Exhausted and proud at the end of my 42km journey
I DID IT!!!!!!!
My first ever marathon, completed in 4 hours 31 mins 😀
The day started off nice and cool at 5am with a quick brekkie of toast and chutney, followed by the drive/walk to the MCG & Tennis Centre for the race start. I’d prepared my lemon Gatorade in my bandolier, along with my running outfit (photographed and distributed to my awesome cheer squad to help them find me at the finish!), so I didn’t have to muck about at all before heading off. There was no way I was going to sleep through my alarm in any case – I kept waking up with excitement! ;P
At the ‘G I dropped off my jumper at the warm clothing area, and made my chilly way back up to the main concourse to meet Cheryl and her family. We then weaved our way through the crowds to the start, in front of Rod Laver Arena.
Cheryl set a strong pace early – faster than I was intending to do – so we shook hands at the top of St Kilda Road and she headed off to run her own race. I then settled into my ‘game pace’, and began soaking in the fun atmosphere of the race. There was plenty of fun to be had ‘people watching’, and I made it down to Albert Park (10km) without incident (although the five guys that overtook me at ‘pit lane’ nearly made me pass out – gentlemen, please wear deodorant at races!).
The 10-20km leg was a lovely trip along the South Melbourne waterfront, and I felt truly in my element, ready to take on the world. It was awesome! The 20-30km leg along the St Kilda side of the beach had me starting to engage some of my mental focus, as my glutes and ITB’s started to tire.
The ultimate test of ‘mind over body’ came however in the 30-42km leg. Up until this stage I had been keeping a consistent pace that had held me in good stead throughout the run (I averaged 6min 21secs per km over the course of the 42kms). However by the time I hit the 30km split time mat I was beginning to fatigue, big time. The only thing keeping me going was the prospect of my friends and family at the finish line, how they were expecting me between 11am-12pm, and my hard-arse mental coach yelling ‘If you stop running, you’ll seize up and *&%#ing well not start again!’. An awesome sign I saw being held up by a man on the side of the road at the 32km mark (the furthest I had ever run at that point) was ‘Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever’. From then on ‘Pain is Temporary, Pain is Temporary’ became my mantra, pushing me through the next few k’s.
Unfortunately I did have to stop during the 36-42km leg for 2 20-second stretch breaks, and 2 20-second power-walk/stretch-outs, but I slipped straight back into my pace shuffle, and kept on keeping on! I made sure throughout the run to keep my electrolyte drink and water trickling in so I never hit ‘the wall’, which was a great bonus. Lactic acid was my only nemesis in those last 12kms! It was sad to see a couple of runners being loaded onto ambulance stretchers at the 37km mark. I don’t know what had happened, but the runners looked absolutely gutted. I know I would have been L
I met up with the 4hrs 30mins ‘pace runner’ at the 39km mark, just as I was crossing Princes Bridge en route to Flinders St, then Brunton Ave and the ‘G. He was shouting out to his ‘team’ “We’re all going to finish it now! We’re going to finish it! Just enjoy these last few k’s!”. It was a great little pep-talk, at just the right time, and pushed me along those last few painful kilometres to the MCG, to take my lap of honour.
My sister was shouting and waving as I came around towards the finish line, and I stopped to wave back before realising I should probably finish the race and stop blocking up the track ;P I then sprinted for it, and finished in style J The next few minutes were a blur as I tried to keep my feet and tried to find my family and friends in the crowd. One of the bloody marshals put his hand in my face and directed me away down the finishers’ chute when I was JUST ABOUT TO FIND MY CHEER SQUAD IN THE AUDIENCE dammit!!! I ended up missing seeing them which is a huge shame, but after a brief stretch (trying quickly as possible to get my legs walking again) I went up to the main gate to see everyone and celebrate the end of months of hard work. It was so lovely – my mum had even made me a banner! ;D Nothing can explain how awesome it was to be with my b/f, sister, niece, bro-in-law, parents, auntie, uncle and housemates and share such an awesome moment with them. It was brilliant!!!
After experiencing the intense mental battle of those last 12kms, I don’t know if I’ll do a marathon again any time soon. But I’m definitely super-proud of my latest achievement, and can’t wait to plan my next crazy adventure!