Ready for an epic race recap? I’ll do my best not to make it too drawn out
Time to go!
I feel like I could not have been any more prepared for this race. I was ready to go – plenty of carbs, well hydrated, well-rested and feeling … springy.
Some time before 6am, my fabulous Mum and Dad drove me to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground – our huge Melbourne sporting arena) along with my cousin Emily, who was running the 10km.
This was Australia’s biggest marathon in history – 7000 people lined up for the marathon, and 30 000 people participated across all events.
Emily and I before the race
All too soon it was time to line up, find the 4 hour pacer, and chat to the people at the start line.
Some douch-bag with a microphone blathered on about pacing and being a smart runner. It may just be me, but seriously, if you aren’t running, shut the hell up.
There were 3 4 hour pacers. I followed the first one I saw. To get through in 4 hours, we needed to run each km at about a 10.6km/h pace.
This guy was running well over 11km/hour.
I dropped back to the second pacer (with Cait on my shoulder telling me to run my own pace and chick ‘em later!) – this guy was also going quickly, but at a very comfortable pace. Until 30km, I think I averaged around 10.7/10.8km/h. Each 10km was around 57 mins.
Finish time and splits
As I moved back, an older man came up behind me:
You aren’t doing much chicking. Looks like you’re getting bloked.
Stuff ya mate! He wished me luck as he moved on, and just for kicks, I passed a few more blokes.
At the 10km mark, I freaked out – my foot was tingling.
What the hell? This was something I hadn’t experienced before. I toyed with the idea of loosening my laces. But reminded myself I had intentionally kept them loose (and tightly knotted!). Passing through a drinks station, I quickly forgot, and after that my feet were totally fine (you know, for someone pounding the pavement for four hours).
I passed some people, and others passed me. There was a lot of luck and lot of smiling.
At this point, my fuel plan was flawless.I wanted a gel at every 8km, and a drink at each station (whatever I felt I needed).
At 16km I was 2 gels down. My stomach twinged, and I figured I should listen to it and let the stuff dilute a bit. I intended to split my gels after this, rather than to take them all at once.
Totally prepared with the gels!
The 20km mark was magic – I felt great, I hit the line at 1:53:00 and everything was good. As I hit the half marathon point, I thought of our friend Jes at rUnladylike – last week she ran a half iron-man (you know, a couple of weeks out from her marathon – no biggie Jes!). When she hit the ‘half-marathon to go’ point, she had swum AND just been on an epic ride.
That’s it Kate, imagine jumping off a bike, this is just the beginning of the run – go for it!
And then I got to 23km and everything fell apart.
This is also where we go into TMI.
I have stomach problems, and have had since I was 10. Generally I have them under control these days, but if anything is going to set it off, it’s running.
I downed 2 immodium before even staring the race, but at 23km I had that horribly urgent thought -
I need a bathroom. NOW.
Naturally, as soon as I finally saw a bathroom, the pain went away, and I hit my pace again. I downed my third immodium and moved on.
I was so prepared for this – oh dear!
At the next drink station, I pulled out my gel.
Nope. It wasn’t going to happen. I was sure that it would be the end of me, my breakfast and my race if I tried to swallow any more. I chucked it aside and hustled to get powerade at the aid station.
Until about 32 or 33km, everything was ok, I was on pace, and apart from an occasional twinge, all was dandy.
However, I knew my wall was coming up, and yet there was no way in hell I could get another gel down. All I could hope for was as much powerade as I could get.
St Kilda Road is a long stretch, and it was a looooong time until I found my drink. By this point I was slowing down dramatically. I was running on empty and I knew it.
Around 35km, some poor sod in front of me let one rip in a BIG way. Poor guy, I think he might have sharted (best word ever), and feeling sick, I wasn’t sticking around to find out. I chicked him.
In the high 30s, Mum and Dad were there, cheering me on. It was awesome to see them, knowing that I had run further than I ever had before.
Dad photography (thanks Dad!)
All of a sudden, we were in the botanic gardens. Giving up on my 4 hour goal, I just focused on chugging along, one foot in front of the other. Single digits left, one drink station to the next.
Run your own race, go your own pace.
