At the 15km mark I realised the weather gods had again smiled on me despite the horrible forecast. Cloudy and a little warm at 13 degrees. Certainly not the wind and persistent rain that we’d all expected.
At the start line I felt tired. Is it just me or do all runners fail to sleep the night before a big race. At 51 you’d think I might have learnt to check my emotions a little more. Other than that, I felt ready. My 14 week training block had been consistent. Not even a slight hamstring strain at week 3 prevented me from running or staying the course.
At 28km it started pissing down but by then I had other more pressing concerns. My left glute began screaming and then my right glute started to copy. Probably because it was just craving the lack of bloody attention. Fatigue. Nothing more sinister. Note to myself. Quarter squats for glute strength.
My pre-race strategy was simple. Run the first half in 1:29 (4.16 pace). Hold that to 30km. Then decide whether to press for a sub 3 or consolidate for a PB (3:08). My time at 33km was 2:21 (4.16 pace). Looks perfect on paper right but mentally I was breaking down.
We’ve all been there. The pain, the hurt, the mind games, the why. I certainly wasn't bonking. Bonking is way different. Bonking is wanting to stop or having to stop. I was fighting the hurt of trying to maintain 4.16 pace and, on this day, and at this stage of my running life, I just don't have it.
At 34km I began to run the last 200m of each km as hard as could. It’s worked brilliantly in the past and again it helped to unshackle the monotonous discomfort.
Soon after I crossed the line.
Very sore and agonisingly closer to the dream. Will it ever happen?