It's less than 2 weeks until Gold Coast Marathon, this being my 5th Gold Coast and my 9th Marathon the build up could not be any more different.
The biggest difference with this marathon is that I am not overly emotionally invested into the result next week. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but I know I am not in top marathon shape so whatever happens next week will be a marker for where I am at with my training.
In the past I certainly have overly committed to the race result, and in doing so put a lot of pressure on myself. The North Face 100 in 2012 was the best example, an all or nothing approach that cost me a 100k finish. My other Gold Coast Marathons have also had a similar feel, where I have tried to run to a goal time and not to a time that is realistic to my endurance abilities.
We had a little test run last Friday afternoon, it was meant to be 15km at 5.05 pace or around goal marathon pace. I wanted to see where I was at, and if I was in shape to run a 1.45 half of the first part of the marathon. Rod was joining Brenden and I and we settled into 5.00 pace pretty easily, Rod being super fit was able to run just in front as we cruised along behind. I was working hard but not insanely hard. We grabbed a drink at 6km then proceeded down Dean St and around 8km I started to get a stitch under my right rib. A stitch WTF! Where did this come from. By the time we made it to the water stop at 11km I was labouring badly. The other two finished the run off, and I ran slower trying to get my stitch sorted and my head in the right space.
The run was meant to be a nice confidence builder for Gold Coast, some positive reinforcement that I was "on track". It however worked the opposite and left me with a honest view that I am a long long way from being in 3.50 marathon shape. Although I wrote last week about how I was just going to run hard over the first 21km I am not second guessing this plan. I have 3 further 15-20k runs before next week - so unless something dramatically happens I may just have to run sensibly at 5.30pace and see where I end up.
Brenden on the other hand is smashing it, and on Sunday finally broke 20minutes for 5km, sharing this training journey with Brenden has been very rewarding he is a really good guy, kind hearted and has a great understanding of exercises physiology. We have been running these 1km repeats a road loop around my place, just crunching them consistently at 4.15-4.10 pace. Some weeks they are a bit quicker but generally we don't get too carried away with going "super fast". I really think this key session is one of the reasons Brenden was able to finally break 20 minutes - long hard intervals just knock you into shape.
Great running Big M.
In other news it has been a really less than ideal preparation, more closely resembling a disastrous preparation for my mate Donald who is running the Marathon next week. With a couple of ankle and foot injuries he just hasn't run the volume he should have, he went past the point of no return a few weeks ago and now is in a tough spot of being under done. Next week will certainly be a huge suffer fest for him, I doubt any of it will be enjoyable - but the Marathon like life can be like that sometimes.
Somehow I have to finish my Marathon, get some calories on board and run another 10km with Donald. I am trying not to think about this as an Ultra - but there is a risk my race doesn't go well and I can't complete my pace runner duties as prescribed.
I have built this situation for myself - its not ideal BUT should make an awesome blog either way! HA
Stay safe running