Then it happened. The terrible choice – run, or follow in the poor sod’s footsteps. I was furious with myself. I looked desperately for a porta-loo, but none in sight.
Instead, I walked for about 200m and concentrated on breathing. A man with the best of intentions encouraged me along – I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if I ran, he did NOT want to be behind me.
I picked it up again, only to have the same thing happen at about 40.3km. I gritted my teeth, had a quick walk, and figured there was a drink station within the next km.
When I first saw the course map, I was shocked that there was a drink station so close to the end.
Holy crap was I glad it was there.
At this point there was no turning back. Somehow, some way, I made it into the MCG.
We had about 300m to run once inside. I thought I had nothing left, but then I saw the clock – 4:08:45. I have no idea why I could push then, but I did. I crossed the line a little after 4:09, and immediately lost the plot. I don’t know what I looked like, but a volunteer grabbed me immediately after I crossed the line. Embarrassingly, she sat me down at the first aid tent, where I was told to sit still and drink slowly.
None of that! I tried to get up as soon as I could, only to find my legs wouldn’t work. With no thought other than ‘get out’, I shuffled down the ramp slower than I thought was possible. I cried.
I looked up, and saw Mr The Rake and Chelsea banging on the glass. I waved, and continued shuffling.
I finally got through the medal carriers, the drink stations and the clothes pick-up (which I didn’t use) and found myself outside.
Mum, Dad, Chels and The Rake were nowhere to be found.
I walked toward the expo, found a doorway, sat down, and bawled. I had nothing left. Nothing.
After what seemed like an eternity I stood up, and shuffled directly into Chels and Mr The Rake. I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life! They had phones. I could sit.
Realising I was in bad shape, they offered the world’s best advice:
You’ve just run a marathon! Feel free to shit yourself.
I loved them so much at that point (and no, I did not).
You know what? I finished. I finished a freakin’ marathon.
With Mum at the end
Anyone up for the Gold Coast half next July? Or the Rozelle 10km in December?
Give me a few weeks - this runnerchick is a runnerchick for life.
Some crazy good (and hard) things happened today. I plan to tell you all about them, but first, Mr The Rake wants to weigh in. This afternoon, I said what I was thinking (filtering is not a strength of mine) and told him the roof of my mouth was sore.
Maybe it’s your brain trying to tunnel its way out.
Right now he’s making spaghetti bolognaise, and it smells amazing. Therefore, he is forgiven. This time.
Thanks for all your tips yesterday! So many great carb ideas (my personal favourites being Jenelle’s get-it-in-ya approach with snakes and gatorade, and a gorgeous recipe for angel-hair pasta (thanks Jill). Francine suggested dates, which are an excellent idea. I’m a bit squeamish about running on dry-fruit fuel, but it sounds as though it’s worth a try.
Point is, carbo loading was not all that much fun, and I’m glad I only have to do it once more!
The 32km run happened. And it happened in 3 hours, 9 mins and 54 secs. The last bit was uphill, and I am horrified at how slowly I went for those last few ks! I had D behind me telling me to push on (more on that in a sec), and it was BRUTAL. I know at about 28km I did not want to run a marathon. Ever.
I finally finished, and slowly, slowly made my way up the stairs of our apartment block.
Mr The Rake was so amused that he took a photo
All I wanted was a diet coke and a shower. Only one option was available.
Want to see something gross? Seriously, if you’re squeamish, don’t look…
My personal favourite is this:
Ok – you can look again!
So, a couple of really, really big thank yous are in order – and they will be even more so post-marathon. But I really do owe a LOT to a few people (and there are more of you who need to be thanked. These are just for today
D is my gym manager, and this morning, she took the running group around the bay so I could do my first of 4 laps. She took them back to the gym, and then out to breakfast – where she didn’t eat a thing.
Then, she came backdown to the bay as I hit my fourth lap (at 21km) (BTW – first ever half marathon today – Dad – it was 2:02 with lap 1 at marathon pace, and lap 2 at training pace).
She ran kilometres 21-30 with me, and even offered to run back to my house.
I was seriously struggling with the hilly end, and she knew it. She offered support and motivation, told me I was going to be fine, and reminded me that every beginner, ever, had felt the same way on that final hill. I was just feeling what those beginners feel – and if they could do it, so could I. When I tried to respond, I was told not to talk, and to keep my breathing regular.
