Wednesday, 13 July 2011

T - 86 Days

With the big run block done it's into a solid build phase to Hawaii.

86 days to go is pretty terrifying.  Especially, as this was the week when Wellington decided the mildest autumn / early winter on record should come to a stormy end and she's throwing all sorts of horrid dark weather at us. Well me.

Thankfully I've secured the hire of a Taxc Fortius VR (wind) Trainer.  It was cheaper to rent this for 3 months than buy a bottom of the range turbo and frankly it's got enough bells and whistles to almost make training indoors fun.  You can even steer it!

Thank you to Elite Race Rentals for the quick and efficient service.

So this week the hard bike miles have started.  I'm not feeling as weak as I was worried I would, so there is a little confidence I can be in pretty average shape in a month or so.  The swimming has been ticking over on 2 or 3 swims a week and the running, although no fast, is feeling good. 

So actually, with 86 days to go, I'm shaping up ok to not embarrass myself too much out in the sun with the best in the world :p

P.s If anyone has a Fortius and can give me tips on how the hell it all works, please get in touch!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Gold Coast Marathon

Not the best day, but a great reminder of just how tough it is to race a marathon.

Flying out of a cold and damp Wellington it was a very pleasant surprise to see some sun and experience Gold Coast winter. Longer days and 20 degrees in the depths of winter, no wonder it's such a popular winter retreat for athletes and everyone else.

Mel and I were lucky enough to be put up by her cousin Cam and wife Emma - thanks guys. Cam, along with his training mate Justin was also racing. After a lazy Saturday chatting running and watching movies it came to light the three of us were gunning for 2:40 to 2:48 pace. It was going to be fun.

On the back of my legacy marathon PB I'd scored a priority start, this I thought would at least give me a few seconds on Cam and Justin. I was wrong. We all lined up together and it was worthless, apart from the extra weight of the sticker on my number! Gold Coast is a pretty decent marathon, 5000 runners and a cracking flat fast course. I decided to take the first 5k steady, the plan was to run 39min 10k's (3:54 k's) and see how I was doing at 30k, if I felt average or better I'd try to push on and dip under 2:45, otherwise I should at least hold on for 2:48.

Within a k Justin caught me off the start and we watched Cam trot on up the road. He was hoping for a 2:39 so I was happy to let him go. Justin and I went through the first 5k in 19:30 and the same for the next. This was a little behind the pace I was hoping for, but it felt about right and we had a decent little group. Plus the first 16k of the course were into a light headwind, so I though I'd let it fly and maybe pull back a few seconds once we turned and had the wind on our backs. The next 10k was slightly slower but still I was very happy to go through half way in 1:23 and small change This put me on for a 2:46 and I still thought a negative split could be possible.

Unfortunately, the wheels started to come off pretty quick after halfway. I'd mentally prepared for it being tough from 30k. But battling for 4k pace from the 24th kilometre wasn't what I was expecting. At 30k I was still holding a fair pace; 2hrs for 30k was still 4min k's and I was hopefully I could hold on for a 2:48 and I'd be happy enough with that. But I'd done too much to hold the pace to that point. With the heat coming into the sun I was really battling. Once I crept over the point that 2:50 was lost I relaxed and pretty much jogged it in.
The last 10k still hurt like hell but I knew I’d easily get under 3hrs, so I rolled it home for a 2:58 and third place of Cam, Justin and I!
A coke and a brief collapse and I hauled myself into the stands to watch Mel finish. After a confident start she too faded slightly in last 10k but still ran a great race to finish her debut marathon in 4:16. Sub 4 is in the bag next time Mels xx