20 April 2015


Another 100! My log book over the last 4 weeks reads 100, 105, 100 and 95. This is new territory and surprising it feels comfortable. Let’s see if it translates into anything special as I begin my taper 12 days out from the Rotorua Marathon. 

Like a prematurely aging old pro I can look back at 3 distinct running phases I’ve navigated. The 45km/week phase that produced a couple of 3.45 marathon times 2 years ago. The 80km/week phase that was plagued with injury but produced a number of 3.24 times 1 year ago. More recently I’ve settled into 100km/week which by and large is run pain free. Recently a 3.18 on a stormy day at Mountain to Surf pointed to the promise of better things to come. 

Yesterday’s long run was my last real test before Rotorua. It didn’t start well. The malaise I felt sapped the spark I’d enjoyed all week long and it worried me. Like a wounded and frightened possum caught in the headlights of an oncoming Nissan Bluebird I contemplated the 30km ahead of me. Just 2 pieces of toast (with marmite) and a cup of coffee might have had something to do with this stiffness that ran through every inch of my body, I thought to myself. After 2km of easy running I finally felt something stir from within and with that, it was time. That morning I’d decided to run the 30km as hard as I could. I felt it was important to find my limit, understand where it was and consequently plan for it come race day. 

2 hours and 16 minutes later I’d made it back to the car park. I’d run a very hilly course in ideal weather at 4.33/km pace. That last split was particularly tough yet I’d run it at 4.23/km (Garmin splits here). So how did I feel propped up with both hands against the car? Tired for sure. My hips felt tight and a little sore. I lacked energy and drive. Thinking back I tried to work out at what point had I started my countdown to the end of the run. Always a bad sign.  Yet my splits over the final 10km were far better than in the first 20km which begs the question. Just where is my wall now? 

Now with my back to the car and looking across the city to the lake I decided to attack Rotorua with the same aggression I had just mustered.  I settled on the number 34 too. The 34km mark felt likely as my inevitable wall. All the more reinforced as I gingerly maneuvered my stiffening body into the sitting position of the car. It’ll be mental too, not so much physical as it had been all those times before. Knowing is a wonderful thing and such a relief. Running marathons and breaking PBs isn’t supposed to be easy. I guess the trick is accepting it. 

Next post will be my race report in a couple of weeks. Until then look after yourselves.

My two favourite coaches


  1. Marmite was your undoing Mark - you'd be saying 38k is your wall if you'd been on Vegemite! Great long run and consistent long weeks. You'll have a great marathon (as long as you don't get Scott Brown's gusty headwinds). Enjoy the taper.

  2. Never (vegemite). Had another look at Scott Browns recent post and I reckon there may be something in those upper compression socks. Not the rage here given we are all rugged All Black types but if it gives me an edge ... ah maybe next time.

  3. Been noticing your pace per K has been coming down and distance increasing on "Garmin Connect" I'll repeat what I yelled to Sage at the beginning of the Boston Marathon. "Get It Done Son!" ;)

  4. Thanks mate. Another look at your Boston photos pre race should be just the tonic I need. Fantastic display of true grit. I'll do my best.