This woman is incredible. Henceforth, D shall be known as superwoman.Because right now, she’s my super-hero.
She even asked me out for lunch, and gave me a lift when I had a blonde moment and forgot that I didn’t have a car…
Brett, the chiro, also needs his own name here. I’m sure he’ll come up with one for himself at some point! Suggestions please guys – this should be good.
Where I know the physio would have taken me out of the training program by this time, Brett has patiently dealt with every single one of my injuries, taught me how to strengthen my body, told me I would be strong enough to run, and has got me back on track.
Brett is magic man, and when I turned up with a swollen knee this week, he just beat the crap out of it, gave me really effective acupuncture, and told me I was fine to do today’s long run. And you know what? The knee is swollen, but not as bad as after last week’s 16km.
There is no way I’d be running as far (or fast) without his help.
Mr The Rake
For putting up with me. You are amazing. Today he went to get the diet coke I was craving (I don’t want to hear it – it was AWESOME) and brought me a protein shake while I stood under the cold water.
That’s love – dealing with sweaty gym clothes, temper tantrums, early nights, long-runs, endless one-way conversations about pacing and interval training…and bringing you protein when you refuse to leave the cool embrace of tiled box.
This post is starting to get way too long, so I’ll leave my extra questions for tomorrow. Watch out! I’m going to quiz you – do your math homework and be ready with some Powerade.
Superwoman’s generosity and support. Hands down.
…Though the old guy who gave me a thumbs up on a busy road at 31km is pretty excellent too.
AND thank you to everyone who has donatedso far! We hit the $2000 target today! There’s no cap though
This September, my favourite arty runner chick is having a competition. The deal is that you report your weekly running miles to your team captain (Ashley or Cait), and at the end of the month, the team with the most miles wins.
To add to the saga, here is my Mum, holding a tub of cream that expired in January this year. She found it after Dad tried to pour it down the sink, discovered it was no longer liquid, and put it on the bench.
Given that Dad turns 50 tomorrow, and the whole family will be over to celebrate, it’s probably for the best that we found it and removed it from our lives.
1. Low sodium (I did a salt loss check today using the highly scientific ‘lick your arm a little’ test. It was very effective). Nurse Mum to the rescue. Apparently I was drinking far, far too much water sitting around researching all day.
2. Low iron. Mum to the rescue again on this one. Having failed at eating enough this week, she gave me a couple of iron supplements.
3. Not enough to eat! I thought I was eating plenty; maybe even too much. Apparently when you start putting in the miles like this, all bets are off. It’s carbs, carbs, salt and fat like I’ve never experienced before!
Point is, I haven’t had a nap today, it’s long run day, it’s 12:45am, and I’m still a happy panda.
Squash face at 12:30am. Still going strong!
A good thing too! Because
It’s Saturday Night
And I’m in Melbourne, where all my school friends live. Dad’s birthday happens to coincide with a friend’s birthday, and so I headed across town to celebrate.
Mr The Rake arrived on Friday night, so he joined in
Fi celebrated her birthday in style, with a rainbow birthday cake
Fi and her amazing cake
And good friends
Her boyfriend also celebrated. By being dared to eat an entire lemon.
He didn’t flinch.
He also earned $30 for his *achievement*.
Long Run Day? Success.
I just picked up Little J from a party. He’s good value when he’s been drinking. As he jumped into the car, his mate came running out of the front door:
You said you’d take me home!
Little J had completely forgotten.
Is exercise on the agenda this weekend? If so, what?
Would you eat an entire lemon if someone paid you?
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I am Kate, a 24 year old Aussie living in Sydney. During the week, I run a business and spend time with my other half – Mr The Rake. In every spare second in between, I run.
I started Run With Kate to track my progress as I worked toward running the Melbourne Marathon.
I ran it. And I kept running. Running has helped me to overcome anxiety and disordered eating. It’s given me new friends, new goals, and a totally new outlook on life. Join me as I share my running adventures (and stupid stories) and share your adventures in return.
The Goal Getter Challenge : At the start of each month, choose a goal to aim for. On the last day of the month, post a photo with your progress to instagram or twitter using the #goalgetter2013 tag. See you there!