‘Goldy Build’- Entry 2.
The 2019 Adelaide Marathon.
By Dane Verwey
Wow, what a weekend I just had! A win at the 41st 2019 Adelaide marathon!
4 months ago I planned to run Adelaide as a lead in to the Gold Coast marathon. The idea was to run the race at 90% effort, hopefully scrape under 2:30 and finish ‘in the money’ acknowledging that the recent Great Ocean Rd and upcoming Gold Coast marathons were likely to thin the field.
Some will say the decision is ‘unorthodox’ etc. I agree, it is but at the same time I’ve been inspired by the recent feats of Nick Earl, Dion Finocchiaro, Yuki Kauwauchi, Steph Bruce and Liam Adams. Or if you look back and see what Derek Clayton did; he ran a 2:18 marathon just 4 weeks before he ran his 2:08 WR! I think once you are a seasoned marathoner you become more robust and can start thinking a bit more aggressively like this. Obviousy, it is a fine line that you tread but is there really anything more specific than doing a marathon to get better at doing marathons?
I certainly couldn’t have trained this way 3 years ago it has definitely been a gradual progression. Some marathoners never train this way. I just know it excites me, it makes the sport more fun, I get confidence of it and I have run better as a result. It’s horses for courses I guess. I just have to continue to wear my physio hat to ensure I am recovering appropriately and modulating my loads.
Yes, I got white line fever and ran a little faster and harder than planned (rather than 90% effort it was closer to 95%) but I can confidently say that that was certainly the easiest 2:24 I have ever run. How I have pulled up over the last few days only further re-affirmed that, as I have never felt so capable, mobile and cripple’free day one, two and three after a mara, essentially DOMS’less!
Perhaps it was because it was my 9th career marathon? Or the fact that I have managed to string 6 consecutive marathon preps together now without a lengthy injury layoff? Or maybe it was the fact that this year I have focused more on marathon specific strength running sessions than ever before, as inevitably this is all my Achilles would initially allow me to do? Or maybe, just maybe I’ve got to have the confidence that potentially I’m reaching a new level in my marathoning, maybe I’ve just got to believe this?
I think time will tell how hard that effort was for me. As I’m sure so many of you will agree, some of our best runs are effortless. Maybe it was just one of those days and Adelaide just found me at my best. I must say the weather was certainly conducive to fast running, it was 14 degrees and perfect with minimal breeze.
While I was out there on Sunday, I regularly remembered a story Susan Michelson once told me about Magnus when he ran 2:14:00 at the Melbourne Marathon doing ‘the aeroplane’ celebration down the home straight. He literally decided the morning of the race to do it as a hit out for Fukuoka in 6 weeks time. Conditions were pristine and Mag was feeling unreal so he just kept rolling. I felt exactly like this. Haha I also was regularly modulating my enthusiasm with the retrospective thought that he did end up bombing at Fukuoka 6 weeks later.
I think a lot of us runners, are a lot like surfers hunting the ‘perfect wave’. Adelaide for for me was an awesome wave and it really does keep me hungry for more. The best thing about this sport is that with time, patience, persistence, hunger, passion and dedication you really can achieve things you once thought you weren’t capable of. A mediocre runner given time and the appropriate stressors/stimulus and training can turn themselves into a decent runner. It’s a rewarding sport if you stick it out!
Over the last year or two I have been combining a lot of my marathon workouts into races, it’s easier than doing them solo! I never would have run 2:24 at home on the trails of Devil Bend by myself. There is something special about a crowd, the adrenaline of a race and just putting a small bit of pressure and expectation on yourself.
So how has training been since I last reported in with blog one? Well, I did a good taper for Adelaide over the past 2 weeks; in which I really have just focused on speed work more. As I mentioned last blog, with my Achilles finally playing ball it has been time to get some much needed ‘zip’ back in the legs. The last 5 months has included an exhaustive back log of marathon specific work, I was uber confident the strength was there, the legs feel as strong as ‘tree trunks’ atm.
I feel my recent 6k Jells relays result really rattled me, I just had ‘one gear’. Fortunately I’ve found that after 3 weeks or so of more focused speed orientated sessions I feel I’m slowly reacquainting myself with those ‘gears’ again. I must say it has been fun trying to keep up with the squad of 10 young superstars I’ve started coaching down here on the Mornington Peninsula on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The last two weeks hasn’t completely been speed orientated however, as I was mindful Gold Coast is the ‘A race’, so I needed to play the long game. I had an over distance run in there 2 weeks out from Adelaide where I did a ‘time on the feet’ marathon around the gravel trails of Devil Bend just rolling in under 3hrs. I also did a 3 by 5km workout 8 days out with my mate Zacca; where I ran at marathon effort or just slightly under. This 5km workout felt ridiculously easy; I rolled 16:40/16:40/16:33 off 3.5 min jogs between. My head certainly needed this run after Jells relays to assure me my huge backlog of marathon training was there and a mediocre 6km xc wasn’t indicative of marathon shape.
