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Part 2: Canberra Marathon


On our way to Canberra I remembered I forgot to pack and print the course map, to print my pace splits and breakfast since the Hotel’s kitchen wouldn’t be open yet until later that Sunday, of course.  Before retiring to the room, it has been useful to ask the reception would they know where to get early breakfast as I would need it before this long run tomorrow.  Unfortunately it was already late and the convinience store is on the other side of the bridge that I could not bother to go as i needed to rest.  And the Receptionist remembered he can give me cereals and I got cookies too and that will do for me as that is my normal breakfast anyway.  So its all sorted out and went to bed at 10pm after drinking glasses of water.

Woke up: Set my alarm at 430am calculating it would be enough time for my food to get digested, and enough time for me to go to the loo before the race.  I instead snoozed my alarm and woke up 5 minutes before 5, drank water and ate my breakfast and coffee, showered, applied bencourub on my legs and shoulders and glutes (as the left side still been acting up and I was actually worried) .  I was also worried of getting upset stomach since I was having my period (sorry I needed to post this- it just shows how male and female differ isnt it? I was glad it did come early as scheduled or it would have been on the race day!!). Anyway, I decided to wear my shorts even If I brought my Skin tights with me I thought even if it was cold I will warm up during the run.  Packed 2 GU gels and 1 Gu RocTane in the arm pouch and same number of each in my shorts pockets and 1 tucked in the bra top.  Applied enough Body glide on myself and vaseline on my arms to keep me warm from the cold weather.

Wore my Nike Lunars, they were still soiled and dirty from the last 30KM race I did last month, I did not want to wash them as I am afraid it will wash the good luck on it.  And also wore my 2xU calf compression which I just got a week ago and wore them only once during my taper week.  My polar watch side by side by the white band strip of splits for a 4 hour target.  By 615 we walked towards the event area while started drinking a can of V and we arrived there looking for my fellow Woodstock but they are not there yet not until I saw Brendan, then Martin and Anthony then Thalia.  My support team has my belt bag of bencorub, Panadol, 1 sachets of GU gels as it won’t fit my pockets and the body glide.

Start: We had our own warm ups and stretches and 10 minutes to start we queued to the Start mats.  I was not feeling nervous as I was told to just think of it as another day of long training run with plenty other runners doing it with me.  No pressure.  Gun start exactly at 7am and off we go.  I should be running at this splits as a tip from Stephen Laws, a fellow Woodstock and morning run buddy – “First 10 K should be about 59 Minutes. 30 min first and second 29 min 5 K.  Then average 28 min for the rest which is :    5 K-30 min, 10 K-59 min, 15 K- 1:27 min, 20 K – 1:55 min, 21.1 K -2:01 min (this is a very dangerous distance. If you feel good. Don’t speed up!), 25 K -2:23 min, 30 K -2:51 min, 35 K – 3:19 min (at this point you only have a Bay run to go. This is were you speed up a little or just hang-on!), 40 K 3:47 min, 42.2 3:59 min.  I wrote down the times beside the times in my pace band since the one I got from the expo is a bit faster and Steve’s more conservative, I’d be running my own pace in between their splits as long as I don’t go slower as what Steve gave I will be alright and I know I will make it at 4:00 hour finish.

Before the Start

Before the Start

I also took mental note I should be in between the 3:45 pacer who was wearing a blue balloon and the 4:00 pacer who was wearing a white balloon which I managed to position myself easily after the gun start as I was behind the 400hr pacer.

Runners leaving after the gun start

Runners leaving after the gun start

On the first 800 meters I was running beside this male in Super man costume (super Marathon Man) and we were chatting.  I was suprised for him to know I was running my debut marathon and I said yes and he said you will be alright.  I told him, maybe I might need a lift later on if you fly and he told me it might get the other way around.  In the first two kilometers I was having light stitches on my right which I just kept on massaging and breathing deeply to easen it after the 2nd kilometer I am glad it was gone.

Super Marathon Man

5-10Km: First 5 and 10 Kms was good, slow paced trying not to speed up as recommended and having learned this a lot of times from experience anyway, so I am taking it easy talking to other runners saying Hi and Good mornings while I run beside them.  Funny enough 3 male runners I run with and run past recognized me from running the Sydney Marathon Clinic’s long races last February and March.  It is very appreciated how they’d say you do run well you’ll be fine.

Rick Collins caught up with me too saying Hi and how are you and left telling me, “you’ll see me again later.”  He was aiming for a 4:30 finish.  The weather was good and perfect. cold, fair weather, few northerly winds to keep us cool, glad did not get the head wind the faster runners get.  I was talking to myself, as I did not drive or seen the course before prior the run, and it was not FLAT as they say.  Went up twice the new Parliament house twice and that was a bit of a hill a ramp going up, going up a small bridge and the hill towards and out the foot of Black mountain.  Yes I did not like the sound of the mountain’s name, I’m glad it was a turn around point before the decent.  We did two loops on that course to the mountain where the Half Marathon marker is and same route on the 30th++Kms so you get a preview of what’s coming on the hardest part when you hit the “wall.”

