Monday, 26 May 2014

Race Review Marathon 8 #Ouch #GORMarathon

Race Start
Well I made it. You can do a marathon and in this case a 45km road run off 7 weeks training.

The good was that I loved the race - The Great Ocean Road is spectacular, the bad is that I suffered for the final 15km (although that is no surprise) and the ugly is me vomiting in a plastic bag down the freeway racing to get to the airport!

Its best to start from where we left off, I was on the train travelling out to Geelong on Friday night. It had been a really hectic couple of days with work, travelling to Sydney and Melbourne. But it was finally time to relax and settling into some "quiet time" before getting too pumped up about the marathon ahead.

My quiet trip on the train to Geelong was interrupted by the ticket police giving me a virtual full body cavity search prior to arriving at the station. When I finally arrived I was just glad to be in one piece!

Greg picked me up from the Train Station and it was great to be back in his company. As a person he shares a lot of similar values and life outlooks as Ben, and we had a great time catching up over a couple of beers and a meal at a nice pub in Geelong. Greg and Stef had moved to Rocky from Geelong for work and about 18 months ago moved back. Whilst he was in Rocky we drank a lot of beer and shared a love of cricket and footy.

Greg ran Gold Coast Marathon in 2012 as part of a "bucket list" and hasn't really run since. His number 1 passion is golf and the deal for the weekend was I was going to come and watch him do his magic at the local course on the Saturday and he was going to taxi me around Sunday, "taxi" turned into scenes from the Dukes of Hazzard - more on that later!

Bells Beach

Greg chipping on
On Saturday I slept in to 7am, felt great and begged Greg to take me to Bells Beach. One of my favourite action movies is Point Break and in the final scene Agent Utah (Keanu Reeves) character follows bank robber Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) to Bells Beach where Bodhi surfs Bell's massive waves in the a 50 Year Storm. So I just had to get to Bells!

After Bells Beach we headed to Greg's childhood golf course where he has also until recently been club President. My job was to caddy and take a bit of video of Greg's swing so he could look at some areas to improve. It was a really solid afternoon, just relaxing on the golf course watching Greg absolutely carve up. His biggest drive was 310 meters. Just insane. When  he got in trouble his recovery shots just bailed him out, time and time again he was able to put the ball next to or on the green to make an easy par. I've played a bit of golf and know how hard it is, Greg is a gun player and it's no wonder he has won a number of tournaments in the Geelong area since returning.

After I had walked about 6km doing my Caddy duties I was starting to tighten up a little in the left calf, and got a little worried that it was going to give me problems the next day. By the time we got to Lorne and had dinner it was close to 8pm, we watched a bit of the footy and went to bed ready for the marathon.

First things first, I wasn't really nervous until 10 minutes before we left the motel. It just felt like a long training run, the race start was about 5 minute walk up the road - and as we left the motel people were starting to make their way to the start area and do their warm up. I had dressed in a long sleeve Nike top and Scody singlet, I didn't want to get cold or sun burnt from a long day out on the road.

Race Start

The race start was delayed for some reason and we waited around for a long time, at about 8.10 I think we got started - and I placed myself at the rear of the field to make sure I didn't get carried away with going too fast early. The road was full of runners with all shapes and sizes running around the 6.15 pace. I was really careful not to go any faster than 5.30 pace on the downhills so I didn't blow up. It was a really odd feeling not to be even slightly concerned with my km splits, this is meant to be a race but it was the furthest I had run since GC 2012 so I just needed to get roll my legs over and get into the groove.

The views along the road are simply spectacular. On your left side for 45km is the ocean, at various stages she is quiet and calm others she roars with spectacular huge waves curling over and crashing onto the rocky outcrops. Running this marathon was so different to others in that there was virtually no spectators thus the only noises were shoes and running chit chat. It was so tranquil I forgot I was even in a race for the first 15km.

As I had started at the rear of the field I found myself just cruising along, passing people and having a chat at their pace for a while. I ran with a lady for about 15 minutes, she asked me why I was at the back running so slow and that I looked "fast" and should be up the front, we had a good chat until she said I was going too slow and should probably go faster!

Along the run it really felt like I was running an Ultra, there were little to no crowds and most people were running in pairs or solo at a comfortable pace. It wasn't really a "race" and didn't feel like there was a huge sense of urgency to finish. Everyone seemed just to be enjoying the day out.

I think everyone should just go and sign up and suffer through a marathon like this. Where you just run, walk a bit, stop take photos, run slower and talk to other marathoners. I have never had such a relaxing race. I can certainly see how people run multiple marathons over a year. It is such a different feeling than running for a time and pushing for a PB.

Done - Marathon 8 is complete

I received a text from Greg saying that he didn't want to alarm me BUT I better stop stuffing around as there was a 40 minute wait to get out of Apollo Bay. The drive back to the Melbourne Airport was going to take about 2.5hrs, so I knew we would be cutting it fine if I finished at 1pm, but the problem was we started about 10 minutes late and I didn't realise the delay getting out of Apollo Bay.

So after collecting my medal, I immediately walked back to the car and we left (or tried to leave) - we sat in the car for 40 minutes trying to get out of Lorne. The GPS said we would arrive at the airport at 4.40pm. Greg said it would be touch and go if I would make it to the airport.

The spoils

If you have ever run a marathon, you can at the end feel a little emotional. Sometimes really happy, other times tired exhausted and even a little teary. Well I was a little teary, after a spectacular weekend with Greg and an awesome day enjoying the scenery, now I was stressing out that I wouldn't make it home.

Getting home was always going to be a challenge, I had already been away 4 days and was really starting to miss the kids terribly. If I missed the 5pm flight that was it, I could get back to Brisbane but would miss the connecting to Rockhampton.

Now I would never say Greg broke the speed limit or we did anything risky but below is a true representation of Greg's ute as we made our way through the "back roads" of Geelong to the motorway. Greg promised it was the quick way!

I'm not sure if it was the motion sickness, stress or post marathon nausea but as we hit the motorway I needed to vomit. I reached down and grabbed a plastic bag and spewed into it as we were driving along. Up came powerade and plain Smiths chips. However we couldn't pull over as we were so late so I had to carefully drop the bag out the window. I never litter - so feel really bad, but I wasn't prepared to nurse a bag full of spew all the way to the airport.

I checked in on-line as we drove along and just hoped that they would let me on the flight.

We arrived at the airport, and I raced up to the counter. It was 4.45 and I begged the ladies to let me on the plane, they took my bag and said I had 2 minutes before they shut the doors. I raced through security, cutting in front of the line and made my way onto the plane. As I walked on they shut the doors behind me. I sat down, exhausted, I was still wearing my running gear.

I sat there with a stink of caked on sweat all over my clothes, spew on my shorts - holding my medal. Marathon 8 was complete. With no time goal it was liberating just to enjoy the day and the scenery. In reflecting what it means, it certainly feels like the start of something new. Reborn as a runner, maybe this is the future. Just running with no pressures of time or pace. Besides my first marathon this marathon had none of the post marathon blues about how fast I should of went.

8 Marathon Medals

With Gold Coast Marathon 6 weeks away, it is time to get in and smash out a big block of training. Brenden was in Beast Mode and crushed a 1.39 half marathon yesterday, so I will just have to run with him and hope to hold on for as long as possible.


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