Before I detail the race, I must also quickly thank Ming Jee Lee from AGT Marketing for hastily developing a sample new run culture design to trial for the Adelaide marathon. I haven’t chated to him yet but I hope to get this done in turquoise and white for Gold Coast and then get a bulk order, pretty sure it’s going to be a smash hit! Hoping it looks cool enough that most runners are proud to wear it. I created run culture in an attempt to give running more of an identity/team/hub/something to follow. It’s all about promoting running and showing people how good running is for out mental and physical soul. If you are a running fan, promote run culture and email me for a singlet at firstname.lastname@example.org (new stock will come in the next month or two).
So, how did the race actually unfold? As I said before, conditions were perfect (14 degrees and near on no wind) and the course was near on pancake flat. I didn’t recognize anyone on the start line, so I went out and followed a couple of eager runners who I found out after 1km were only trying to lead the marathon for 1km or so. Once they slowed I rolled through the first kilometre in 3:18 feeling comfortable. I looked around and no one was with me so I mentally geared up for a long solo run. I’d never done this before, every single other marathon I had done I had a group with me till half way. Most would know me as a ‘masterclass sit and kicker’ of the ‘Nic Earl’ kind of ilk.
I have done many training sessions solo over the past year as one of my good mates and training partner over the past 10 yrs; Matt Davy has been out injured for the best part of this time. The silver linning is I have certainly got better at running hard, ‘by myself’ for a long time, a key characteristic of a good marathoner.
So I went for it and actually found 3:24 pace incredibly comfortable, so I just stayed there. I rolled 16:55 for 5kms and just locked into that groove.
I was so so lucky to have my parents and Jess my wife out on the course cheering me on.
I was also lucky to have Ted the lead bike 50 meters in front showing me the way- I have never run on such a confusing marathon course before! So many turns and switch backs! He also helped clear the path for me on the second lap; ‘yelling keep left, lead runner coming through!’ as we continued to dodge nearly the entire half marathon field!
At about 15kms there were a few switch back and turns where I was able to see where I was coming in relation to the rest of the field. I’d build up a decent 1 minute buffer but I was a little surprised it wasn’t more given I knew the race was won in 2:30 last year and I was sitting on 2:24 pace.
I was later to find out Dean Menzies a 67 minute half guy in his debut mara from Raf Baugh’s front runners group in Perth (who was running with his training mate; for the entire first half) had lost some time going the wrong way at a bridge at the 5km mark. This explained why I wasn’t getting away too much as I had a very good runner hunting me down!
I found drinks hard to get, as everyone’s drinks were lumped together on the tables in no particular order and my pop tops hardly stood out. So, I did the race without drinks and managed very well. I have been doing long runs without gels or drinks all year, so I drew confidence from this that I’d be ok.
My last 4 marathons I have spewed immediately after finishing. For this reason I did a ‘1 day carbo load’, rather than my usual ‘2 day routine’, as I wanted to trial this. Funnily enough my other marathon win at Hobart last year, I also did a far more tame carbo load. I mean a subtle change is all the body needs and I ‘m sure there is only so much the gut can absorb. I suppose I just stopped thinking ‘more is better’ and used a more common sense approach.
I rolled through half way in 71:43, in fact it wasn’t until then that it really dawned on me how fast I was rolling along! I was just clicking off ks and very much ‘in the zone’ almost a trance like state. Infact I’ve always been pretty good at concentrating for epically long periods without getting bored; be it school homework, mammoth lego sessions as a kid etc. I think in part it’s why I’m good at the marathon compared to shorter events. I got to 30km in 1:42 low and did the mental maths, If I ran a 40 minute last 12k I’d run a PB!
I suppose, if I was feeling so good, why didn’t I just drop the hammer and finish in 3:20s/k for the last 12kms? I guess that’s why I feel my effort was harder than 90% effort. I have to be honest from 35-40 things got harder but I feel this is just the nature of running for that length of time. I got through this rough patch and was able to finish the last 3kms full of running.
And wasn’t it brilliant crossing the line first in 2:24:25 on the halo’d turf of Adelaide Oval with one of Australia’s greatest marathoners of all time; Pat Carroll, calling your finish.
Dean Menzies finished 2nd in his debut in 2:26:11. He was full of running and certainly made up some time over the last 7kms. It was a very impressive debut and I certainly think he can go a lot faster in the future!
Jess and I, both cripples (Jess rolled her ankle the week before in soccer) spent the rest of Sunday arvo exploring Adelaide zooming around Rundle mall, the Botanical gardens, the Torrens river and the rest of Adelaide on electric scooters. I also had (amongst a insurmountable host of other edible delicacies) one of the best tasting savory crepes I’ve ever had! Still daydreaming about it!
Ok so what now? Well I have an easy 7-10 days ahead. I’ll jog till Saturday, where I’ll roll my legs over for a ‘half- mona’ fartlek. With this I don’t worry about time, I just get my legs ticking over a little again, which seems to help them recover and remind them that this is what pace I want to get them back to. I’ll do a couple of easier/shorter sessions next week with the same idea and then by approximately 14 days I should be back into 3 more weeks of mara strength work where I will just put the finishing touches on my prep.
Alright guys, that’s enough from me, later this week I’ve got an interview with the 2019 NZ 10,000m champion Caden Shields as he too gears up for his much anticipated debut marathon at Gold Coast. I ask him all about his prep. Enjoy! It’s a fizzer, as he would say. Not just a great runner and physio but a ripper of a bloke!
Chat next week!
Let’s all continue to Run.Live.Grow!