In between I was not getting bored with all the expectator and the scenery and every now and then contniuosly my litany of the Rosary!

Half Marathon Marker: At that first half, Rachael McKinney of Cool Running caught up with me who was aiming for a 3:49 finish and also doing her debut.  That period it was also good to see Brendan then Martin going the other way already and I was cheering their name as they went past by and waved at Thalia who was very well concentrated on her run then Rick and as we did the loop I saw Jeff.  Just after the half Mara marker up the small hill Rachel dropped her lip balm and have to go back for it, I was waiting for her as I know I shouldn’t be running faster than her as she has a faster prediction time as I do.  We ran for a while then suddenly she dropped off, not sure what happened as I was still waiting the whole time even until the last kilometer to just sped up and go past ahead of me but I did not see her.

Before or after the half Marathon marker, Sissi and Martin calling my name out wondering who called out my name!

Before or after the half Marathon marker, Sissi and Martin calling my name out wondering who called out my name!

Cheerers, expectators, supporters:It was amazing running appreciating the crowd and expectators and cheerers around the course which was well scattered which does not make it a dull moment.  It was touching that most of them even if they do not know you would cheer and shout.  I was saying thank you everytime not until in the last few kilometers at 30th plus kilometer I was just sounding my appreciation through my lips because of exhaustion.  There was this lady who wore clothes and have loony music in her sound box telling us we are lunatics which is amusing.  The Cool running community have a very energetic team of cheerers with bells, clappers, pompoms led by Linda Barwick, it kept me smiling everytime I ran past them 4 x.  The Woodstock team who are very well scatterred, Caroline and Bronwyn who kept on walking all through most of the course, Mark O and Mark M with David and Brian, Kerry and her Family and Dot and Terry, Sissi and Martin.  (Wow! It is just now that I realized we did have such a number of support.)  They did really well and I bet it is different when there’s no one to cheer you and call your name in the crowd.

27 Km: Around the 27th Km the third time to see Terry, Sissi and Martin I remembered to get the 1 remaning gel I stuffed in the bag just in case I ran out and feel weak so I stopped and got it from them.

25Th Km, Brian taking a pic of me

Again at 25th KM pic by Brian

Again at 25th KM pic by Brian


30Km: I was running alright at the half, and waiting to get into the 30KM as that is where I placed my first personal refreshment of Propel labelled with my bib number and a purple ribbon.  I got there had my drink even I was holding two water sachets in my hand I stuffed the sachets in my Bra top while drinking and jogging.  It was too much to drink and I feel its a waste to throw it and I might need it some time.  It was  heavy so i did have to make a decision of tossing it to the ground after drinking almost half of the contents.

35Km: Next pit stop is the 35 Kms which is somewhere soon that was the route towads the Black mountain for the 2nd time.  On the 32 Km I was waiting for the wall to hit me.  I was still okey.  I was waiting 33, 34, …37 nothing.  In the 35th Km I got my 2nd and last personal drink and grabbed a sachet of water I passed Rick who started to walk by then.  I called out to him and he said he’ll catch up.  I tossed my refreshment bottle still half full as I was plodding with its weight.  At the 38th Km, a few meters before the incline to the bridge I decided to get ready with my next gel took it out of my shorts to stuff it in my bra top and I dropped it!  I did have to go back for it, bend and pick it up.  That hurts! The 3 male runners I ran past passed me while i pick the gel up and slowly pick my pace and my calf started to stiffin my soles stiffin and this can not be! It was painful nearly cramping on both legs.  Psyched my self-and tried to relax, slowly jogged as it was going up the incline, Overtook the 3 runners and gained my old position back, and running side by side with another male runner and by the top of the hill he just stopped.  And I encouraged him to run and he just did not run and started walking.  From the 35Km there more runners who were already started to walk.  Runners who were ahead of me.  I felt I was already jogging but I wasnt walking yet.

38KM: At that 38th KM I was already going down at 6:48 min/Km pace and I am suppose to speed up at this distance imagining the bay run for 4 more kilometers to go.   I already thought I would be way off my 4 hours target at this 6 plus pace.  But it did not bother me, I am few more kilometers to finishing, that is important.   It was becoming more painful in the calf,  hard as brick as i NEEDED to walk and stop.  I did walk and stop 4 x.  Brisk walk if i can which i do not feel it was a brisk enough.  2nd to the last walk was before I saw Sissi and the team and Terry handing me V and jelly babies, that was 1 more kilometer to go.  I declined I was already too full of liquid not thirsty but the legs were in pain but still tolerable that i was still jog-running.  i can see and hear the cool running team calling out for my name and I told myself I could not afford to walk in front of the cheerers, as I tried my best to run and smile and say thank you, 800 more meters 1 last walk about to really walk towards the finish and i was running with few others and If i can remember 3 other females with me, 1 with bike support 1 went ahead while I was walking.

