Before I took my hiatus from blogging last year I was on the countdown to the Melbourne Marathon. Last week I started my 8-week preseason training for the Gold Coast marathon in July, I decided it was about time I wrote about Melbourne.
We drove to Melbourne on the Thursday before the marathon. Initially it hadn’t occurred to Steven that I might want them all there waiting for me at the finish line. It was the only race I ran all year where all five of them saw me cross the finish line. Running 42.195km is a pretty momentous kind of thing, having them all there was pretty important to me.
Friday morning we headed to Brighton so I could have a massage. I was a bit hesitant booking with a male masseuse at Endota but I was very thankful that I did because he had a lot of sports massage experience.
The weather on the Friday was my idea of nightmare conditions, wintery with a howling wind. After my massage we had some brunch and drove the course. The Beaconsfield parade section just kept going and going and going, and that was in the car. I might have hyperventilated a little. We spent the afternoon at the Melbourne museum, we love museums and this one didn’t disappoint.
Saturday was spent riding Puffing Billy, having lunch at a Yarra Valley winery and finishing the day with an hour at the Healesville Sanctuary. One of the best benefits to being zoo members is the reciprocal rights you get at zoos in other states. It was broccoli and chicken for dinner followed by stretching and bed. It took forever for me to get to sleep with a mix of nerves and excitement.
Sunday morning, Steven dropped me off, I had enough time for a last nervous wee in port-a-loos with no running water and some dynamic stretching before it was time. Just writing this is giving me a surge of adrenaline. Steve Monaghetti was our starter, we stood to attention for the national anthem, I was amazed to be standing next to a bloke who was wearing no shoes (Steven counted 3 that he saw during the race), the atmosphere was friendly and the weather was perfect.
It felt so good to start and finally be running the race I had spent 9 months preparing for. There were times when I didn’t know if my body would make it to that point and plenty of times when I wasn’t sure if my head could do it. However, my body honestly felt as well prepared as it possibly could be.
The first 10km passed quickly, Steven and the kids were waiting near the circuit around Albert Park Lake and it was a little boost to see them. I had worked out that if I wanted to see the front runners I would have to be on Beaconsfield parade before they passed the intersection on their way east, I knew that it would be a pretty closely run thing whether I got to see them or not. It was very nearly an ugly cry moment when I saw them, I had just made it.
I passed through the halfway mark in great time, if I had only been doing a half that day I am confident that I would have had a sub 1:35 in me, it was a PB on my Adelaide half time by nearly 5 minutes.
Things got tough on the second half of Beaconsfield parade. I knew that the 25-35km would be tough mentally but turning the corner off Beaconsfield parade and heading back in to town gave me a boost and I powered on until I got to the section through the botanic gardens where we came together with some of the slower half runners. This section of the course was narrower than the rest and for this short section that I had to weave my way through slower runners, and often walkers in groups.
After I had cleared the half marathoners I hit the uphill section in the botanic gardens, getting through this part and back out on to the main road was tough. In my head I was likening it to childbirth, reminding myself that it would be over soon and I would never have to do it again (if I didn’t want to).
Somehow I completely missed the 38km mark, I had seen it from the other side of the road before the botanic gardens section but as I came up the hill to Fed Square I knew I was closer than 3km, I hit the 39km mark and I went for it. Somehow I managed to run the last 2 and a bit kilometres in about 10 minutes. Just before I turned to head down, around and in to the MCG someone called my name and waved. Someone I hadn’t actually met yet but had started to form a friendship with on Instagram of all places. Having Chantel call out to me gave me the biggest surge of adrenaline, the feeling of it flushing through my muscles was unreal and just what I needed to get me through that last little bit.
I always thought that I would ugly cry coming in to the G. But, I didn’t. Not when I saw Steven and the kids and not when I crossed the finish line. I’d done it. In 3:33:18 I had done it, nearly 30 minutes faster than the time I had set my hopes on nine months earlier I had done it.
I was handed my finishers medal and grabbed some drinks and fruit and stumbled back outside to try and find my family. I wasn’t capable of going very far. When you give birth the pain pretty much stops instantly. When you run a marathon the opposite happens. I was shivering and crying on and off and my body was cramping and eventually they found me, two phone calls from borrowed phones and messages left, about an hour after I finished they found me.
We slowly made our way back to the car and back to where we were staying. I was thankful for the very large spa bath before I passed out on the couch.
We celebrated with an awesome dinner at St Katherine’s. Within 48 hours I was contemplating my next marathon. By the time I had finished my self-enforced 6 week rest from running I had set my sights on the Gold Coast.
Yes, I am a little bit crazy.
If you are keen to know a bit more about my marathon training programs I'm more than happy to share.