading week in style. We didn't see George Columbaris but ate his yummy souvlaki and chips with feta and dips and bread and a little wine.

not the souvlaki from the fish & chip shop

Of course we had to have dessert and coffee and then an early turn in.

Sunday morning saw us at the start line at 6:20 and amongst the 6,000 starters we were able to catch up with some people from the training group and other members of MCR.

sunrise over the G, pre marathon excitement

start line selfie
We were off at 7am and in the excitement and emotion of the moment I didn't see my Garmin turn off so while I was trotting along at the start I was still searching for location, which doesn't work very well while you are moving. I contemplated stopping still to get it going but it came on and I lost only the first 500m.

I ran along the course feeling pretty good despite the windy conditions, the mood in the beginning was upbeat as I settled into my race pace. We ran past familiar landmarks; Flinders St station, St Kilda Rd, Albert Park Lake and onto Beaconsfield Parade. I passed the half marathon mark within the cut off time and plodded along with the wind in my face and then into my back.

The wind meant I ditched my cap, tucking it into my flip belt for most of the race.

getting tougher by the km
 Peter and Martin aka our support crew positioned themselves along the route to cheer us on and take photos (and to carry our bags). They managed to have breakfasts and coffees and get back to the MCG to wait for us to finish. I had tried to tee up a good spot for Hayley to watch from but she wasn't there when I got there. I had been hanging on for that 35k marker but it didn't happen so I knew I had to plug on to see her at the end.

I battled on wanting to get a sub 5 hour time but it wasn't going to be this time. As I rounded the last turn and entered the MCG I gave it one last spurt past the 3k walkers and across the line.

those 2 in green behind me are Spartans - have done 10+ consecutive Melb maras

After crossing the line you go down the players chute to get your medal, the lovely volunteer made me feel like a champion as she presented me with the medal. I met up with the girls who had finished before me and we fell into each others arms and had a little cry. It was an emotional moment. Running Buddy had done so well busting out a great time of 4:47 and poor Mel had her knee give out the 36 km mark and had to walk the last bit, she had had a great race up until that injury flared and finished in 4:57. We ended up 10 minutes apart.

We found our family and friends and headed separate ways to celebrate. I found Hayley and Ben who had seen me cross the finish line and we headed to a Richmond pub. It seemed like the longest km I had ever walked and was very glad to sit down and have this cold cider. She was nearly as proud of me as I was of myself!

I wore that medal all afternoon

Second marathon done. I remember while running the first one that I wouldn't run more than a half again but this one was better in some regards and not in others. The support from MCR this time was invaluable, feeling part of the group was very buoying. The volunteers are always awesome and now I have seen both sides of the Melbourne Marathon. The support along the course was good but not quite up to the standard of the Gold Coast, which was phenomenal. Finishing in the MCG is good but it is difficult to get to your supporters and then you're out of the ground. 

I felt like I couldn't have done any better on the day, there is probably improvements to be made and we'll examine those before...the next one.

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