a V and jelly babies on 1 more kilometer to go

a V and jelly babies on 1 more kilometer to go

Finish: I can see the finish line, the path where I did my warm up jog, few more meters but I do not know how much time I got left.  Then there’s this man, its the senior male runner I always go equal at fun runs who I saw ran yesterday’s 10Km cheering and walking telling the runners “be constant in your pace, you are a few more meters to the finish … you will do a sub 4 hours.”  That woke me up, I am still under 4 hours?!? I will make it so I speeded a bit with pain but at the straight path I can see the finish chute, but the clock was fuzzy, is that 3:58.. or 59? 200 more meters its 3:56:2x then heard the Woodstock called my name that gave my spirit more buzz and sprinted (not really) towards the chute.

Towads the finish chute, funny running form ...

Towads the finish chute, funny running form ...

I felt fullfilled after.  Very happy I made it 2-3 minutes before my target time.  The run was offered to HIM, who I owe my life and strength, this isn’t my run.  It was HIS.  I was high and happy to walk even with slight pains.  We were driven back to the hotel we chcked out and showered.  Headed for lunch where I just had chips, beer and water.  Headed to the after party Race at Rydges hotel met few debutants and left for the 5pm flight to Sydney. I’m on high.  the beers numbed my legs I feel great. I’d defenitely run one again soon, don’t know when.  Happy enough that my time gets me qualified to do the gruelling 6 foot Track and the Boston marathon.  Who knows, maybe one day …

Made it!

Made it!

Event: Canberra Marathon
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Net Time: 3:46:05
Gun Time: 3:46:49 (645th out of 1167 finishers, 28th Category place)
Distance: 42.2 Kms
Results: Marathon, Ultra-Marathon

Note: Consumed 1 can of V pre race, cup of energy drink, lots of water sachets, sips from the Propel isotonic drink, 6 Gu Gels out of 8.   From Polar Max pace was 4:57, avg at 6:04.
Splits (the polar became unreliable as it only measure 38.xx kilometers): 5:43.9, 5:46.1,5:50.9,5:57.9, 6:10.0, 5:55.1, 5:43.1, 5:49.9, 5:47.0, 5:43.1, 5:47.8, 5:53.3, 5:48.7, 5:54.1, 5:44.0, 5:54.0, 5:44.8, 5:58.3, 5:47.8, 5:57.0, 6:14.0, 6:08.9, 6:01.2, 6:04.9, 6:08.0, 6:07.9, 5:58.0, 6:03.2, 6:09.0, 6:14.8, 6:18.0, 6:28.2, 6:12.9, 6:30.2, 6:47.9, 6:37.8, 6:41.0, 6:41.1, 5:48.4.

The 4 hour split tape

The 4 hour split tape

My mates who ran below.  Not able to get their pictures (Brendan Davies-2:51:14/3:30:41-ultra, Martin Amy- 3:01:25, Rick Collins 4:06:24, Jeff Marounga – 4:32:30/5:40:45 Ultra)

Anthony Robinson, debut-3:27:05

Anthony Robinson, debut-3:27:05

Vass Vassilou - 3:32:08

Thalia Anthony- debut - 3:54:04

Thalia Anthony- debut - 3:54:04

The Event was won by by runners from New South wales:  Male David Criniti  – 2:26:09; female: Magda Karimali-Poulos – 2:43:19; Ultra Marathon: Male: David Criniti – 2:57:42; Female: Verity Tolhurst – 3:39:00.  There were 893 males, 310 females who registered and 1167 finishers.

Thanks God I finished alive :D.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. sook54 permalink
    21/04/2009 7:14 am

    Good on you runningcat! You had a plan and you executed it well. I’m glad you enjoyed the cheering!

    Thanks Sook54! The cheering was very well appreciated. Your tagged on the next Marathon 😉

  2. 21/04/2009 11:02 pm

    Fantastic job runningcat! Congratulations on a great run!

    Thanks Flyingemu! Well done on your debut as well 🙂 and well wishes on your next project!

  3. 24/04/2009 9:07 am

    CONGRATS, KAT!!! wow, you’re fast! well done! i’m inspired. great, great job!!

    Salamat Eric! You guys inspire me! see it did work 🙂

  4. sundaywarrior permalink
    09/05/2009 12:35 am

    Hi there congrats! You are fast compared to my first marathon which is over 5hrs, next time the Ultra?

    Thanks Chito!Its not fast, calculation say I am running an average pace of just a lil less of 6min/km which is slow! Happy I finished sub 4. I think I am attributing the decent time and decent finish physique on training and hardwork. I bet if you would train you can surprise yourself 🙂 with the time you’ll get.

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