After running very little and inconsistently this month due to a persistent knee/ITB issue i was in two minds over whether or not to run. Just the day before I nipped out to the shops and just jogging 1km was an issue. Later in the day I went for a 5km tester with Phill. I tapped up my leg and the pain was manageable but i was running 1.5km/min slower than planned marathon pace. In the end I thought I would give it a crack and pull out if the pain was too much.
I woke up naturally at 3.30am before my 4am alarm went off. I decided to get up and take my time getting ready rather than rushing things - even had time to use the foam roller. Breakfast was a large bowl of porridge, cup of tea and a litre of water. I then set about taping up my knee using the method shown to me by a physio i saw a while back. I probably over did it a bit but what the heck. I also planned on running with a patella strap so popped that on to. I decided to take my ipod as i thought there would be times when id be on my own and not chatting. As it turns out I didn't have any conversations with any other runners whilst on the course.
The drive over to Blacktown Athletics Arena didn't take as long as i had planned so I sat in my car for 30 mins whilst the minibus arrived to take us to the start line.
Once there it was another wait for 90 mins and I was on the verge of hypothermia by the time we kicked off. Chatted to Buzz and Roger Hanney at the start line and then we were on our way.
The first few km's were just demoralising. The pain in my knee was excruciating and i was 95% certain I would have to pull out. I was running with a limp as the tight taping meant I couldn't bend my knee fully so i must have looked a little odd. The patt strap was also on too tight and aggravating my calf so I stopped at the 5km point and took it off. I decided to continue on firstly due to the fact that I had gotten up early to run and secondly if I pulled out I would be waiting around for ages to get a lift back to the start. I gritted my teeth and decided to nut it out to the halfway point and then reevaluate.
The course was undulating road and I was feeling really in control as I was finally able to manage my leg pain and run in a style that didn't aggravate it so much - the voltaren was probably taking effect too...
Drink stations were about 5 km's apart and i relied solely on them for my nutritional requirements. Shortly after the 16km mark i began to get a little concerned that I hadn't seen any energy gels available - i was still feeling full of beans but felt like i should be taking in some calories soon to avoid bonking later. Fortunately at around the half way mark energy gels began to appear on every other drinks station.
I went through the 21.1km mark in 1.24.30 which was spot on. This can be a bit of a boost and by this stage I had no intention of pulling out. At the aid station I grabbed 3 gels and ate them in fairly quick succession. Fortunately I have a cast iron stomach and the gels weren't too much of an issue to get down. During the course of the second half I probably had about 8 gels in total. Overkill
A few runners were beginning to fade during this stage and i proceeded to pass about 3 or 4 people and I was lucky enough not to be passed by anyone (apart from negativesplit who tore it up for the win in the half marathon pairs - great running!)
The finish was inside the athletics stadium and I recorded my fastest km of the day 3.47 for the 42 second km.
I went through the finish with a time of 2.48.27 to negative split by around 30 seconds which was a nice way to end it. My goal for the day was 2.49 so i was happy to just sneak under. Elated to finish as it was a real internal struggle not to pull out in the first half. Really chuffed to finish up under 3hrs for my first roadie.
I somehow managed to snag 3rd place and $1000 prize money!! Insane! Feel a bit like a charlatan winning this swag as my time wouldnt have made the top 10 last year. But, you gotta be in it to win it!
My plan now is to retire and live off my winnings...
Not really, what im actually going to do is rest my leg, hit the gym and work on my strength and flexibility to get myself in serious nick for Great North Walk 100 miler.